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This article is about the series. For the fictional street and main setting of the soap, see Emmerdale (village).
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Emmerdale title caption.

Emmerdale, known as Emmerdale Farm until 1989, is a popular and critically acclaimed long-running British soap opera that has been broadcast on ITV since 1972. It is set in the fictional village of Emmerdale (known as Beckindale until 1994) in the Yorkshire Dales, England and was created by Kevin Laffan with a former series producer, Steve November, serving as Executive Producer from January 2009, succeeding Keith Richardson, who had overseen the soap for 24 years.

The series is produced by ITV Studios in Yorkshire and broadcast on the ITV network and was first broadcast on 16 October 1972. It was originally conceived and broadcast as a daytime programme in an afternoon slot, becoming an early evening programme in 1978 in most ITV regions, but excluding London and Anglia, both of which followed in the mid-1980s. Until Christmas 1988, Emmerdale took seasonal breaks; since then it has been broadcast year-round.

Emmerdale is shown every weekday at 7pm with an extra Thursday episode being aired at 8pm (beginning 23 July 2009). Episodes are first broadcast on ITV1. Every episode lasts around 30 minutes (including commercials); without adverts the total time of footage averages to around 22 minutes per episode. Repeat episodes and the omnibus of the show can be seen on ITV2.


The basic premise of Emmerdale Farm was very similar to the BBC radio soap opera The Archers – focusing on a family, a farm and characters in a nearby village.

The farmyard filming techniques of Emmerdale Farm were originally modelled on the revolutionary soap-opera The Riordans, made by RTÉ, Ireland's broadcaster, from the mid-1960s to the end of the 1970s. The Riordans broke new ground for soap operas by being filmed largely out of doors (on a farm owned in the storyline by Tom and Mary Riordan) rather than the usual practice of British and American soap operas, of shooting almost completely in studios (where 'outdoor' scenes were sometimes filmed indoors). The Riordans pioneered farmyard location shooting with real farm animals and actors driving tractors. In the 1960s and 1970s, outdoor filming of television programmes using OBUs (Outdoor Broadcast Units) was in its infancy due to the far higher costs involved and the reliance on things like the weather that were out of the control of the programme makers.

The success of The Riordans showed that a soap opera could be filmed largely out of doors. Yorkshire Television sent people to The Riordans set in County Meath, Ireland to see the making of the programme at first hand.

Series backstoryEdit

The Miffield estate was the biggest employer in the village of Beckindale – situated 39 miles (63 km) from Bradford and Template:Convert from Leeds. Lord Miffield gave the lease of Emmerdale Farm on the edge of the village to the Sugden family in the 1850s out of gratitude after Josh Sugden sacrificed his life for the Earl's son in the Crimean War.

Josh's grandson Joseph married Margaret Oldroyd and they had a son Jacob in January 1916. In the 1930s, the young Jacob Sugden supposedly purchased Emmerdale Farm for his family. In 1945 he married Annie Pearson – daughter of farm labourer Sam Pearson. Margaret Sugden died in 1963 and Joseph Sugden died in 1964.

Jacob Sugden had run the farm into the ground as he had drunk away most of the profits, leaving it in a sorry state. It was badly maintained and the future of the farm looked bleak at the time of Jacob's death on 10 October 1972.

Jacob left a wife Annie and three grown children, two sons, Jack (the eldest) and Joe (the youngest of the three) and daughter Peggy. These characters would form the basis of the series Emmerdale Farm.

