Heartbeat Wiki

Dr Kate Rowan

Played by: Niamh Cusack

Niamh Cusack as Dr Kate Rowan in the 1995 Opening Titles.jpg



First Episode

Changing Places

Last Episode

Thief in the Night


Katie Rowan (daughter)


Nick Rowan (husband)


Married to PC Nick Rowan, she moved with him from London to Aidensfield when he was made Police Constable for the area (Kate had a previous connection with the area, having been born nearby). A kind and caring person, tempered with occasional streaks of coyness and obstinacy, Kate expected to find a position practising medicine alongside Aidensfield's resident doctor, Dr Alex Ferrenby. Dr Ferrenby was not initially encouraging to Kate because he doubted that the locals would accept a female doctor. However, he later took her on as his junior partner, and gave her a brass plaque with her name on it. As Dr Ferrenby's health began to deteriorate including after Alex's memory was slightly damaged in a train crash she took over as the main doctor with Alex assisting where needed.

Kate eventually took over the practice completely following Dr Ferrenby's death whilst he was away fishing. She later joined forces with Whitby doctor James Radcliffe, and the two ran joint practices in Whitby and Aidensfield, an arrangement that placed strains on Kate and Nick's marriage.

Kate's discovery that she was pregnant was initially unexpected to her, further straining her relationship with her husband, but dissatisfaction soon turned to delight as the couple looked forward to the prospect of starting a family. Tragedy however would strike when when Kate discovered, during the pregnancy, that she was suffering from leukemia. She kept the information about her illness a secret at first from Nick but later told him not to tell anyone else. The two therefore kept the news that she had leukemia a secret from the villagers. Unfortunately she failed to seek treatment because she was worried about it's possible adverse effect on her unborn baby. Due to her sacrifice, she died, from related complications, shortly after giving birth to her and Nick's daughter Katie.

Kate first appeared in the episode Changing Places where it was revealed that she didn't want to live in the country, and that it was Nick's job that brought them there.

The first ever episode saw her helping Mrs Maskell give birth to another child. In Fruits of the Earth, she had both trouble with both Dr Ferrenby and Mr Maskell, when she advised Mrs Maskell to take the contraceptive pill. In one episode, an old boyfriend of Kate's turned up, prompting Nick to think she may have feelings for him still. In the episode A Chilly Reception, it was revealed that she'd found her uncle in bed with another woman. Her uncle then tried to bribe her into not telling Eileen. In Rumours, Kate was in Charlie Denby's shop when she saw Harry Cottis accuse Denby of assaulting his son. In Playing with Fire, she argued with Dr Ferrenby again when she put Sandra Murray (who was unmarried) in touch with the family planning Clinic over birth control. When Dr Ferrenby was injured in Nowt but a Prank, he asked Kate to help out with the practice. Kate was eventually asked to join the practice by Dr Ferrenby when he was impressed by Kate's recent work, but she played for time and asked if she could have time to think about it.

She and Nick were also caught up in a feud between Mr Chapman and Mr Radcliffe and the situation ended when Kate treated Radcliffe's wound. In Old, New, Borrowed and Blue, she and Nick attended the wedding of Alan and Scnsadra, but Nick arrested the best man for pushing drugs. She also considered returning to hospital medicine in Middlesbrough yet she decided to join Dr Farrenby in his practice. In Face Value, Kate treated Paul Metrton MP when she discovered she had a weak heart. In Primal Instinct, she confirmed the death of Andrew Gerard, who had been shot dead and was then found by wife Muriel when she returned home from church with her mother. Andrew was a former DCS from Scotland Yard and two detectives from London - DCI Merton and DC Langdon - came up from the Met to take charge of the investigation. Langdon was an old friend of Nick's who then stayed at the Police House with Nick and Kate. In Keep on Running, Kate opposed the idea of returning to London when Nick was asked to go for an interview with the Drugs Squad and would get promoted to Sergeant. After Nick turned down the offer of taking up the position of sergeant in London the pair ended up staying in Aidensfield. In Secrets, she unintentionally caused a chicken pox epidemic when she started a mother and baby group. A local girl was also pregnant and confided to Kate who the father was.

In End of the Line, the elderly Mr Milner was unwell and had to see Kate at the surgery, but also tried to get revenge on her husband, who had arrested his granddaughter who had stabbed her husband in self-defence and took her hostage so he could get back at Nick. In Bitter Harvest, Nick found himself investigating foot and mouth disease after local farmer Reg Manston noticed his cows looked very ill, asked Nick to visit him. Vet Martin Thomas performed the test on the herd and sent the test to the ministry of Agriculture for confirmation of the disease. Nick had to guard the farm entrance so it meant that no-one could enter or leave the farm. This meant the whole area of Aidensfield was affected and no social events could be held, to the annoyance of George Ward, whose bar was empty of customers. Kate and Nick also met Gina Ward, George's niece, in that episode. Elsewhere, another farmer Sam Carver broke the disease regulations, and transported his dead infected sheep to another area and Kate visited Carver's who feared her children had the human equivalent of the same disease. In Over the Hill Kate was blamed by the widow of Tom Sandford, because their son may have to be taken into care.

