Dales stars returning for Hornby tribute

Sheila Mercier and Karl Davies are returning to Emmerdale for a special episode which will pay tribute to late actor Clive Hornby.

Hornby, best remembered for playing Jack Sugden for 28 years on the ITV1 soap, passed away in July following a period of ill health.

Show producers are now planning a special edition of the programme which will see the village bidding farewell to Jack at his funeral.

Mercia, who played Jack's mother Annie from 1972 until 1994, explained: "It will be a pleasure to return for this special tribute episode to Clive. I'm sure it will be a fitting way to celebrate the life and memory of one of Emmerdale's dearest characters."

Davies, best known for his role as Jack's son Robert, added: "I was lucky enough to work with Clive over a number of years and he was the kindest, funniest man you could've wished to meet. I'm sure the show he loved will pay a fitting tribute to a genuinely wonderful person. I'm glad to be a part of it. He will be missed."

The episode will air in February 2009 to coincide with the first anniversary of Hornby's final appearance on screen.

Series producer Anita Turner said: "It was hugely important to everyone at Emmerdale that we waited until an appropriate time to pay tribute to Clive on screen. We have been in discussion with Clive's son throughout this process and hope this episode will honour the memories that viewers, friends and colleagues hold of him."