Series overviewEdit

Initially the show focused on the farm and the Sugden family who lived on and ran it. As time went on, the show's focus moved to the nearby village of Beckindale. To reflect this change, the show's title was changed on 14 November 1989 to Emmerdale. Coinciding with the show's 1989 title change was the introduction of the Tate family. These changes, and the introduction of more exciting storylines and dramatic episodes such as Pat Sugden's 1986 car crash and the 1988 Crossgill fire, gradually began to improve the soap's popularity and were overseen by the new executive producer, Keith Richardson, who was in charge of the programme for 24 years, during which time he oversaw its transformation from a minor, daytime, rural drama, into one of the UK's most major soaps.[1]

On 30 December 1993 Emmerdale attracted its highest ever audience of over 18 million when a plane crashed into the village, killing four villagers. Until this storyline, Emmerdale was largely ignored by press and viewers alike, except for a loyal fan-base, in the face of the better-known soaps in Coronation Street and EastEnders. The plane crash drastically improved the show's popularity, enticing new viewers and has consequently kept the show as one of the most watched soap operas on British television.

Emmerdale continued to have dramatic storylines for the rest of the 90s, and new long-term characters, such as the Dingle family, were introduced. The Tates emerged as the soap's leading family in the 1990s, overshadowing the Sugdens. After their arrival, the Tate family remained in Home Farm for 16 years, albeit with the size of the family decreasing over time as members left or were killed off, with the last, Zoe, leaving in 2005.

The early 2000s had seen exciting episodes such as the storm (a storyline that occurred 10 years after the plane crash one and was of a similar kind, although not as major) and the introduction of several new characters, namely Cain and Charity Dingle, who both later left before returning to the soap in 2009. 2009 was an important year for Emmerdale as it was the introduction of Gavin Blythe as series producer, Keith Richardson and fellow long-serving production team member, Timothy J. Fee retiring from the soap and the programme's longest-serving character, Jack Sugden, dying off-screen due to the actor who had played him since 1980, Clive Hornby dying the previous year. The episode of Jack's funeral was dedicated to Hornby and mirrored the first episode in 1972, with Sheila Mercier and Karl Davies reprising their roles for it. In the same year, Blyth introduced the new Barton and Sharma families, as well as other new characters and axed existing ones, as well as coming up with new storyline ideas and providing a direction for the show, in the same manner as previous series producers who typically serve terms of a few years, including Steve Frost who was in charge from 2001–2004 and returned as executive producer when Richardson left. Blyth's time as an Emmerdale producer, however, was cut short when he died, aged just 41, from cancer only a matter of weeks after it had been diagnosed, in November 2010. At the start of 2010, after about a year in Emmerdale, the Wylde family's story peaked and the family members began to be written out of the show, beginning with Mark whilst Masie and Will were to remain another year, being the final Wyldes to go. The drama continued for the family throughout the year however, especially for Nathan and Natasha. Another big storyline for 2010 was Aaron Livesy's tortured emotional coming out story and subsequent relationship with the new character of Jackson Walsh, who now lives in the village with his mother (played by Pauline Quirke). However, tragedy struck in the summer when Jackson's vehicle collided with a train, following a row he had with Aaron. This accident left him paralysed from the neck down. In spring 2010, Declan Macey arrived in the village as a wealthy business-man friend of the Sharmas and bought into Home Farm. Later on, he was joined by members of his family and by the end of 2010, the Macey family were established as the new rich Home Farm family, replacing the departing Wyldes who in turn had taken over ownership of Home Farm from the Kings who occupied the house from Zoe Tate's departure, until they got into financial difficulties at the end of 2008. The Maceys are set to herald a new era in the soap and were introduced by Gavin Blyth before he died.

Pauline Quirke's run in the show as Hazel Rhodes was extended for at least a further 12 months from December 2010 by the executive producer. Two long serving characters, Viv Hope (played by Deena Payne) and Terry Woods (played by Billy Hartman) were killed off in January 2011, when a fire started by DS Henshall ripped through the village of Emmerdale. There were some complaints, including from Payne herself, that not enough attention was focused, in the two dramatic fire episodes, on the exit of the characters. Viv's demise paved the way for her stepdaughter, Kelly Windsor, to return. There are also several new characters set to arrive in the coming months.

In October 2015 it was annouced that the show will get rebooted by DHX Media and ITV Studios in 2016

The following three sections highlight the major disasters, exits, and other episodes with high viewing figures.

