When a much-loved telly character dies, it can be devastating. We've blubbed our way through these nine tear-jerking TV deaths more times than we'd care to admit. Get the tissues handy!
1. Rachel – Cold Feet
Rachel and Adam had finally found happiness in Cold Feet, but we didn’t see that truck coming… and neither did she! The actress Helen Baxendale reportedly cried watching her own death scene back in 2003, when the tragic episode pulled in 9.4 million viewers. Poor Adam – we still want to give him a hug!
2. Nana – The Royle Family
In 2006 episode The Queen of Sheba, poorly Norma – Nana – had moved into the Royles’ living room. This meant she’d control of the telly – much to Jim’s dismay! From the moment Barbara found Nana unconscious to grumpy Jim’s heartfelt tears by her hospital bed, we were all sobbing our hearts out! Bye Nana.
3. DI Bilborough – Cracker
The hard-hitting 1994 Cracker episode To Be A Somebody saw Robert Carlyle shoot to fame as a vengeful psychopath determined to kill a police officer for every life lost at the Hillsborough disaster. When DI Bilborough (Christopher Eccleston) is brutally stabbed, he spends his final moments identifying his murderer over the police radio… and dies just as an ambulance arrives. So cruel!
4. The cast – Blackadder Goes Forth
Blackadder surely boasts the most poignant finale ever to a comedy series. Baldrick’s final ‘cunning plan’ is useless as Blackadder and troops finally go over the top. The slow-motion battle scene fades to Flanders poppy fields, in remembrance of all soldiers killed during the First World War. The sudden switch from comedy to reality hits you like a punch in the gut – and the tears keep on falling.
5. Lady Sybil – Downton Abbey
The popular period drama has delivered some shock storylines but we still haven’t got over series three’s heartache. Lady Sybil gives birth to a healthy baby girl but the happiness is short-lived… As her body spasms, she dies from eclampsia, leaving her husband Tom Branson – and all Downton fans – utterly devastated. Sniff!
6. The Tenth Doctor – Doctor Who
As an ancient trap closes around Earth in The End Of Time, The Tenth Doctor (David Tennant) makes the ultimate sacrifice to save Wilfred Mott – despite the ‘old man’ begging him not to. Even with the knowledge that the The Doctor regenerates rather than ‘dies’, Tennant’s sorrowful final words: ‘I don’t want to go!’ had fans weeping TARDIS loads of tears.
7. Endeavour Morse – Inspector Morse
In 2000, the episode The Remorseful Day saw our beloved Inspector Morse tragically collapse from a heart attack, alone on the lawn of Exeter College. Treasured actor John Thaw, who played the iconic role, was himself fighting illness when he filmed the upsetting final scenes. Thaw sadly died of throat cancer just two years later, leaving fans teary all over again.
8. Grandad – Only Fools and Horses
When actor Lennard Pearce sadly died in 1984, Grandad was given a fond farewell in true Trotter style. Despite the mournful setting, the laughs kept us cheery as Del spots what he thinks is Grandad’s trademark hat. Picking it up, together with Rodney, he lovingly drops the hat into Grandad’s grave… it was later hilariously revealed that the hat actually belonged to the vicar… What plonkers!
9. Sam Tyler – Life On Mars
Rounding off our top tear-jerking TV deaths, has to be the BBC ‘time travelling’ cop drama. The complex plot unravelled to keep the audience guessing if Sam Tyler (John Simm) was alive in 1973, or in a coma in 2006. Series Two’s tense closing scene saw a desperate Sam take his own life in 2007… only to find himself transported back to 1973. Confusing, huh? We’re still scratching our heads but what a clever exit!