Frank Tate

Norman Bowler
Born: 1st August 1932

She Wolf's Profile as seen at
Frank moved to Emmerdale in 1989, buying Homefarm to retire to with his second wife Kim. He left the reins of his company a in his son Chris's hands. Frank, hoped to live the life of a country squire while his young wife bred horses.

Unfortunately life isn't always what was planned. Chris had to be bailed out so many times by his father, he may as well have not handed things over. . Frank became a hero after the 1993 plane crash. In 1994 Frank and Kim remarried, after Frank recovered from a heart attack. He and Kim had a son James on the 24th September 1996. Although for a while there was doubt if Frank was the father, as Kim was having an affair with Dave Glover.
Frank suffered a fatal heart attack on 22nd May 1997. Kim watched him die.

Frank Tate fan card as issued by Yorkshire TV signed by Normnl Bowler

Character   Played By Apeared
Francis ("Frank") Ronald Tate

Born: 1 October 1937

Married 1st: Jean widowed 1984

Married 2nd 1986 Kim Barker
divorced 1993/94, re-married: 22 Dec 1994

Died: 27 May 1997

Children, Chris & Zoe (from 1st marriage) and James (from 2nd marriage)

IMDB entry Norman Bowler (November 1989-27 May 1997)

Normn Bowler fan card from Central television - 1980s

Thank You to Paul Berridge for help with this.

The arrival of Frank and Kim Tate in November 1989 signalled a new direction for Emmerdale Farm. The programme shortened its title to Emmerdale and the emphasis shifted from the Sugdens and their farm to self-made millionaire Frank and his second wife and former secretary Kim. Norman Bowler, as Frank, was at the centre of some of the serial's biggest dramas as Kim cheated on him twice and dramatically reappeared after her supposed death, leaving him to die as he suffered a heart attack.
'They very quickly made the Tates the centre of the action,' says Norman. 'They wanted to get away from the sleepy reputation the programme had. Every soap has its own feel. EastEnders, for example, is not the same as Coronation Street. There are some very good performances in soaps - there's nothing wrong in doing them. But there is a snobbish element from people who know nothing about it and make stupid statements about soaps.'
Norman played Frank for more than seven years, during which Emmerdale soared to new heights of popularity. 'Frank had so many dramas in Emmerdale,' says the actor. 'He was an alcoholic, was involved in the rescue after the plane crash and was accused of killing his wife. Every week, something happened to Frank. One scene I particularly liked playing was when his daughter, ZoŽ, told him she was a lesbian. Frank found it very difficult to handle, but then he came round. I also enjoyed playing the alcoholic scenes. I was brought up with a lot of drunken friends, like the journalist Jeffrey Bernard, who was a drinking mate.'
Norman, born in London, had become part of the Soho set of writers, artists, photographers and actors during the fifties after working briefly in his father's watchmaking business and running off to sea at the age of 15 and sailing the world as a deckboy in the Merchant Navy. 'I had always been interested in the theatre and adored opera,' he recalls. 'I used to go to Covent Garden twice a week. I had also been to see variety shows at Golders Green Hippodrome, with stars such as Max Miller. I met a lot of actors and writers around Soho and decided I would like to become an actor, so I did a part-time course at the City Literary Institute while earning money by washing up and doing other odd-jobs.'
Soon after making his stage debut, Norman was given a seven-year film contract by MGM, making his screen debut as a soldier in Tom Thumb. While living in America for three years, he performed in The Caretaker on the Broadway stage. Returning to Britain, he landed the role of Det. Insp. Harry Hawkins in Softly Softly in 1966. He stayed in the programme for its entire 11 -year run, latterly as Softly Softly: Task Force, and became quite a heart~ throb.
The actor subsequently starred on television as David Martin in Park Ranger and he has also appeared in Jesus of Nazareth, The Winds of War, Jamaica Inn, Robin of Sherwood, Casualty and The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes.A few years before joining Emmerdale, Norman gained soap experience in Crossroads as newspaper editor Sam Benson, who had a fling with motel owner Nicola Freeman, played by the actress Cabrielle Drake. 'To get paid for that was a great pleasure!' he says. He stayed in the role for only nine months, leaving after Gabrielle's decision to quit, but his role in Emmerdale was more long-lasting.
Then, in late 1996, Norman told Yorkshire Television that he wished to go. He did agree to stay until his character was killed off, in May the following year, a few months before his 65th birthday. He went straight into a stage play in Bristol, where he lives. At an age when some people would be thinking of retiring, Norman also had plans to start a degree at Bristol University - a foundation course in art - take a summer holiday in Tibet and make a documentary with his own production company, Gong Films. This was to be about the two children he and his third wife, Diane, have sponsored in Nepal since being touched by news of famine in India in the mid-eighties. He also harbours an ambition to sail across the Atlantic, even though he has never sailed before.
'I never thought I had a job for life in Emmerdale" he says. 'I came for one year and stayed seven and a half I hope I've given some pleasure to viewers, but I'm of an age when I need to move on. I need my own space. When you're in a long-running programme, you don't have time to do anything. This is just the beginning.'

Taken from the emmerdale companion by Anthony Haywar


Brave Norman Bowler (Frank Tate) went on a 100 mile trip up the Himalayas in February 2000 -still in pain after a hip replacement. 68 year old Norman climbed for orphan charities. He said "I'm in terrible pain, my back hurts a lot, but I'm not a wimp and I went ahead with it."

News Articles

I'm ready for Dingle-dong over Tina; INTERVIEW: Norman Bowler.(Features)

The Mirror (London, England); 11/19/1996; Hughes, Chris

He may be old enough to be her grandad but that doesn't stop Emmerdale smoothie Frank Tate setting out to woo personal assistant Tina Dingle.

Viewers have seen millionaire Tate (Norman Bowler) seething with jealousy over Tina's relationship with trendy young businessman Steve.

Now his determination to win over his aide - played by Jacqueline Pirie - promises to get the gossips going again in Beckindale.

Norman says: "So far Tina has managed to keep Frank at arm's length but this week he is honest with her about his feelings

"When he found out about her and Steve, he was so jealous. Seeing her with another man really got to him.

"Now he hopes to bring them both closer together." Norman, 64, could never share Frank's mean streak. Last year he was moved to tears when he met a Tibetan orphan whose life he had saved with regular donations to an aid charity.

He and his wife Diane made the 5,000-mile journey to Tibet to meet nine year-old Lhamo Dolma.

"It was the most moving experience of my life," he says. Married three times and a father-of-four, the star has appeared in a string of hit TV series, including Softly Softly and Crossroads.

But Emmerdale has been his longest-serving show - and Frank his most manipulative character. He says: "The trouble is Frank refuses to be put off. He feels Steve is not worthy of Tina.

"He thinks he could offer her so much more and that while he might not be as young as Steve, he's a lot richer."

But Frank has got a real battle on his hands as Tina gets more deeply involved with Steve (Paul Opacic).

His love rival has already proved himself as a shrewd farming businessman. Privately Frank is impressed with him. But he still mocks Steve and makes snide comments about Tina's personal life when he speaks to her.

"Frank is used to getting his own way and he will always try to win someone over either with money or through manipulation," says Norman.

"He refuses to back down - because he is sure Tina will give in to him in the end."



Profile Index

Full Cast & Characters Index

Emmerdale Home Page