Image of Emmerdale logo with Gail and Sophie

Martha Cope joins Emmerdale as Sophie, Gail’s past visitor with a crucial request

Martha Cope has joined the cast as Dotty Cotton's mum

Emmerdale newcomer Martha Cope appeared in her first scenes as Gail’s mystery visitor this week (Thursday, September 21). But the actress, who’s playing Sophie, is a familiar face to soap fans.

Martha has appeared in EastEnders, Doctors, Family Affairs, Casualty – and in fact, Emmerdale before as well!

Here’s the lowdown!

What does Sophie want from Gail? (Credit: ITV)

Who does Martha Cope play in Emmerdale?

Martha has joined the cast of Emmerdale as Sophie, a mysterious face from Gail‘s past.

On Wednesday night (September 20) Gail had tried to drag boyfriend Ryan away from work for a romantic dinner for two. She’d even bribed Marlon to cook for them.

But their meal was interrupted by a phone call. It was clear the call was uncomfortable as Gail’s face quickly fell. She managed to end the call by saying to call her back tomorrow.

Gail then told Ryan it was just a sales call, which didn’t sit right given she’d asked them to call back.

Last night (September 21) viewers discovered exactly who Sophie is and what she means to Gail.

It turns out Gail and Ryan had a son together 13 years ago. Oscar was adopted by Sophie when he was just a few weeks old. But now Oscar is sick with aplastic anemia. He needs a bone marrow transplant and Sophie wants Gail to be tested to see if she is a match.

Martha Cope joined EastEnders briefly in 2021 (Credit: BBC)

Who did Martha Cope play in EastEnders?

Martha is no stranger to Soapland, having arrived in EastEnders in late 2021 as Sandy, Dotty Cotton’s mother, but she wasn’t exactly a typical mum.

Dotty was conceived during a one-night stand between Nick Cotton and Sandy in 2001. They met in a squat and Sandy was an alcoholic.

Shortly after their night together, Nick went back to prison, but he received a letter from Sandy telling him she had given birth to their daughter. When he was released from jail, Nick took custody of Dotty and told her Sandy had died in a car crash. But when Sandy turned up, his lies were exposed.

Sandy arrived in Walford and immediately caused trouble. It was clear she had a drink and drug problem, and Dotty went to great lengths to get her mum clean. However after months of giving her money and trying to get her into rehab, Sandy left Walford at Christmas.

Martha Cope as Amelia Gregory in Family Affairs
Martha previously starred in Family Affairs (Credit: Freemantle/Shutterstock)

What else has Martha Cope been in?

Soap fans will recognise Martha from now defunct Channel 5 soap Family Affairs. She played Anna Gregory between 2002 and 2003.

She has also been in Doctors, Holby City, Men Behaving Badly, and Casualty.

In late 2013 she starred in 10 episodes of Emmerdale as DC Morden who was investigating the fire at Home Farm started by Declan Macey.

She appeared in EastEnders previously in 2014 as Melissa Phillips, area manager of the Minute Mart.

The actress has had a guest role in Coronation Street too, as a date of Kevin Webster’s who he met at a single’s night in December 2015.

Martha’s parents have also both appeared in Corrie, with her mum, Renny Lister playing Jenny Stark in 1961, and her dad, Kenneth Cope, playing Jed Stone on and off between 1961 and 2009.

Carla Connor in Corrie looks suspiciously at uncomfortable Jed Stone
Kenneth Cope played Jed Stone in Coronation Street (Credit: ITV/Shutterstock)

Who is Kenneth Cope?

Martha’s dad, Kenneth, played Jed Stone who was something of a Corrie legend. He appeared on the show from 1961-63, again in 1966 and most recently from 2008-2009.

Jed first turned up in the 60s as an old prison mate of Dennis Tanner’s and eventually moved in with Minnie Caldwell. He was a lighthearted character and ran various schemes. He was known for wearing a flat cap – even in bed! Jed was sent back to prison for stealing blankets and left the Street in 1966.

He returned in 2008 living in one of the flats owned by Tony Gordon. Tony wanted him out, but Jed refused to leave and the two men became enemies. Tony left him to die when he had a heart attack and took his home from him.

Jed then moved in with Emily Bishop and Norris Cole. Jed was soon on to Tony and his murderous ways and started to gather evidence. But Tony wasn’t going to give in that easily and after a Christmas Day confrontation it was believed Tony had killed Jed.

However, this turned out to be false. Carla demanded answers from Jed and Tony paid his heavy to deal with Jed once more.

Jed had another heart attack, but it is not known whether he is still alive.

Kenneth Cope, meanwhile, is now 92 years old. He is also known for shows such as Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) and Brookside, as well as being part of the Carry On team.

His wife – Martha Cope’s mum – is Renny Lister, who played Jean Stark on Coronation Street for 12 episode in 1961. The couple met on set and had two sons – Nick and Mark – and one daughter, Martha.

Gail’s secret is out (Credit: ITV)

What happens next?

By next week Gail’s big secret is out. And it’s clear Ryan is struggling to deal with recent revelations.

But how will they move forward with the weight of the secret heavy on them?

Can they find a way to be together? Or has this destroyed everything they ever had?

And will Sophie be back?

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EastEnders usually airs Monday to Thursday at 7.30pm on BBC One.

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Carena Crawford
Associate Editor (Soaps)