Emmerdale Joe Tate star’s life – UK return, topless hike and Bridgerton makeover

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Emmerdale star Ned Porteous, who played the hunky – if dangerous – Joe Tate from 2017 to 2018 in the Dales, became a firm fan favourite during his brief soap stint.

Since making his name as the game-playing boyfriend to Debbie Dingle, Ned has gone on to move to the United States to develop his TV and film career.

And, according to his CV, it has definitely been a success, as he even managed to land himself a role in hit period drama Bridgerton in 2020.

Though Ned was loved up with girlfriend Lucy Heath in 2019, fans will be pleased to note that it looks as though the soap star is currently single.

And as eagle-eyed Emmerdale viewers are certain he could soon make an explosive return to the Dales, we take a look inside Ned’s life – from topless hikes to his rival soap career.

Rival soap stint

Emmerdale wasn’t the first soap Ned starred in – he was actually a regular character in EastEnders back in 2016.

He played Mark Fowler Jr, known for sporting his trademark leather jacket and quiff – and for getting involved in storylines like the kidnap of Ben Mitchell and Jay Brown.

Mark eventually worked out that Grant is his real father, and decides to leave Walford in exchange for moving to the US – much like actor Ned eventually did.

Though Ned only appeared in 13 episodes of the BBC soap, it was enough to leave his mark on Albert Square and get his foot on the Soapland ladder.

Ned also appeared in one episode of medical soap Holby City back in 2015, appearing as Rufus Lucas in the BBC drama.

Sweet family life

Although it looks like Ned is currently single, he has a super cosy home life with his adorable cat, Dave.

The kitty celebrated his first birthday last year, and Ned posted a sweet snap of him resting his chin on Dave’s black-and-white belly – looking like he was disturbing a nap.

He wrote alongside the photo: "Hey guys, Dave turned 1 the other day, wish him happy birthday plz x."

The actor was previously in a relationship with American actress Lucy Heath, with a source telling The Sun back in 2019: "It’s early days but Ned is really enjoying dating Lucy. They have both been in America recently looking for work and grew really close.

"Ned usually likes to keep his love life private but has been taking Lucy to various events both in London and LA.

"They have loads in common with their acting work and make a great looking couple – it’s just Ned’s fans who are gutted!"

The pair went Instagram-official that year, but things appear to have tapered off as Ned is back in the UK.

Bridgerton role

Ned achieved even more acting glory in 2020, when he appeared in hit Netflix period drama Bridgerton as Lord Wetherby.

He appeared in three episodes of the show, looking stunning in period formalwear – and sporting an impressive set of sideburns.

Posting a rather dashing snap of him in character to Instagram, Ned wrote: "Lord Fancypants."

In another behind-the-scenes post, he’d shucked off the majority of his outfit and stood in an open white shirt, brown trousers and suspenders – with the shirt flared wide to reveal a triangle of impressive chest.

"These are my real side-burns," he cheekily captioned the snap.

Life in US

27-year-old Ned flocked to the US to live it up in Los Angeles after formally quitting Emmerdale.

He travelled over there in October 2018 to make a life for himself on the other side of the pond, announcing at the time: "I haven’t had a holiday for a very long time so I’m desperate first to get out to America.

"I’ve got management out there so I want to try my hand with the American casting system and then go on a little holiday.

"I will turn my phone off, go climbing, go camping, go fishing."

But since then, it appears Ned has officially returned to the UK, as his Instagram is filled with snaps from London and Snowdonia.

His new life is fairly adrenaline-fuelled, as he has taken up rock climbing as a hobby and can regularly be seen scaling terrifying cliffs with his bare hands.

The star isn’t afraid to strip off for his 110,000 Instagram followers, either, as he regularly poses topless while enjoying his hikes over the American countryside.

In one stunning snap, Ned posed alongside an American flag with his rippling six-pack on display, wearing a pair of baggy cargo shorts and a backwards baseball cap as he looked out onto a stunning LA vista.

In another snap, the hunk stripped off for an indoor climbing sesh in Harrow, and sent temperatures soaring as he effortlessly scaled the tricky route.

"Spending all of quarantine hang-boarding seems to have paid off!" he penned alongside a clip of the impressive wall.

Emmerdale return

Fans are convinced Joe could soon be returning to the Dales – especially now that actor Ned is back in the country.

After Kim Tate conspicuously mentioned Joe after receiving a letter signed J this week, fans are certain that the soap star will be making a return – possibly along with her AWOL son Jamie.

One fan gushed on Instagram: "Right… So he's back in the country so we're a step closer!! Just need him back now to bring down Jamie Tate with Debbie in tow and this year won't have been such a write off after all!"

Someone else tweeted: "Please let it be Joe Tate Bring him back!!!! Let Debbie Finally get her happy ending!"

"Did Joe Tate help Jamie to escape maybe?" another begged, as a fourth fan followed up: "Welcome back, Joe Tate. So Joe helps Jamie disappear and Jamie cleans out the vets account to pay him for it. Crafty. Little. Tates."

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