Main article: Major Storylines of Emmerdale


Emmerdale is extremely well known for the number of disasters it has featured over the years. The most notable disasters are listed below.

  • 1973 - Sharon Crossthwaite is raped and strangled to death by Jim Latimer. Jack Sugden discovers the awful truth after arriving home to find Jim trying to strangle Penny Golightly, after which Jim reluctantly confesses to the murder of Sharon.
  • 1973 - Jack Sugden's lodger Ian 'Trash' McIntyre commits suicide by throwing himself out of a first floor window at The Old Mill and falling to the ground, breaking his neck.
  • 1976: Matt Skilbeck's twin children, Sam and Sally, and his aunt Beattie Dowton are killed in an accident at a level crossing.
  • 1977 - A fire breaks out at Emmerdale Farm and the Beckindale Volunteer Fire Service in manfully fighting the blaze. During the fire fighting, one of the members of the team is burned.
  • 1978 - An explosion at a mine traps vicar's son Clive Hinton and his two friends Ian and Rod. Clive and Rod are found unconscious and Ian escapes with cuts and bruises.
  • 1978 - Teenagers Steve Hawker and Pip Coulter commit armed robbery at The Woolpack and leave Amos Brearly and Henry Wilks locked in the cellar. The two teenagers then head for Emmerdale Farm where they hold Sam Pearson at gunpoint. To avoid further threats, Annie Sugden provides the two with a getaway car.
  • 1981 - Bible-bashing farmer Enoch Tolly is killed in a tractor accident.
  • 1985 - Jackie Merrick is knocked off his motorbike by Alan Turner's land rover and spends 5 months in hospital with broken bones.
  • 1986 – Pat Sugden died when she crashed her car down a hill after swerving to avoid a flock of sheep.
  • 1988 – Phil Pearce carelessly leaves discarded rags at Crossgill Farm, which catch fire whilst Annie Sugden is trapped inside.
  • 1989 - Crooked quarryman Dennis Rigg is crushed to death by Joe Sugden's prize bull whilst threatening the Sugdens with eviction.
  • 1989 - Jackie Merrick accidentally shoots himself whilst out hunting a fox for a £10 bet.
  • 1990 - Kate Sugden accidentally knocks down and kills Pete Whiteley whilst driving home from Hotten.
  • 1993/1994 – A Plane crashes in Emmerdale, leaving most of the village in ruins and killing Archie Brooks, Elizabeth Pollard, Mark Hughes and Leonard Kempinski.
  • 1994 – Shirley Turner is shot dead in the aftermath of the Home Farm raid by Reg Dawson, the ex-husband of Viv Windsor.
  • 1995 – Luke McAllister died after his car crashed into a tree and exploded into flames.
  • 1996 – Dave Glover died in a fire at Home Farm after attending the wedding of Biff Fowler to his sister Linda Glover.
  • 1997 – At the engagement party of Steve Marchant and Kim Tate, Lord Alex Oakwell took Linda Fowler for a late-night drive and crashed while trying to snort cocaine. He removed Linda from the passenger seat as she was starting to wake up and moved her to the drivers seat and fled the scene of the accident, leaving Linda to die.
  • 1999 – Graham Clark threw Rachel Hughes off a cliff, killing her.
  • 2000 – A van and minibus collide in the village. Van driver Pete Collins dies at the scene; minibus passenger Butch Dingle dies in hospital from his injuries the next day.
  • 2000 – Long-serving character Sarah Sugden died in a barn fire that was started deliberately by her adopted son Andy. Sarah's lover Richie Carter was also trapped in the barn but was rescued by Sarah's husband Jack.
  • 2001 – Jean Strickland, the local school headmistress was struck and killed by a stolen car driven by student Marc Reynolds on his way home from a night out with friends.
  • 2003/2004 – A large storm hit Emmerdale, leaving parts of the village in ruins with collapsed power lines and trees. The Woolpack was damaged by its chimney collapsing through the roof into the bar area and also out the front, crushing Tricia Dingle and resulting in her dying in hospital a few days later; Ashley Thomas and Louise Appleton became stuck on the road as a result of the terrible weather. The disaster took place on the 10th anniversary of the plane crash.
  • 2005 – Max King died instantly when the Land Rover he was in went off the road and through a brick wall and exploded, although driver Robert Sugden escaped the car unharmed and gave a false story about the accident to avoid being arrested; and the police believed his version of events, as there were no witnesses to contradict his story.
  • 2006 – Kings River showhome collapsed after several explosions caused by a gas leak. The accident claimed three lives: Noreen Bell and estate agent David Brown were killed in the explosion and Dawn Woods later died in hospital from internal injuries.
  • 2006 – Tom King was murdered on Christmas Day when his son Carl hit him over the head with a horse statue and pushed him out of a window.
  • 2007 – DCI Grace Barraclough was killed instantly when she was run over by a lorry while on the way to the police station to report Carl for killing his father, Tom King.
  • 2007 – Victoria Sugden threatened her father Jack and adoptive brother Andy in their home that if they didn't confess to who killed her mum Sarah then she would set alight the family home with them all trapped inside. After they calmed her down, the fuel ignited accidentally when the boiler started up and set the house on fire. The house was gutted but the family survived.
  • 2008 – Matthew King was killed after he crashed a van into a wall after trying to run over his brother Carl. The brothers had been brawling viciously inside Home Farm previous to this, as Carl had ruined Matthew's wedding to Anna De Souza earlier that day.
  • 2010 – Aaron Livesy's dog Clyde was attacked by thug Mickey Hall's dog and was later euthanised by Paddy because of the injuries Mickey's dog caused.
  • 2010 – Aaron Livesy and Jackson Walsh have a night out together along with Paddy Kirk and Marlon Dingle, the night concludes with Jackson crashing his van onto a railway line and being hit by a goods train, leaving him paralysed from the neck down.
  • 2011 – Fire started by Nick Henshall rips through the village killing Terry Woods and Viv Hope.

