Created 3rd April 2004

All About Jeff Hordley who plays Emmerdale's
Cain Dingle

Jeff Hordley


A Huge Big Thank you to Paul Berridge who has made various profiles and photos availabe to me. They were previously on his Beckindale site (that is no more). This page is based on some of his original material. I have inserted the green box.

See also IMDB entry for Jeff Hordley

The Star - Cain We Get Married?

Hunky Emmerdale actor Jeff Hordley is set to break the hearts of female soap fans by marrying his college sweetheart.

Jeff, who plays bad boy Cain Dingle in the sex-and-sheep soap, plucked up the courage to pop the question after his long-term love and former co-star Zoe Henry, 29, won a prestigious drama award.

The couple met eight years ago as students at Manchester Metropolitan University - and smitten Jeff, 31, reveals: "It was there that I saw her and realised she was the girl for me. She was the only girl in the college that I wanted to be with."

Zoe, who played country vet Rhona in the Yorkshire soap, beat off Amanda Donohoe to win a best actress award in Manchester for her role in the play Pygmalion - and loved-up Jeff promised himself he would propose if she bagged the gong.

Jeff revealed that he was nervous, but added: "Fortunately for me, she said yes."

The inseparable pair - who share homes in Saffron Waldon, Essex and a flat in Leeds - also act together in the Home Grown Theatre Group, which will stage a new production at the Library Theatre, Manchester, in April.


Dingle's wedding bells

Wednesday | 06.08.03

Jeff who as Cain Dingle

Jeff Hordley has wed his long term love Zoe Henry.
The Emmerdale star – who plays roguish Cain Dingle – married Zoe in a romantic ceremony in Essex surrounded by family and close friends.

Among the revellers at the bash were Jeff's co-stars James Hooten (Sam Dingle), Karl Davis (Robert Sugden) and Kelvin Fletcher (Andy Sugden).

Jeff, 32, and Zoe, 29 – who enjoyed a brief spell in Emmerdale as vet Rhona Goskirk – met at drama school eight years ago and have been dating ever since.

The love struck heart-throb gushes, "I was in the year above when I met Zoe. Me and about five other lads in my class were interested and I was the lucky guy.

"It was then I realised she was the girl for me. She was the only girl in college I wanted to be with."

The happy couple became engaged earlier this year when talented Zoe beat acclaimed actress Amanda Donohoe to a Best Actress award for her work in stage play Pygmalion.

About the Actor and the Character (put together by Paul Berridge (2001)

"Cain is the sort of person who doesn't need a green light, he just needs it to be changing to amber." Laughs Jeff Hordley about his affair with Angie.


Cain is very able... with his fists. Cain continues the time honoured Dingle tradition of swinging a fist first and asking questions later.
Cain is played by Jeff Hordley, whose television credits also include hospital drama Always and Everyone, as well as Heartbeat. He has also appeared in Coronation Street, twice. He first appeared as a night club manager in 1997 and then as Wayne, Musical Director of the Weatherfield Operatic Society in 1998, when Hayley and Roy auditioned.
DJ'ing and Music are Jeffs passion in life. He says he would like to live in a place like Emmerdale in real life and has dreams of living in the country one day

The six foot actor lists armed and unarmed combat among his skills, but he says that he is shy, sensitive, and not very hard." I'd like to see Cain's weak spot" he says, "I'd like to find his softer side, and to find out why he is so angry, there are always opposite sides to personalities, and Angie is bringing out Cains.", But he says "Playing Cain, is at times quite therapeutic because there are situations in life where we never speak our minds, and Cain does this all the time."

I'm loving playing Cain at the moment." says Jeff, "When I first joined Emmerdale Cain was Just there in the background, and then all of a sudden he's in the thick of things. He has got his fingers in plenty of different pies around the village now - one minute he is with Zak, the next he's with Angie and then he's with Andy"
And Jeff has even listed stuntman to his list of Emmerdale achievements.
"For the scenes where Cain was fooling around on a bike to impress Angie, the directors wanted to get a stunt double to do it," he explains. "But I insisted I do it" I did all the falling myself and luckily there were no bruises at the end of the day!".

