Dale Meeks: Emmerdale and Byker Grove actor dead at 48, cause of death - as Ant and Dec lead tributes

As well as starring in Byker Grove and Emmerdale, Meeks recently made a cameo in ITV's The Hunt for Raoul Moat

Dale Meeks. (Pic credit: National World)Dale Meeks. (Pic credit: National World)
Dale Meeks. (Pic credit: National World)

Television presenters Ant & Dec have led tributes to Byker Grove co-star Dale Meeks, following his passing at the age of 48.

After he appeared in the BBC drama as the leader of Denton Burn, a rival youth organisation to the Byker Grove youth club, Meeks also played Simon Meredith on the ITV soap opera Emmerdale from 2003 to 2006.

Tributes were led by Ant & Dec, who played PJ and Duncan in Byker Grove, on Sunday (23 April). “We are so incredibly sorry to hear the very sad news of Dale’s passing,” they said in a statement on Twitter.

“He was the loveliest of guys, even though he was a Denton ‘Burner’, the arch nemesis of the Byker ‘Grovers’!” they added.

Here is everything you need to know about him.

Who is Dale Meeks?

Meeks was a British actor who was known for his role as Tom “Mouse” Tavener in the popular British children’s television drama series, Byker Grove. The show ran from 1989 to 2006 and was set in a youth club in the Byker district of Newcastle upon Tyne.

Byker Grove was a launching pad for several successful acting careers, including those of Ant & Dec, Charlie Hunnam and Jill Halfpenny. The show was also notable for tackling serious issues such as drug addiction, teenage pregnancy, and disability, and was praised for its realistic and sensitive portrayal of these topics.

Meeks appeared in Byker Grove from 1995 to 1997, during which he became a popular character on the show. He also appeared in other TV series and films, including Our Friends in the North, Casualty, and Coronation Street.

Meeks was also a talented musician and played in several bands during his time on Byker Grove. In more recent years, Meeks had moved on from acting and was pursuing a career in the music industry.

Meeks had largely stepped away from the public eye in recent years, but last appeared in a cameo role on ITV’s The Hunt For Raoul Moat.

How did he die?

Meeks passed away on Saturday night (22 April) at Newcastle’s South Tyneside Hospital due to “heart failure,” according to his brother, Philip Meeks.

Philip, 55, said his brother was due to turn 49 on the day of the King’s coronation, adding: “My heart is broken.” Responding to Ant and Dec’s tweet, Philip told PA: “That’s absolutely lovely.

“I sort of remember meeting them as kids myself. He (Dale) was in Byker Grove, he made one of them blind, not in real life.”

But Philip also wrote on Instagram that he "tried so desperately" to support his brother, who he said was struggling with "undiagnosed conditions."

He added: “Dale was profoundly unwell and unable to cope and undiagnosed conditions in men in their forties are killers. Dale was let down by those who should have seen beyond his ability to act and recognise his pain.”

Philip said his brother's death certificate would list "heart failure" as the cause of death, but he announced that he would be raising money for the mental health organization Mind.