Memorable exitsEdit

Emmerdale is famous for its hugely dramatic exit storylines. These characters have made some of the most famous, memorable exits from Emmerdale,

  • Kim Tate – Kim and her husband Steve Marchant stole a horse, intent on selling it as they had cashflow problems. As they were driving away from the scene, Steve ran over Kathy Glover. While in hospital, Kim convinced Kathy that Steve had not stopped his vehicle when he had hit her, in order to make her husband seem to be the villain – even though she helped to plan the theft of the horse. On the day of trial in January 1999 with the lawyers questioning Kathy's validity as a witness for Steve's hit-and-run crime, Kathy questioned how true Kim's words had been. For this and numerous other crooked tricks, the police were soon on her trail. She confronted Chris Tate to get money as a means of escape and knocked him out savagely with a paperweight when he would not comply. She left with her son James in a helicopter never to be seen again. The pilot asked her if she was Kim Marchant and with her final words on the soap she replied, "No, it's Kim Tate".
  • Sarah Sugden – Sarah was married to Jack Sugden but had been having an affair with their lodger Richie Carter. Having fallen in love with Richie, Sarah told Jack that their marriage was over and that she was in love with Richie. Jack kicked Sarah out of the farm on which they lived and told her she was never going to see her three children Robert, Andy and Victoria again. Jack was also in serious debt and Andy overheard him saying that it would be good if something caught fire so they could claim on the insurance. After hearing this, Andy went out with a lighter and box of matches and set the barn on fire but was unaware that his adopted mother Sarah was inside with Richie ending their relationship. Richie got out alive but Sarah was trapped inside the barn when it exploded and was killed.
  • Tricia Dingle – After discovering that her husband Marlon Dingle had a drunken one night stand with his cousin Charity Tate whilst she had been in India, Tricia left Marlon and intended to leave Emmerdale. She was planning to leave on New Year's Eve 2003, the same night as the Emmerdale storm. Upon leaving, Diane Sugden gave Tricia a letter that Marlon had asked her to give to Tricia, it was a list of 101 reasons why Marlon loved her. After spending hours in the phone box, sheltering from the horrific weather, trying to get a taxi sent to the village, she decided to give Marlon another chance and returned to the Woolpack to see him. Upon reaching the Woolpack, lightning struck a tree making Tricia trip and a second bolt struck the roof of the Woolpack, making it collapse onto a helpless Tricia. She was found under the rubble by Diane and Marlon and taken to hospital in a helicopter. She was put on a life support machine until Marlon finally decided to let her go after realising that there was no hope of her recovering. She died on 8 January 2004.
  • Charity Tate – After Sadie King tricked Tom King into believing Charity was having an affair with Cain Dingle, Tom called off his and Charity's wedding. Despite discovering the lie, Tom was unable to convince Charity that they should reconcile. Charity wanted revenge for what Sadie had done, which she got by sleeping with Jimmy King. She made him realise what Sadie was like and filmed them together. She got him to confess that Sadie set her up. She went to visit Tom, taking the tape with her and played it to him and his family. Sadie went for Charity so Charity punched her and said an emotional goodbye to her daughter Debbie Dingle and left, despite an emotional plea from Tom. Charity returned in 2009 with a son, Noah.
