Marital status: Widowed
Sam was in trouble soon after he arrived in the village in 1995. Held back by learning difficulties and a lack of confidence, he was led astray. He demanded ransom money from the Sugdens during Robert’s disappearance. Sam was eventually released from prison and given community service.
Youngest son of Zak, Sam is loyal, sweet-natured and loves his family. He is very simple-minded, though, and perpetually in trouble. He found his feet by becoming local businessman Eric Pollard's helper. Although the relationship suited Eric's needs, Sam's life took a turn for the worse in 2003 when he ran over pensioner Edna Birch and almost killed her. The incident was a huge setback for Sam, who was tortured by guilt over his actions and confessed.
After a heartfelt apology and a stint in prison, Sam got Edna to forgive him and they became good friends. In fact, it was just another in a long line of bizarre friendships that Sam forged, including Sadie King. He was one of the only people to find goodness in twisted super-bitch Sadie. And while Sadie used Sam for various dogsbody tasks, she had a real soft spot for him.
Sam's life changed dramatically in December 2004 when he met chicken farmer Alice Wilson. The unconventional lonely souls bonded over their love of poultry. They fell in love but fate tore them apart when the sale of Alice's family farm went through and she was forced to leave Emmerdale to set up home in Norfolk. Sam initially couldn’t leave his family behind but changed his mind at the last minute and left in January 2005. Sam was back a few months later when he dropped the bombshell that Alice was pregnant with their baby.
After helping Sam face up to fatherhood, Zak was delighted when Alice returned too. Tragedy was just around the corner as Alice discovered she had cancer and that life-saving treatment may affect their unborn baby. She carried her boy as far as she could before doctors were forced to deliver baby Samson. She finally began her treatment but was losing her battle and doctors broke the news that Alice was terminally ill.
The pair married in an emotional ceremony but Alice deteriorated and she begged Sam to help her die with dignity. After much soul searching he agreed and she slipped peacefully away. The police were tipped off that Alice had been killed and went around to the Dingle farm to arrest Sam. They were set upon by the angry family who, one by one, confessed to the crime. But, to Sam's astonishment, it was his half-brother Cain – who'd always gone all out to make his life hell – who took the rap.
Sam began to struggle to take care of his son and make ends meet. Things got so bad, Social Services threatened to take Samson away and rather than give in to them Sam ran off, taking his little boy with him. Sam also took a gun and was labelled a dangerous criminal on the run. Luckily, when the police found him, he escaped going to jail and was allowed to go home on the condition he went back to live at Zak and Lisa's. Things are now 'back to normal'.
Sam is doing everything he can to be a good dad to little Samson. Thankfully he's got the love and support of his family (however dodgy they can be sometimes). But will the simple soul ever find a love like Alice again?
James Hooton plays Sam. He began acting after attending the Central Television Children's Workshop in Nottingham. In 2007, he took part in Soapstar Superchef alongside co-star Andy Devine, who plays Shadrach Dingle. The pair were so awful at cooking that they finished last.