In Bang to Rights, Kate and Nick found themselves minding three children after Rosie, the wife of local villain Terry woods Tinniswood, took a pill or two in an attempt to commit suicide. Following recovery Rosie told Nick that her husband was in jail for a crime that he didn't commit, and that he was fitted up by Nick's predecessor. In Baby Blues, Kate was treating a woman who was driven to despair because she couldn't have children. A baby belonging to the Doubledays went missing and the mother suspected her mother-in-law of kidnapping, but Kate suspected that her patient was behind it. In Missing, two children went missing but returned unharmed, and Kate discovered they had a mysterious friend, who happened to be a local man whose wife and child died in an accident. In Riders of the Storm, Kate found herself trapped in the snow when she was called out by a man whose partner was about to give birth and was also the ex-wife of convict Stevie Walsh. The whole of Aidensfield was cut off in a snowstorm and unreachable. In Going Home, Kate was shocked by the death of Dr Alex Farrenby, who drowned while fishing. That same episode, Kate was treating Mr Lessor, a local landowner for diabetes. In the episode Endangered Species, Kate met David Stockwell, who took a badger to her in the hope that she could nurse it back to health. David's mother was also injured in a hit and run and she and Nick had to get her to hospital. In An American and In Aidensfield, Kate had to move her surgery to the Police House temporarily, where she was able to fix up Charlie, an American motor cyclist. In Bringing it All Back Home, Inspector Crossley from Whitby wasn't happy about the whole thing. Kate went out for a drink with Sally, an old friend who told her of a job in Whitby, but she wasn't interested. She was also responsible for bringing her in touch with Dr James Radcliffe, who offered her a job, but Nick was reluctant to leave Aidensfield. Nick and Kate also helped find a young girl on the beach find her father, who drowned. In Wild Thing, Kate started her new job with Dr Radcliffe, and had to put his receptionist Christine in her place when she has to start transferring patients from her place to his, meaning hers would be empty. One of Kate's patients was discovered to be a sheep rustler and suffered from a seizure caused by Sheep ticks.

In Witch Hunt, Kate suspected that the Salters were suffering from food poisoning. Kate later realised that it was from a poison that was in the paint they were stripping off the walls while redecorating their home. In Mid-Day Sun, Jim Swaby went to see Kate as he'd not been feeling very well and was suffering from a raging thirst. He also started experiencing violent convulsion when Nick visited him and where Kate and James treated him. His condition worsened and he then died. It was discovered that he had rabies and that he had been bitten by Jamie Halstood's dog Sam, who went missing, and was later shot by Greengrass. Nick then took Jamie to Kate where she gave him an injection.

In Turn of the Tide, Kate told Lisa Everett that she was pregnant yet her boyfriend Jake told her to get rid of it. Lisa wanted help from Kate getting rid of it but Kate refused to let her have an abortion, and decided to do it herself and ended up in hospital. In Love Child, Kate treated a woman called Sandie for a cut hand; Sandie then took a child from a nursery believing it to be hers that was stolen from her many years ago and Nick got natural mother's Sandra Eliot's home address and went to see her only to discover that she hasn't lived there since her parents disowned her for turning to crime when her child was taken away. Nick later discovered from Kate that Sandie was Sandra Eliot and had taken the wrong child. She and Nick had to search for Sandie and went to see her husband Vinnie. When they found her, Kate told her that the boy wasn't her son, and that he died soon after they parted. In Nice Girls Don't, Kate was annoyed when Inspector Murchison gave Gina a hard time in questioning due to the fact that she had been followed by someone who attempted to rape her. In Trouble in Mind, a man called Dennis Parker turned up in Aidensfield, when he collapsed in the Aidensfield Arms and George called Kate. Parker had walked out on his family with no explanation, and told Kate he couldn't remember the last seven years. Kate found his wife Helen, who arranged to meet him at the Police House, but Nick investigated when it appeared that he vanished after collecting the weekly payroll for his employers. Kate believed Parker was suffering from Amnesia.

In Fair Game Susannah Temple-Richards poisoned her husband Jack so she could run off with Jeremy, who worked on the estate when he died and she told Kate of her actions. Kate said there would be a post-mortem to see how Jack died. In Red Herring, Kate was called out when a Russian ship's captain died after being in a fight with one of the crewman but discovered that he just had a head injury. In Arms and the Man, Kate found out she was pregnant and told James but not Nick. She and Nick argued more and started drifting apart when Kate decided to spend more time in Whitby. That same episode a farmer, Mr Cooper ended up in hospital when his old army rifle exploded in his face when he and his farm helper, Morris were target practicing. Nick went to Cooper's farm to see why he had such a weapon in his possession. The Swinton boys came across some army ammunition and started experimenting with it. Nick went to see Cooper who protested that he was just trying the gun out. Nick assumed that Cooper had more illegal ammunition. Kate told Blaketon that young Billy Swinton had a bad burn on his arm from touching explosives. In Treading Carefully, Nick and Kate's relationship was really beginning to suffer and as a result it started affecting their professions. Kate had a heart to heart with James, who said that she had to tell Nick.