  • Zoe Tate – Zoe was standing trial for the attempted murder of Scott Windsor but was found not guilty after it transpired that Scott had threatened witness Paddy Kirk. After Sadie King blackmailed her into selling her Home Farm, she took revenge by blowing up the house. In her final scene, she waited in a car in front of the house, waiting for the explosion, then drove off and out of the soap.
  • Cain Dingle and Sadie King – The couple kidnapped Tom King, with Sadie pretending to have been double-crossed by Cain. The story took a number of twists and turns with Cain's car going over into a quarry, although it was later discovered to be empty and Cain shooting Sadie, although it was later discovered that this was faked too. As they prepared to escape by plane, Cain betrayed Sadie leaving her at the airfield and flew off over the village. .
  • Tom King – Tom was murdered by his son Carl on his wedding night to Rosemary Sinclair. After a confrontation between father and son, Tom lost his balance and fell through a first floor window to his death on the driveway of Home Farm in front of his horrified wedding guests. His death sparked a long running investigation into catching his killer.
  • Matthew King - After a disastrous wedding day to Anna De Souza, Matthew drove a van straight towards his brother Carl King but swerved when Carl jumped out of the way meaning that Anna was in the firring line, Matthew hit a brick wall and went through the windscreen. He died minutes afterwards, just outside of the entrance to Home Farm, while Carl, his other brother Jimmy King and Katie Sugden watched on as Anna cradled his dead body in her arms. The next day the Kings were thrown out of Home Farm. This resulted in Mark Wylde becoming the new owner of Home Farm along with all of their other properties in the village.
  • Mark Wylde – After a year in the show, the secrets and lies of Mark were finally exposed. His first wife, Faye Lamb, whom he never officially divorced had his only legitimate child, Ryan. In turn Ryan was unknowingly starting a relationship with his half sister, Maisie, Mark's daughter from his second wife Natasha. Because of Mark's bigamy, Natasha's subsequent marriage with Mark was void and Natasha's three children, Maisie, Nathan and Will were all legally illegitimate. During the episode which was broadcast on 14 January 2010, Mark considers suicide in the woods of Home Farm. However he is relieved of the shotgun by Natasha. Mark's subsequent words push Natasha over the edge and she appears to shoot Mark with the shotgun. The shooting was memorably accompanied by Gabriel Fauré's In Paradisum from his Requiem taken from New College Choir's album Agnus Dei.[2]
  • Viv Hope - When DC Nick Henshall started a fire on the row of cottages in Emmerdale, the shop and cafe went up in flames. Viv was killed in the explosion that wrecked the shop.
  • Terry Woods - Terry was also killed in the explosion that wrecked the shop and cafe whilst trying to save Viv Hope who also perished.
  • Chrissie White - When Robert Sugden kidnapped her nephew Seb she and her family pursued him in a car chase to get the baby back, but her son Lachlan who was upset that he wouldn't be able to see his girlfriend when they moved to Australia so in a fit of rage he grabbed the car wheel and sent them in the path of a lorry, Lachlan and Rebecca survived, Lawrence died immediately and Chrissie died shortly afterwards.

