Emmerdale vicar Harriet Finch's fling with bad boy Cain Dingle is one of the most unexpected and sizzling soap romances of the moment. Why? Maybe because that combination of virtue and vice makes it so appealing – it's the ultimate forbidden romance.
But Harriet is not the first servant of the church to give into lustful urges in Soapland, there are numerous kinky clergy who momentarily forgot their faith to get flirty with one of their flock. Put down your bibles and check out this bunch of sinners who couldn't resist a quick snog in the vestry…
1. Father Jack Callahan (Neighbours)
Paige Smith thought she'd met the man of her dreams last year, only problem is he was in a coma. A handsome stranger had saved her life at the Lassiters explosion, then lapsed into unconsciousness with grateful Paige staying put at his bedside until he opened his eyes.
That's when it got really tricky as 'John Doe' awoke with amnesia and couldn't remember anything about his life pre-bang, but with Paige's help they eventually jogged his memory to remind John his real name was Jack – and he was a Catholic priest! Makes being in a coma less of an obstacle, doesn't it?
Such is the way with soap clergy, Jack was conflicted by his calling and the chance to canoodle with the sexy Ms Smith. God's work went out the window after Paige's near-death experience in a hot air balloon disaster made him realise how much he cared for her, and they consummated their relationship in an abandoned barn.
Cue carloads of Catholic guilt for Father Jack, exacerbated when he discovered he'd got Paige preggers…
2. Father Kieron Hobbs (Hollyoaks)
Fit Father Kieron came out of the closet to John Paul McQueen, but even though his beliefs prevented them from being together, it didn't stop them sneaking around and embarking on a holy inappropriate affair. Conflicted Kieron eventually quit the church to be out and proud with JP, but unfortunately for the defrocked fella, this was around the time of nasty Niall Rafferty's revenge plot against the McQueens – and he was caught slap bang in the middle.
Niall outed Kieron to the entire village and tried to ruin things with John Paul, then Kieron was the one who figured out Niall was really Myra's secret son and confronted him. Terrified his vendetta was about to be rumbled, Niall poisoned Kieron and made it look like he'd taken his own life, manipulating John Paul into thinking the priest's death was his fault.
3. Reverend Billy Mayhew (Coronation Street)
Just because you're a vicar, doesn't mean you can't be a cheating two-timer. Yes, Billy is a nice guy who takes in random homeless people, rescues Polish immigrants from people trafficking (remember Marta and the O'Driscolls fiasco? Thought not) and regularly offers tea and sympathy to troubled souls of the street, but let's not forget he did the dirty on ex-boyfriend Sean Tully by shacking up with toxic Todd Grimshaw – while living under the same roof.
Actually, Sean is pretty annoying so we can forgive lovely Billy. Incidentally, the randy reverend's raunchy love scenes with Todd while they conducted their clandestine fling caused quite a stir last year – proof that there's still something scandalous about seeing a vicar get saucy on screen.
4. Reverend Ashley Thomas (Emmerdale)
We've only just lost Reverend Thomas and he was a truly great man, and please don't think we're speaking ill of the dead, but in his day Ash had a bit of a phase of going for busty barmaids…
When he married Gabby's mum Bernice in the year 2000, it was one of the most unlikely Emmerdale romances we'd ever seen: parishioners were perplexed when the respectable, buttoned-up Bible-basher cosied up to the town vixen.
Bern got bored and the marriage collapsed when she cheated on him with chef Carlos Diaz, but Ashley was already eyeing up another beauty behind the Woolpack bar – Aussie minx Louise Appleton (played by Emily Symons during a hiatus from being Home and Away legend Marilyn). Ashley's next bit of arm candy was a short-lived liaison and he ended up with soulmate Laurel. Quite right too.
5. Father Derek O'Farrell (Brookside)
Before THAT kiss with Beth Jordache, Brookie nanny Margaret Clemence courted controversy by getting it on with a handsome young priest. Father Derek was the little brother of Margaret's neighbour DD Dixon, and the staunch Catholic all but branded the pitchforks when she discovered her saintly sibling had swapped hymns for sins with the curly-haired temptress of the Close.
Derek dramatically turned his back on the priesthood and got engaged to her, but they were torn apart when he was offered a post at a Catholic aid centre in Romania and Mags chose to stay at home.
A few years later, after deciding snogging Anna Friel wasn't for her, Margaret left Liverpool to join Derek in Bosnia and presumably they lived happily ever after. Which is rare.
6. Reverend Alex Healy (EastEnders)
Hot vicar Alex set up a homeless shelter in Walford in the late '90s and found himself tormented by his feelings for Kathy Mitchell, who was then Phil's missus – an affair with a married woman was hardly the most Christian path to follow.
They eventually got together after Kaff dumped Phil following his hook-up with fellow alkie Lorna Cartwright and Alex even proposed, fully prepared to ditch the dog collar for domestic bliss with his true love. But it wasn't to be as Kathy upped sticks to South Africa (where she met some bloke called Gavin) and Alex ultimately chose to follow his calling and moved to Somalia to do the good lord's bidding.
7. Father Joel Dexter (Hollyoaks)
Okay so he hasn't acted on it yet, but surely it's only a matter of time before trainee priest Joel jumps into bed with lost soul Cleo McQueen?
The recent Hollyoaks trailer showed a clip of them almost kissing, and Father Dexter almost acted on his dirty desires when Sienna Blake attempted to seduce him (and now she's kind of his stepmum, which is just weird). Will Joel be losing his religion?
Digital Spy Soap Scoop video – hit play below for all the latest Emmerdale spoilers, as Rhona returns to the village and Adam's big secret comes under threat.
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