Emmerdale character Holly Barton killed off in drugs overdose

Emmerdale has aired Sophie Powles’ final scenes as Holly Barton which saw the character killed off from a drugs overdose.

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Tonight’s (29 September) powerful double bill of the rural saga saw Moira (Natalie J. Robb) plunged into a nightmare as she tried to rouse her daughter from her sleep. Moira’s worst fears were confirmed as she touched Holly’s lifeless hand and saw evidence of heroin use in her bedroom.

Although a second departure from the ITV soap for Powles was known to be on the cards, Holly’s drug-related demise in these episodes was not publicised before transmission and came out of the blue for fans.

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Diane (Elizabeth Estensen) and Chas (Lucy Pargeter) were on hand to comfort Moira after arriving to see her about Cain (Jeff Hordley) shortly following her discovery. Later, Adam (Adam Thomas) blurted the news out to Cain in the Woolpack and lashed out at him in front of stunned villagers.

Jai (Chris Bisson) was left shaken when news of Holly’s tragic death reached the factory as the pair had recently been enjoying a secret romance. He confided in a surprised Priya (Fiona Wade) about the relationship.

Cain came through for a distraught Moira in the end comforting her as Holly’s body was taken away by the undertakers.  

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Speaking about her character’s emotive ending Powles, who originally played the role of Holly between 2009-2012, said:

“I always knew I was only coming back for a six-month storyline and I knew it was going to be drug-related and heartbreaking.  It’s been challenging to highlight drug addiction and it’s a very serious and stark warning to show the devastating effects it can have on people. Holly was a normal girl from a normal family, who went down the road of drug taking and drug abuse. She has an addictive personality and it spiralled out of control.  I hope it raises awareness and hopefully it gets more help for people who are struggling with addiction. In fact, not just drug addiction but all types of addiction.”

The soap first explored the issue of drug addiction with the character of Holly in 2010. Powles returned to Emmerdale earlier this year in what was later confirmed as not a permanent comeback for the actress.

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Emmerdale airs weekdays at 7pm on ITV, UTV and STV with an additional outing at 8pm on Thursdays