Updated 29th September 2003

Dolly Skilbeck (ne Acaster)

Jean Rogers

Jean Rogers
Born: 2nd February 1942

IMDB entry: Jean Rogers who played Dolly from (1980-1991)

IMDB entry: Katharine Baker who played Dolly from (1976, 1977-1979)

Please also visit Will's site Emmerdale Cast Interviews Homepage fro a recent interview with Jean Rogers.

Dolly was the 2nd wife of Matt Skilbeck (widower of Peggy Sugden).

Dolly & Matt were married 29 Jun 1978 & separated 1989
They tried several times to have children. The marriage produced only one successful pregnancy and reslulted in a son, Samuel David Skilbeck Born: 23 December 1982

Dolly had ad an affair in the 1960s with Richard Roper with whom she had a son that was given up for adoption (Graham Lodsworth born circa 1966). He came looking for Dolly 1986-1987.

Emmerdale Farm fan card signed by Jean RogersEarly Emmerdale fan card signed by Jean Rogers

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 is one of those profiles - although this coloured box has been added.


Ross Kemp Played Dolly Skillbeck's illegitimate son, Graham Lodsworth before finding fame as Eastenders hard man Grant Mitchell.
When Dolly Acaster married Matt Skilbeck on the 29th of June 1978, she was kissed by the local sweep for luck.


For 14 years, Dolly Skilbeck was one of Emmerdale's most tragic figures. She arrived from Darlington as Dolly Acaster to work at The Woolpack and fell for widower Matt Skilbeck. Her past came back to haunt her, however, when former lover Richard Roper arrived and her dark secret - a baby born illegitimately and given away for adoption - was revealed.
Dolly married Matt and gave birth to son Sam, but she also suffered the ordeal of several miscarriages. Dolly and Matt started to drift apart and she had an affair with timber consultant Stephen Fuller, who tragically died after they split up. Matt eventually left and the marriage was over. More heartache came when Dolly had an affair with crooked councillor Charlie Aindow, became pregnant and decided to have an abortion.
Although Katharine Barker took the role of Dolly when the character was introduced in 1977, she left the programme two years later and Jean Rogers took over the part in 1980. 'It was a challenge - that was the only way to look at it,' says Jean, who was previously known on television as Nurse Rogers in Emergency - Ward 10 and Julie Shepherd, Meg Richardson's personal secretary, in Crossroads. 'The producer and others were hoping I would almost sneak in and it would not be noticed, but people who watched regularly did notice.

Katharine Barker

'It was a dilemma because I was shown videos of Katharine and given the wardrobe and told I could have new clothes. Her measurements weren't the same as mine - she was a little bit shorter. But I thought it would be silly for a character to come back without wearing some of the clothes she had been seen in before. However, having been offered the new wardrobe, I had to fight for it - it was all to do with budgeting.'
One of Jean's favourite storylines as Dolly was her affair with Stephen Fuller - 'the tree-feller fella,' as she recalls him. 'Matt had inherited Crossgill but made it clear that he didn't want to move out of Emmerdale Farm,' says jean. 'Dolly had seen this as her chance to set up her own home, no longer sharing a kitchen with Annie Sugden, who was a strong character. The marriage could have been a really good, strong one. Dolly needed the dependability that Matt gave her, but he didn't understand that a woman needs her own space. Crossgill represented independence for her, but it was burned down and the relationship gradually fell apart. Stephen Fuller came along and gave Dolly the attention she wasn't getting.'
In 1991, Jean was shocked to hear that she was being written out of Emmerdale and was critical of the storyline that resulted in Dolly's departure terminating her pregnancy after an affair with Charlie Aindow. 'I was playing a woman who had experienced three miscarriages and run the local playgroup,' says Jean. 'She was very into children. She could even have died when she gave birth to Sam. A woman who has gone through all that isn't likely to get rid of a baby. I did play it as a tremendous dilemma, but I felt that if they were determined to have an abortion in the programme they could have diagnosed Down's syndrome or something that would present Dolly with the dilemma of whether to have the baby.'
Since leaving, Jean has appeared on television in Law and Disorder and made many stage appearances. She surprised Emmerdale fans by playing a news reporter in war-torn Yugoslavia in the film The Peacemaker, which was filmed in the former Czechoslovakia in 1997.
It was while working on Emmerdale that Jean met her second husband, TV assistant director Philip Hartley, then a floor manager. She has two children, Jeremy and Justine, from her first marriage and four stepchildren with Philip - Pam, Zo, Lucy and Jody.

Taken from the emmerdale companion by Anthony Hayward

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