In Wishing Well, Nurse Maggie Bolton arrived to treat Kate in the final stages of pregnancy and discovered that she was anaemic and wasn't responding to the medical treatment very well. In Expectations, Kate eventually went into labour and gave birth to her and Nick's daughter Katie, who was going to be called Sarah. She also discovered that she had acute leukaemia and told Nick. She did, but while he was happy, she wasn't and just wanted to carry on working until they decided to make up and look forward to starting a family.

Kate's last episode was Thief in the Night, shortly after giving birth to Katie. Following her return home from hospital knowing that she didn't have long left to live she wanted to spend as much of it as possible with her newborn baby Sarah Rowan and her husband Nick. She hadn't told anyone in the village about her illness and neither had her husband told anyone. After hearing her husband be shouted at by Sergeant Blaketon who told Nick that he would face dismissal if he didn't pull his act together and get back to policing around Aidensfield. Not wanting to see her husband jeopardize his career working in the police she told Nick that he needed to tell everyone not just for his sake but for hers aswell. After the news spread about Kate's health Sergeant Blaketon gave Nick leave to look after Kate.

Eventually her health deteriorated to the state where she began to not think properly and believed that Alex Ferrenby was still alive (he had died three years previous). On that same night it was now becoming apparent that she didn't have much longer left as she was now begining to have trouble breathing in her sleep. Now barely alive when her husband Nick returned to bed she wasn't able give him one final kiss or even say goodnight to him. She died in the night leaving her husband Nick heartbroken. Her funeral was later held in the churchyard with all the people she knew attending, all of which being both heartbroken and upset over her passing.

Following Kate's death her husband Nick decided to rename their baby Sarah to become Katie Sarah Rowan in memory of her mother and his wife.

Personality and appearance[]

Kate was a friendly, always happy sort of a person. She belived strongly in morals and always made a good case for her arguments. She had good friendships with her colleagues Dr Ferrenby and James Radcliffe and laterly with the district nurse Maggie Bolton.


Kate was married to PC Nick Rowan, who was the village bobby of Aidensfield after they moved from London to Yorkshire. There they ended up having a daughter called Katie. Katie was originally going to be called Sarah but then Kate died of leukemia and was renamed Katie in her mother's memory by Nick. Kate had an aunt called Eileen Reynolds and had an uncle who was only mentioned once - it is presumed that Kate did not get on with him after she found him in bed with another woman.

Regular Vehicle(s)[]

Kate was most well known for driving a cactus green 1963 Triumph Herald as her daily drive, however she has been known to have driven or travelled in Nick's red 1936 MG TA on many occasions OR in Dr Ferrenby's car.


Aidensfield village " bobbies "

PC Nicholas " Nick " Rowan

Ashfordly Police sergeants

Sgt Oscar Blaketon

Other Ashfordly police

PC Alfred " Alf " Ventress

PC Philip " Phil " Montgomery Bellamy

Medical staff

Aidensfield doctors

Dr Alex Ferrenby

Other medical staff Nurse Maggie Bolton

Aidensfield Arms staff

George Ward

Georgina " Gina " Ward

Aidensfield Garage staff

From Nicholas Rhea's website

Niamh Cusack played Kate Rowan, PC Nick Rowan's wife, and the local GP, during the first five series of Heartbeat. As the wife of a police officer, and a medical practitioner in her own right, Kate Rowan played a pivotal part in Heartbeat, bringing together the two themes, medical and police, to which the title alludes. She captured the hearts of many viewers, and played a key part in the success the show. She can still be seen as part of Heartbeat by many viewers of the earlier series. But Kate Rowan is diagnosed with cancer, and she dies in what must have been one of the most captivating and emotional episodes of the entire series.

Niamh Cusack played the role of Kate - she comes from a strong acting dynasty. Her popularity with viewers created a need for a sensitive and careful transition to her 'successor', Jo Weston played by Juliette Gruber.

Read more about Niamh Cusack as Kate Rowan on Melissa's Heartbeat page.

Rhea about Kate Rowan:

"In my books, Constable Nick's wife is called Mary and she has four small children - and she was not a doctor! Kate, the doctor wife of PC Rowan, was introduced for TV dramatic purposes and there is no doubt that Niamh Cusack created a very realistic and endearing young doctor. There was a definite magic between her and Nick, both on screen and off and I was sorry when she had to leave."


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