Apr 2007: Arrives with Laurel’s mother, Hilary to visit their daughter but after they leave, they are involved in a car accident. Doug suffers minor injuries but Hilary is comatose for several weeks. Laurel immediately goes to look after her father despite being heavily pregnant
Feb 2008: Returns with Hilary to meet their grandson, Daniel. Daniel dies of cot death
Hilary discovers that Daniel was not Laurel and Ashley’s son and when she confides her suspicions to Doug, he is reluctant to believe her but she is later proved to be right. Gets a job at Eric Pollard’s furniture factory
Aug 2008: Makes plans to reunite with Hilary, who had been on a long holiday to Cuba but she telephones him and asks for a divorce
Jan 2009: Brenda and Doug form Emmerdale Explorers, a playgroup for the local children
Starts running the Home Farm Fayre shop in the village with Leyla Harding
Mar 2010: Doug becomes attracted to Diane Sugden and asks her out but she turns him down. Doug is unhappy when Charlie Haynes, a friend of Diane’s ex-husband, Rodney Blackstock, arrives in the village and begins a relationship with Diane
Jul 2010: Diane discovers that Charlie has fled the village with her money and she apologises Doug for not believing him, but tells him she does not want a romantic relationship
Offers Diane a loan when she faces financial problems as a result of Charlie’s actions
Feb 2011: Goes on a cruise with Hilary to give their marriage another chance
Sep 2014: Returns for Laurel’s wedding to Marlon Dingle and he moves in with them, having parted from Hilary
Rekindles relationship with Diane, and his friendship with Leyla
Feb 2015: Doug notices that Laurel is drinking more than normal, and soon realises that she has descended into alcoholism. He tries to stop Laurel from drinking, but his actions result in Laurel throwing Doug out, forcing him to move in with Diane
Jul 2015: Upset to hear that Hilary has died from heart failure
Feb 2016: Supports Diane through her cancer treatment. At the same time, finds out Laurel is remarrying Ashley, who has diagnosed with dementia. Doug does not agree with Ashley and Laurel’s marriage, and tried to talk Laurel out of it
They later reconcile on Laurel’s hen night party, where Doug also discovers Laurel is still pregnant, and Doug witnesses Laurel and Ashley married the following day
Mar 2016: Doug and Diane invested in Eric Pollard’s B&B becoming co-owners with Eric
Moves into Brook Cottage with Diane as The Woolpack is full due to Charity, Noah and Liv moving in
Duncan is known for his appearances in television productions written by Victoria Wood, including his roles of Clifford in the soap opera parody sketches Acorn Antiques, and Stan in the sitcom Dinnerladies (1998–2000). He reprised his role of Clifford in Acorn Antiques The Musical in 2005. His other television roles include Jonathan Haslam in the sitcom Surgical Spirit (1989–95); playing Kevin’s dad in Harry Enfield and Chums (1994), and Douglas Potts in Emmerdale (2007–11, 2014–present).
He has also made many guest appearances in various TV series, including (Hunters Walk) (1970s police series) Secret Army, The Professionals, All Creatures Great and Small, Robin of Sherwood, Bergerac, The New Statesman, Press Gang, Chalk, Boon, Casualty, Heartbeat, Hetty Wainthropp Investigates, Holby City, Peak Practice, Midsomer Murders, Dalziel and Pascoe and My Family.
A renowned Shakespearean actor, Duncan has performed in many productions for the Royal Shakespeare Company, including playing Angus in Trevor Nunn’s version of Macbeth (stage 1976, television 1978), starring Ian McKellen and Judi Dench. Other theatre work, includes a 2007 production of To Kill A Mockingbird.
He was awarded an honorary Doctor of Letters degree by the University of Bradford on 4 December 2002 “for his contributions as an actor”.
Duncan was also a regular cast member in the sitcom Surgical Spirit and appeared as Dennis Stokes in Coronation Street in 2004. He has also appeared on Lily Savage’s Blankety Blank.
He married actress Susan Penhaligon, who played Jean Hope in Emmerdale, in 1986. They divorced in 1992 but subsequently reconciled in 1997, though they have not remarried.