Jeff lists Badly Drawn Boy, Sly and the Family Stone, Neil Young, and Stevie Wonder among his favourite pop acts, and The Royle Family as his favourite TV show.

Jeff says Steve Halliwell is his favourite cast member because he took him under his wing when he first started and he wishes he could be his own uncle because he is that nice!

City fan Jeff is "100% Manchester, red rose - Sorted, top, nice one."


Emmerdale star Jeff Hordley on how he survived the life-threatening disease that killed his mother.

As mean, moody and menacing Cain Dingle he has struck fear into the hearts of the villagers in Emmerdale, and Jeff Hordley, who plays soap's newest baddie, knows exactly how it feels to be terrified. He has survived a chronic illness that years earlier claimed the life of his mum.

In July 2001 fans of the show will saw Cain caught up in a controversial storyline in which he has sex with schoolgirl Ollie as part of his revenge on her mum Angie for ending their affair. Yet it is a miracle that Jeff is still here to film those scenes. Only a few years ago he was so ill he feared he was going to die.

In February 1996, one month before his 26th birthday, Jeff was diagnosed with Crohn's disease. It's a potentially fatal condition where the intestine gets inflamed and can't absorb food, causing pain, fever and rapid weight loss. Complications include stomach abscesses and arthritis. Tragically, Jeff's mother Linda, a nurse, died of Crohn's when she was just 29.

Talking for the first time of the illness that has haunted his life, Jeff recalls how he was diagnosed. "The consultant put his hand on my shoulder and I knew immediately it was dreadful news," he says with a shudder. "When he mentioned the words Crohn's disease I went into shock.

"It was the most frightening moment. I was convinced history was going to repeat itself. I just thought, `Oh, my God, that's what my mum had. I'm going to die too'. I was shaking and very frightened, but the consultant was brilliant. He said they had caught the disease at an early stage and he was confident that he could help me. That really allayed my fears. It's an unpleasant disease, as any sufferer will tell you. It's like colitis - you're in pain and suffer tremendous sickness and diarrhoea."

Oldham-born Jeff's health problems started in his early twenties. For years his sickness was misdiagnosed as Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Then, in his last year of studying drama at Manchester Metropolitan College, Jeff became so sick that his doctor referred him to a consultant at the city's Royal Infirmary.

"I was terribly ill and looked awful because I was barely able to eat or drink anything without being sick," he says. "I'm 6ft tall and normally I weigh 12 and a half stone, but I'd dropped to less than nine stone. Once I'd got over the shock of being told I had Crohn's disease, it was a relief to know that there was a cure. Having seen my mother die, I imagined the same thing would happen to me."

Surgeons operated on Jeff to remove part of his stomach. "It was a terribly tense time," he says. "My dad, stepmum, sister and girlfriend were all waiting for me to come out of theatre. And the hours dragged by. Apparently the procedure was so complicated it took three hours longer than expected. My family were on tenterhooks."

After 12 days Jeff was discharged with staples in his stomach and still weighing barely nine stone. He now has a fine scar running from his tummy button, which he whips up his shirt to reveal.

"I got out just in time to do the end of term showcase at drama college, when all the agents and talent scouts come to see what the latest actors can do," he says. "It wasn't surprising that, looking the way I did, no agent would take me on.

"Now I lead a perfectly normal life and can eat and drink whatever I like," he adds, grabbing a handful of spicy Tortilla chips as if to prove the point. "The doctors can't rule out a return, but so far so good."

Sadly, his mother was less fortunate. Jeff was nine when she died but he recalls that awful time vividly.

"Mum got sicker and sicker and the doctors were unable to save her," he says. "My dad tried to prepare me. Before she died, I was told that it was going to happen. So it wasn't a dreadful shock, but even so it was difficult. I was very much a mummy's boy and I missed her desperately. As a little kid I didn't really understand why she died and, even now, I don't know whether the sort of operation I had could have saved her life, or even if it was available back then. But I don't want to hark on about what happened to me. After all, many people lose their parents through death or divorce. Then they say they've got all this baggage and that's why they behave the way they do. I just got on with it."