Viewing FiguresEdit

The show is one of the most watched programmes on British television. An average Emmerdale episode generally attracts 8.5million viewers and it presently lies third in popularity behind the other two major soaps Coronation Street and EastEnders. However, notable episodes and storylines have seen the viewing figures soar:

  • On 30 December 1993 Emmerdale attracted its highest ever audience of 18 million when a plane crashed into the village killing four villagers. The aftermath of the plane crash on 5 January 1994 attracted 16 million viewers. The storyline brought Emmerdale into the public eye and consequently kept the show as one of the most watched soaps on British television
  • On 27 May 1997 Emmerdale attracted over 13 million viewers when Frank Tate died of a heart attack, after his wife, Kim Tate, returned after faking her own death months before.
  • On 20 October 1998 Emmerdale attracted 12.5 million viewers when the Woolpack exploded after being burnt down with fireworks.
  • On 1 January 2004 Emmerdale attracted 11.19 million viewers when the village was hit by a storm, which caused the Woolpack roof to collapse after it was struck by lightning, which then collapsed onto Tricia Dingle, who died from her injuries in hospital. One of the soap's most famous storylines, it gave the show a huge ratings boost and the storyline went down in Emmerdale history. The year to come would see the show gain an even higher profile.
  • On 22 September 2006, 8.57 million viewers watched the exit of Cain Dingle after more than six years in the soap.
  • On Thursday 14 January 2010, Emmerdale hit their highest ratings since March 2006. 9.96 million viewers watched during the much-awaited Murder of Mark Wylde when he was shot by Natasha Wylde after a week-long online "Whodunnit?".

Numerous other hour long episodes that have clashed with rival soap EastEnders have won in the battle for viewing figures. Over the past few years the village soap has gone head to head with BBC's EastEnders on numerous occasions and has emerged on top many times, establishing itself as a serious contender for the second most popular British soap opera. Some notable examples include:

