Emmerdale star Jeff Hordley on fear Cain Dingle would be REPLACED

Cain in Emmerdale
Emmerdale actor Jeff Hordley has become protective over his character Cain Dingle throughout the years. (Image credit: ITV)

Emmerdale favourite Jeff Hordley confessed that he was worried that his character Cain Dingle would be replaced after finding out that the soap was going to introduce a new member of the Dingle family. 

As part of the Emmerdale's explosive Christmas storylines, there's set to be more trouble on the way for Cain and Chas Dingle (Lucy Pargeter) in the form of their long-lost brother. 

It was recently announced that show bosses had cast former Waterloo Road actor Will Ash to play the role of Caleb Miligan, who is soon revealed to be Cain and Chas' secret brother. 

Caleb's arrival sees him visit Cain in prison and wanting answers following the death of their mother Faith Dingle (Sally Dexter). Although Cain is thrown by Caleb's unexpected visit, it becomes clear that Cain has kept Caleb’s existence a secret from Chas for decades.

Will Ash as Caleb Miligan and Jeff Hordley as Cain Dingle in Emmerdale

Cain's long-lost brother Caleb Miligan shows up in Emmerdale. (Image credit: ITV)

However, Jeff was initially hesitant to hear about Caleb's arrival as he was concerned that his much-loved character was being replaced.

He told What To Watch: "Initially, I’ll be honest, I thought, ‘They are bringing in a younger Dingle? What are they doing that for? Are they trying to replace me?’ You always get a little bit protective of your character if they bring in someone similar." 

But when Jeff discovered that they had cast Will, who both attended the same school in Oldham, he was delighted.

"Then when I found out it was Will, I was like, ‘Oh this is great. This is the best thing that could have happened.’ I think it feels as if Caleb has been here a long time. The character is written so well, he’s got a charm and Will brings that across really beautifully in it. Cain does have a connection with him. He doesn’t like him but he also finds there’s something about him that Cain wants to connect with as well."

William Ash as Caleb in Emmerdale

Will Ash as Caleb in Emmerdale. (Image credit: ITV)

In real life, Jeff and Will share a childhood friendship as they went to the same school and did a school play together.

"It goes back to our school days. We did a play at school together and then other stuff professionally. We both went to the same school — North Chadderton Comprehensive in Oldham and had a really inspirational drama teacher called Colin Snell, who not inspired us but also Nicola Stapleton, Matthew Dunster, Paul Hilton and then went onto another school with Jonas Armstrong and Jenna Louise Coleman. 

"He’s worked and inspired a lot of young actors. We weren’t in the same class because I’m a lot older — a school generation above. We did Another Country and I was one of the sixth formers and Will was a young kid bringing us all tea. It was a really good production, that."

Emmerdale airs weeknights at 7.30 pm on ITV1, with a hour-long episode on Thursdays — see our TV Guide for full listings. You can also catch up on ITVX (opens in new tab).

Grace Morris
Staff Writer

Grace is a digital writer with WhatToWatch.com, where she writes series guides for must-watch shows and the latest TV news. She graduated from Anglia Ruskin University in 2020 with a degree in Writing and Film Studies, which only made her love for creative writing, film and TV grow stronger.


You'll usually find her watching the drama unfold in the latest reality series and much-loved soaps (usually with chocolate by her side!). Grace also likes to explore new places with her friends and family and, of course, watch and read about the latest films and TV series.