Even so, Jeff, 31, wears his mum's engagement ring on the middle finger of his left hand. "I wear it all the time," he says, twisting it around his finger. "It's extremely precious to me."

Two years after his mum's death, his dad, also called Jeff, got married again. His new wife Veronica raised Jeff and his elder sister, Lisa, who's now 32, as her own.

"I was 11 when dad remarried and it was great," he says. "We're so close, I don't even refer to her as my stepmum. She's just mum. She came in, took on two children and did a fantastic job. She brought us up brilliantly and always supported us.

"There was a time after drama school when I wasn't getting work and thought of giving it all up. She kept telling me, `No, you're good. You've got to stick with it and take the rough with the smooth'. I owe her a huge amount."

Thanks to Veronica's encouragement, Jeff is now a household name in the teatime soap. Ironically, he was playing a posh twit in a play staged by his own company, Home Grown Theatre, when he was talent-spotted by Emmerdale's casting director for the part of bad boy Cain. Although he'd had small TV roles, including two appearances in Coronation Street, this was his big break.

Surprisingly, Jeff has a lot of sympathy for his hardman onscreen alter ego. Cain has terrorised policewoman Angie Reynolds (Freya Copeland) and has now turned his attentions to seducing her underage daughter Ollie.

"He's misunderstood," insists Jeff. "He had a weird background. He never had a mother and the man he believed was his father was a drunk. Then in comes this copper and, before he knows it, he is head over heels in love with her. He lays all his trust in Angie for the first time since his mum - and she dumps him. I'm totally different from Cain, but if you've been open to more sensitive issues, then you have a better sense of things. I understand how Cain feels and what makes him tick."

But that's where any similarity ends. There are no such complications in Jeff's love life - he lives with his girlfriend, actress Zoe Henry, 27, in a modest two-bedroom Victorian terraced house in Manchester. And whereas Cain's idea of showing a girl a good time involves a night in a B&B and a bag of chips, Jeff is a far more sensitive soul.

"I'm a Pisces - my birthday is March 7 - so I'm supposed to be romantic," he says. "But I'm not into fluffy toys or roses. I like finding time to be together and doing things we enjoy. We've just come back from a two- week holiday in Malaysia. It was brilliant.

"We're really happy. We met at drama school seven years ago and have lived together for the past six, so marriage is definitely on the cards although not right away. The main thing is we know we want to be together for the rest of our lives."

How does Zoe feel about having TV's latest sex symbol for a boyfriend?

"She thinks it's hilarious," he admits. "I look in the mirror, break wind and burp. I certainly don't see a sex symbol looking back. And neither does she."

Modesty aside, there's no denying that onscreen he's devastatingly sexy. With his brooding brown eyes and jet black hair, he oozes animal magnetism. For all his faults, Cain is the sort of dangerous type that women want to tame, and men go out of their way to avoid. "It's weird," says Jeff. "I walk down the street and people shout, `Dingle', and are always pleased to see me. I don't often go to the sort of places where fights break out, so I don't know whether blokes would try and take me on. But so far everyone's been great. And women like the fact that he's a rough and ready type who'll treat them mean. I've got women friends who've been dumped several times by the same bloke. I say, `Why are you going back?' And they say, `He'll be different this time'.

"It happened to me once. This woman treated me really badly and I just wanted to go back for more. It went on for two months and she kept dumping me. By the third time, I found the strength in myself to say I'd had enough."

Nevertheless, viewers' affection for Cain is about to be sorely tested when he seduces innocent Ollie (Vicky Binns), then fights with her grandad Len - something that has disastrous consequences for the old man. Even Jeff admits that Cain is way out of order here and says filming the bedroom scenes was one of the hardest things he has ever done.

"Inside I was cringing at the thought of this 26-year-old man playing mind games with a 15-year-old," he says. "Ollie is losing her virginity to him and I thought it was horrible. All Cain was thinking was, `Whoaah, I've got one up on Angie'. Vicky was very mature about it, but when we filmed the bedroom scene I kept thinking, `This just isn't right'."I don't know how the viewers are going to react. I do worry that I might get the odd handbag in the face."

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