  • 18 May 2004, when Jack Sugden was shot by his adopted son Andy Sugden. Emmerdale attracted 8.27 million viewers, whilst EastEnders received 7.32 million viewers.
  • 21 September 2004, when Diane Blackstock and Jack Sugden got married. Emmerdale attracted 8.72 million viewers, whilst EastEnders received 6.83 million viewers.
  • 4 January 2005, when Sadie King sabotaged the wedding of Tom King and Charity Dingle. Emmerdale attracted 9.89 million viewers, whilst EastEnders received 7.53 million viewers.
  • 1 March 2005, when Charity Dingle left the soap after five years. Emmerdale was watched by 10.08 million viewers, whilst EastEnders was watched by 7.21 million viewers.
  • 17 March 2005, when Shelly Williams fell overboard from the Isle of Arran ferry off the west coast of Scotland during a confrontation with Steph Stokes. Emmerdale was watched by 9.39 million viewers, whilst EastEnders was watched by 6.96 million viewers.
  • 22 September 2005, when long standing popular character Zoe Tate left the soap after 16 years and made a dramatic exit which saw her blow up Home Farm, which she been conned into selling to the King family. Emmerdale was watched by 8.58 million viewers, whilst EastEnders was watched by 6.76 million viewers for the funeral of Den Watts.
  • 13 July 2006, The Kings River house collapse. Emmerdale won in the ratings battle, attracting 6.90 million viewers, whilst EastEnders was watched by 4.11 million viewers, its lowest ever.
  • 21 September 2006, when Cain Dingle kidnapped Tom and Sadie King. Emmerdale won in the ratings battle, attracting 8.57 million viewers, whilst EastEnders had 4.77 million viewers.
  • 1 February 2007, when Billy Hopwood with Victoria Sugden crashed his truck into a lake. Emmerdale won here too, surprisingly since the EastEnders episode involved an important storyline involving two of its most high profile characters, Martin and Sonia Fowler, leaving. Emmerdale attracted 8.15 million viewers with EastEnders gaining 6.70 million viewers.
  • 17 May 2007, when the Who Killed Tom King? plot came to a close when the murderer was revealed. Emmerdale gained 8.92 million viewers, which peaked to 9.1 million when Tom's son Carl confessed to the murder between 19:00 and 20:00. EastEnders had 4.29 million between 19.30 and 20:00.
  • 16 October 2007, when Annie's Cottage was blown up by Victoria Sugden. Emmerdale was watched by 8.12 million viewers, whilst EastEnders was watched by 6.59 million viewers.
  • 27 January 2009, when Debbie Dingle was arrested for the murder of Shane Doyle. Emmerdale attracted 7.39 million viewers, whilst EastEnders attracted 6.36 million viewers.
  • 7 January 2010, when Sally Spode tried to kiss Ashley Thomas Emmerdale topped the 9 million mark and got 9.47 million viewers.
  • 22 July 2010, when Charlie mysteriously disappeared Emmerdale topped the 7 million mark and got 7.39 million viewers.
  • 6 September 2010, Emmerdale rose 700k week-on-week, as 7.54 million viewers tuned in for David's wild accusations about Leyla.
  • 6 October 2010, Emmerdale have a massive audience of 7.94 million viewers, this was the big Train Crash stunt which involved Jackson Walsh and Aaron Livesy, and left Jackson critically injured.
  • 28 and 29 October 2010, Emmerdale over 7 million viewers to watch the culmination of the Ryan Lamb's murder trial, despite his innocence. The following night (30 October 2010) an audience of nearly 8 million tuned in for Natasha Wylde's dramatic confession to the crime after her daughter Maisie pushed for the truth from kidnapped Nathan.

Filming locationsEdit

Location shooting originally occurred in the village of Arncliffe in Littondale, one of the less frequented valleys of the Yorkshire Dales. In exterior shots the village's hotel, The Falcon was used to represent the fictional Woolpack Inn. Eventually the location of the shooting location became publicly known, which is perhaps what prompted the move to the village of Esholt in 1976, where it stayed for the next 22 years. This location also became a tourist attraction and the village pub (previously 'the Commercial Hotel') has retained the adopted name of The Woolpack Inn.

The original Emmerdale Farm buildings are near the village of Leathley. Creskeld Hall (Home Farm) is one of the few original filming locations used in the entire run of the series and has been involved in many storylines.

Since 1998 a purpose-built set on the Harewood estate in Leeds has been used (building on the Harewood estate started in 1996). The first scenes shot in the purpose-built set on the Harewood Estate were broadcast on 17 February 1998 from the front of the Woolpack (although some scenes were shot there from 1997). The Harewood set is a replica of Esholt with a few minor alterations.

The houses in the new village at Harewood are timber framed structures covered in stone cladding. The village is built on green belt land so all the buildings are classed as "temporary structures" and must be demolished within ten years unless new planning permission is given. There is no plan to demolish the set and new planning has now been drawn up. The new village included a church and a churchyard full of gravestones some of them for the characters who have died in the serial.

The site incorporates a 1500 ft grass airstrip, and a Cessna 172 is hangared in the farm at the entrance. The aircraft, in an open barn, is visible from Eccup Lane.

