are Cathy and Heath Hope related in real life?

Emmerdale spoilers follow.

It’s a busy time for Bob Hope on Emmerdale this week, as he finds himself playing referee between his children Cathy and Heath.

Tuesday night’s episode (January 24) saw Cathy lose her temper with her family during a row at the cafe, which led to her smashing up her brother Heath’s guitar as her anger escalated.

Twins Cathy and Heath were born in Emmerdale in 2007, welcomed by Bob and his then-wife Viv. Unfortunately, Viv died in the post office fire just a few years later in 2011.

In real life, it’s also a family affair on set as Cathy and Heath are played by twins Gabrielle and Sebastian Dowling. (This isn’t always the case in Soapland – Corrie‘s resident twins Asha and Aadi Alahan are played by Tanisha Gorey and Adam Hussainwho aren’t actually related in real life.)

Amazingly, Gabrielle and Sebastian – who are now 16 – have been part of the Emmerdale cast since they were just a few weeks old.

They were supposed to play Cathy and Heath from the characters’ births, but stand-ins had to be brought in for the initial episodes as Sebastian stayed in the hospital for a week longer than planned.

Gabrielle and Sebastian took over their roles a few episodes later.

The pair’s parents discovered that Emmerdale were searching for newborn twins while mum Louise was pregnant.

cathy and heath hope in emmerdale

ITV

Louise told the Huddersfield Examiner in 2007: “You don’t get opportunities like this every day and it will be something for them to look back on when they are older.

“I was a bit dubious at first because I wasn’t sure what my husband would think about it. But Emmerdale has been fantastic.”

Many soap stars introduced as babies eventually get recast – either through decisions from producers, or the kids in question moving away from the world of showbiz. However, Gabrielle and Sebastian have stuck around in Emmerdale for the past 16 years.

Speaking to Metro last year, Gabrielle enthused: “I’ve enjoyed having the opportunity to build the role that I’ve grown up with and develop the character of Cathy while learning from experienced actors and directors.

cathy hope and samson dingle, emmerdale

ITV

“I’ve been in the soap since I was 4 weeks old so it’s second nature to me. It’s one big family, everyone gets on and it’s a great atmosphere to work in.

“The studio and village have been a huge part of my life along with my brother’s. Having celebrated birthdays on set allowed me to feel close with the people around me and showed me how much of a family we are.”

A few years ago, it became a long-running joke among Emmerdale fans that Cathy and Heath had disappeared, as they were rarely shown on screen while they were growing up.

Now that the characters are old enough to have more mature storylines, this looks likely to change in the coming months.

heath hope in emmerdale

ITV

This week’s episodes will see Cathy confides in Bernice Blackstock about how she has been struggling with heavy periods.

Cathy’s heart-to-heart leads to her getting the support she needs as she books an appointment with doctor Manpreet Sharma, who writes her a prescription for the pill.

Emmerdale airs on weeknights at 7.30pm on ITV1, and streams on ITVX.

Read more Emmerdale spoilers on our dedicated homepage

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