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Karl Davies

Karl Davies
Born (1982-08-06) 6 August 1982
Stockport, Greater Manchester, England
Occupation Actor
Years active 2000–present

Karl Davies (born 6 August 1982)[1] is an English actor, who portrayed Lyle Anderson in the TV series Kingdom. Previously he had portrayed Robert Sugden in the ITV soap opera Emmerdale.


  • Career 1
  • Personal life 2
  • Selected filmography 3
    • Film 3.1
    • Television 3.2
  • References 4
  • External links 5


In 2001, Davies took over the role of Robert Sugden, a longstanding character first introduced in 1986. The role had initially been played by Richard Smith (1986–89) before being taken by Christopher Smith, who held the position from 1989–2001. The change was made by series producers to allow them to engage Robert in a number of more mature story lines.

His first episode was broadcast in August 2001. The change in actor allowed the character to be developed and he soon became involved in a number of controversial storylines, most involving a long running feud with his adoptive brother Andy Sugden. He also became known for a number of romantic storylines, with Robert having an increasing number of sexual partners including Donna Windsor,[2] Andy's wife Katie Sugden[3] and 15-year-old Debbie Dingle, the mother of Andy's daughter.[4]

As one of the young male characters in the show he was invited to take part in a soap calendar for Now Magazine in 2004 alongside fellow actors Ben Freeman and Kelvin Fletcher.[5]

The character's final romantic storyline involved an affair with the married Sadie King, played by Patsy Kensit. This storyline received media attention when Kensit reportedly objected to a relationship with a younger actor believing her character should be portrayed as a "more sophisticated man-eater".[6] Kensit however clarified the reasons for this in an interview with Leeds Today News stating "When I first heard about the storyline, I said 'but he looks like one of James's friends, so boyish and young'. But Karl is so adorable and we had a lot of fun filming those scenes".[7]

The brotherly feud which dominated much of Davies' time on the show was used by producers as the vehicle for a high profile attempt to compete with rival soap EastEnders in the television ratings war and to secure Emmerdale's place as the second most popular soap opera in the UK. The chosen storyline involved Andy's attempts to kill Robert which led to his father, Jack Sugden being shot. The story was to prove a success securing viewing figures of 7.6 million compared with 6.4 million for EastEnders. This was the first time Emmerdale has secured such a ratings victory.[8]

For his final and highly publicised storyline it was made clear to the media weeks in advance that either Robert, Andy or local vet Max King would be killed in an explosive road accident.[9]

Along with the production of Dolphins, Davies also spent 2006 filming an ITV television series, Kingdom, opposite Stephen Fry, Celia Imrie, Hermione Norris and Tony Slattery. It followed the story of a solicitor (Fry) living in a quiet seaside village in Norfolk. Davies played a trainee solicitor Lyle Anderson, who dreams of escaping Market Shipborough, where the show is set, to work in the city.[10] The first series aired in 2007 and the second began in January 2008.

In 2010, Davies played multiple characters on stage in the Tricycle Theatre's The Great Game: Afghanistan. The play consisted of 12 separate one-act plays (each by a different author) about Afghanistan. The production's tour includes stops in California, Minnesota, New York, and Washington, D.C. Davies appears in four segments, frequently as a soldier.[11]

Personal life

Prior to becoming a professional actor Davies enjoyed extreme sports and competed in climbing competitions at the age of 14, 15 and 16 but never pursued this further than local competitions at a junior level. He has expressed a love of extreme sports such as snowboarding and skiing. However, during his time on Emmerdale he has publicly stated that he was prevented from participating in these activities by the producers. His only real exception to this was as part of the annual charity fund-raising event in Inverurie where he was allowed to go wing walking on a biplane, an experience he greatly enjoyed.[12]

Davies has revealed that his role in Emmerdale has led to much greater public recognition and that the reaction from fans of the show has been mixed. He has been insulted and slapped in the street by strangers who have been unable to tell him from the character he plays.[13] However, he has also developed a following amongst gay viewers and received a lot of fan mail from male viewers.[14]

Selected filmography


Year Title Role Notes
2006 Me and Her Damien Short film
2007 Dolphins Brent Black
2009 Spunkbubble Tech Officer Harris Short film
2014 Black Sea Liam
2014 The Quiet Hour Jude
2014 Home for Christmas Matt Jones
2015 Modern Hero Daniel Greed Short film
2015 Virtuoso Sigmund Television film
2016 Fractured Michael
2016 The Dark Channel Adam


Year Title Role Notes
2000 Fat Friends Rick Ashburn Episode: "Fat Chance"
2000–2001 Peak Practice Nick Pullen Series 9–11
2001 The Bill Danny Lloyd Episode: "Crush"
2001–2009 Emmerdale Robert Sugden 167 episodes
2002 The Hidden City Clive 21 episodes
2007 Dead Clever Nathan
2007 A Very British Sex Scandal Johnny Reynolds
2007–2009 Kingdom Lyle Anderson
2008 The Unsinkable Titanic John G. "Jack" Phillips
2010 Midsomer Murders Luke Woodley Episode: "The Made for Measure Murder"
2011 The Case Dan Stanley 5 episodes
2012 Game of Thrones Alton Lannister 3 episodes
2013 The Syndicate Luke Summers Series 2
2014 Castles in the Sky Skip Wilkins
2014–2016 Happy Valley Daniel Cawood 3 episodes
2014 The Crimson Field Lawrence Prentiss 2 episodes
2015 My Mad Fat Diary Rob 3 episodes


  1. ^ "FACT FILE.(News)". Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England) (Trinity Mirror plc). 1 October 2005. Retrieved 22 February 2007. 
  2. ^ Tim Oglethorpe (26 July 2003). "All aboard Karl's passion wagon; After a liaison in the back of a Vauxhall Astra, Karl Davies finds his love life in a whirl this week in Emmerdale". Daily Record. Retrieved 3 March 2007. 
  3. ^ "Television: Groom Andy turns shotgun on cheating wife and brother". Sunday Mail (Glasgow, Scotland). 2 May 2004. Retrieved 3 March 2007. 
  4. ^ "Robert does a runner". Daily Star. 13 September 2005. Retrieved 3 March 2007. 
  5. ^ "The Razz: SOAP HUNKS IN A LATHER". Daily Record. 15 September 2004. Retrieved 3 March 2007. 
  6. ^ "THE INSIDER; Toy boy no joy". The Daily Mail. 11 September 2004. Retrieved 3 March 2007. 
  7. ^ "Patsy's Yorkshire love affair". Leeds Today News. 26 November 2004. Retrieved 3 March 2007. 
  8. ^ "Emmerdale overtakes EastEnders in ratings". South Wales Echo. 20 May 2004. Retrieved 3 March 2007. 
  9. ^ "KILLER CRASH". The Daily Star. 21 September 2005. Retrieved 3 March 2007. 
  10. ^ "Welcome to make-believe world of television". Kings Lynn Today (Lynn News). 23 July 2006. Retrieved 3 March 2007. 
  11. ^ "The Great Game: Afghanistan, USA Tour". Tricycle. Retrieved 12 April 2012. 
  12. ^ "About Karl Davies who plays Robert Sugden in Emmerdale". 
  13. ^ "I've been slapped, called a pig... by viewers". Sunday Mail. 20 May 2004. Retrieved 3 March 2007. 
  14. ^ Emmerdale: The Sugden Family Album

External links

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