Katherine Dow Blyton — things you didn't know about the Emmerdale star

Katherine Dow Blyton at the British Soap Awards
Katherine Dow Blyton plays Emmerdale's policewoman Harriet Finch. (Image credit: Getty)

Katherine Dow Blyton has played policewoman Harriet Finch in Emmerdale since 2013, and her character has certainly packed a lot into those nine eventful years. 

Originally a police detective, Harriet was introduced to the soap as the second cousin of Edna Birch and was soon appointed as the new village vicar. However, as viewers soon learnt, Reverend Finch wasn't exactly holier than thou.

As well as bedding local bad boy Cain Dingle, Harriet covered up the murder of corrupt cop DI Malone. After leaving the church, Harriet went back to policing, before getting involved in a messy love triangle with ex-boyfriend Will Taylor and his fiancée, the formidable Kim Tate.

Harriet is a favourite with the Emmerdale fans, but what is there to know about the actress who plays her? Let us tell you...

Katherine Dow Blyton was born on 20th November 1964, and raised in Jarrow, North East England. Her mum was a nurse and her father worked for a paper company. Katherine's mum starred in a production of Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream while she was pregnant with her. "I like to think the grease paint soaked through", Katherine joked in an interview.

Talent clearly runs in the family, as Katherine is distantly related to the legendary children's author Enid Blyton, who wrote The Famous Five and The Secret Seven series and created the much-loved character, Noddy. 

Appearing on ITV's This Morning back in May 2020, Katherine was asked about her famous ancestor by hosts Eammon Holmes and Ruth Langsford, and revealed: "Enid Blyton was a cousin of my grandpa's."

Enid Blyton

Katherine has a very famous ancestor - author Enid Blyton! (Picture: Getty) (Image credit: Getty Images)

2. Her first job was at a greengrocers

Katherine may be a famous soap star now, but her first paid job wasn't quite so glamourous. As a youngster, Katherine worked at a local greengrocers close to where she grew up, making just £5 a day.

3. She's had roles in major television dramas

Pre-soap, Katherine's CV included several iconic nineties and noughties dramas.

Her first television appearance was playing a doctor in dark crime series Cracker. Parts in Band of Gold and Out of the Blue soon followed, and in 1996, Katherine bagged her first film role in Brassed Off, which starred the likes of Ewan McGregor and Tara Fitzgerald.

Katherine's also starred in Where The Heart Is, Casualty, At Home with the Braithwaites, The Royal and The Syndicate. And fans might also remember her playing the character of Chrissie for four episodes of Channel 4's This is England '86.

4. She's been in Coronation Street four times!

Eagle-eyed fans will know that Emmerdale is not Katherine's first role in soap. In fact the actress has appeared in Coronation Street as four different characters. 

In July 1996 she had a brief stint as Nicola Owens, the ex-girlfriend of Terry Duckworth. Two years later, Katherine was back on the cobbles, this time as Dr Groves, and in 1999 she played another medic. In 2001, she had an episode as Liz Morrisey, a buildings manager for the Rosamund Street Medical Centre, and her last appearance in Weatherfield was as Niamh McQuillan in 2007.

Katherine also took Coronation Street to the stage in August 2010 when she appeared in a production based on the history of Britain's longest-running soap. The theatre show, titled Corrie, was made to celebrate the cobbles' 50th anniversary and penned by Johnathan Harvey.

5. She's also starred in Hollyoaks

Between 2001 and 2005 Katherine was part of the Hollyoaks cast, playing the role of secondary school science teacher, Sally Hunter. She was the mum to Lisa Hunter played by Gemma Atkinson, and Lee Hunter played by Alex Carter, both of whom have been in Emmerdale themselves.

Katherine relocated to Merseyside during her four-year stint on the soap, and has nothing but happy memories of her time living in Liverpool. In a chat with ECHO she revealed why the city is so special to her, saying: "We used to love going the Albert Dock and had a good few parties there. We used to drink locally so we'd often be in the Penny Lane. It's great for a night out and great for locals. I made lots of friends who I'm still in touch with now."

6. She's got a beloved pet dog 

Katherine is a proud dog mummy to her beloved pet pooch Dexter, who she often shares pictures of on her Twitter account - much to the delight of her followers. 

She posted a snap of Dexter having a bath and captioned the it: “Even Dexter, with a little help, is following the guidelines #washyourpaws ...or get your dad to do it x."

The actress also lives with her boyfriend, but closely guards her private life, so the identity of her partner is unknown. 

7. She's not a fan of Harriet's latest look

When Katherine got the call to say she'd won the part of vicar Harriet in Emmerdale, she decided she needed to prepare for the role:

"I bought a Bible," she revealed in an interview with Matthew Rolland "I'm not religious at all, but the important thing for me was I wanted her (Harriet) to be very flawed and human. I wanted her to make mistakes — get drunk at The Woolpack and make a fool of herself."

These days, Harriet earns her crust being a copper, but Katherine isn't so keen on her character's uniform. She told ECHO: "It's is the most uncomfortable costume I have ever worn. I take my hat off to police men and women because it is hideous to walk around in. It weighs a ton and is not at all flattering."

Katherine Dow Blyton's fact file 

Answers to the most frequently asked questions about the star...

How old is Katherine Dow Blyton?

Katherine Dow Blyton is 57. She was born on 20th November 1964.

Is Katherine Dow Blyton in a relationship?

Katherine is very private about her personal life, but has confirmed she has a boyfriend. 

Does Katherine Dow Blyton have children?

Katherine Dow Blyton doesn't have any children.

Where was Katherine Dow Blyton born?

Katherine Dow Blyton was born in Jarrow, North East England.

Twitter: @BlytonDow

We work hard to ensure that all information is correct. Facts that change over time, such as age, will be correct, to the best of our knowledge, at the time of the last article update.

Claire Crick
Assistant Managing Editor at What To Watch

Claire is Assistant Managing Editor at What To Watch and has been a journalist for over 15 years, writing about everything from soaps and TV to beauty, entertainment, and even the Royal Family. After starting her career at a soap magazine, she ended up staying for 13 years, and over that time she’s pulled pints in the Rovers Return, sung karaoke in the Emmerdale village hall, taken a stroll around Albert Square, and visited Summer Bay Surf Club in sunny Australia. 

After learning some tricks of the trade at websites Digital Spy, Entertainment Daily, and Woman & Home, Claire landed a role at What’s On TV and whattowatch.com writing about all things TV and film, with a particular love for Aussie soaps, Strictly Come Dancing and Bake Off

She’s interviewed everyone from June Brown — AKA Dot Cotton — to Michelle Keegan, swapped cooking tips with baking legend Mary Berry backstage at the NTAs, and danced the night away with soap stars at countless awards bashes. There’s not a lot she doesn’t know about soaps and TV and can be very handy when a soapy question comes up in a pub quiz! 

As well as all things soap-related, Claire also loves running, spa breaks, days out with her kids, and getting lost in a good book.