Butlers Farm is really Brookland Farm, a working farm located in the nearby village of Eccup. Brookland Farm is where all the external farmyard and building shots are filmed with the internal house shots being filmed in the studio.

Much location footage is carried out in other areas of the City of Leeds, West Yorkshire such as the fictional market town of Hotten which is actually shot in Otley, a market town on the outskirts of Leeds. The Benton Park School in the Rawdon area of the city and the primary school in Farnley were also used as shooting locations. Indoor scenes are mostly filmed at Yorkshire Television's 'Emmerdale Production Centre' on Kirkstall Road, Leeds (located next to the main Yorkshire Television's Leeds Studios).

As of 28 March 2011, new studio facilities (which are HD capable) in the ITV Studios building on Kirkstall Road are being used for most of the interior scenes, the old facility on Burley Road will be vacated and offered for sale in due course.


When Emmerdale was first broadcast in 1972, it was twice a week in an afternoon slot. It later moved to a 19:00 slot and the number of episodes has steadily increased, with there now being six half-hour episodes each week. Emmerdale is filmed roughly between 4–6 weeks before it is first broadcast on ITV1.

Broadcast schedule historyEdit

Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Number of
Weekly Episodes
1972–1988 2
1988–1990 2
1990–1997 2
1997–2000 3
2000–2004 5
2004–2008 6
2008–2009 4 + 1 hour long on Tuesdays
2009–Present 6



VisionTV started showing Emmerdale on 20 September 2010, immediately after Eastenders at 9:30 p.m. Eastern time. Episodes are broadcast approximately five months after airing in the UK. Emmerdale had formerly been shown on CBC Television, but that ended many years ago. When shown on CBC Television, Canadian episodes were four years behind the UK story.


Emmerdale reaches viewers in the Republic of Ireland via both the widely available UTV from Northern Ireland and the TV3 Television Network in the Republic of Ireland. UTV and TV3 screen Emmerdale simultaneously in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. Emmerdale was broadcast as a Daytime soap on RTÉ One from 1972 to 2001 before moving to TV3, RTÉ were a number of months behind – since for many years they choose to broadcast five days a week rather than ITV's three days a week and RTÉ took a break during the summer months, however as the series began a five night week RTÉ got further and further behind ITVs broadcasts. The gap between RTÉ One's last episode and TV3's first episode was about three months.


Emmerdale has been shown in Sweden since the 1970s – originally on TV2 and since 1994 on commercial channel TV4. Under the title Hem till gården ("Home to the Farm"), the programme is broadcast twice a day (as of May 2008, previously only once a day) on Monday to Friday 11:55–12:55. The episodes currently being screened (April 2011) date from February 2009. Older episodes (from October 2006 in April 2011) are shown on TV4 Guld.


The programme is shown in Finland on commercial channel MTV3, where it goes out at 18:00 to 18:30, and 18:30 to 19:00 Mondays to Fridays with a repeat of each episode at 11:00 and 11:25 on the following weekday. The episodes currently being screened (May 2011) date from November 2008.

New ZealandEdit

Emmerdale is shown in New Zealand on TV One from Monday to Friday at 12:00 to 12:30, +1 from 13:00 to 13:30, and are accessible on TVNZ On Demand for 2 weeks after airing. As at August 2017, TV One episodes are from June.


Emmerdale was shown in Australia for the first time in July 2006 when subscription television channel UKTV began airing the 2006 series from episode 4288. In 2006 UKTV were showing episodes 4 months behind UK transmission, but as UKTV only airs 5 episodes a week instead of 6 (as broadcast in UK) they are now over 9 months behind. As at September 2010, UKTV episodes are from December 2009. Emmerdale is also broadcast on 7Two weekdays at 10:30, airing episodes from 2003.


On 2 February 2007 it was announced that Emmerdale would be broadcast on the Romania] free-to-air channel Pro TV. The station has bought 50 episodes of the soap dating back to 2000.


  • Satellite channel Granada TV is currently showing the programme in the Middle East, Cyprus, and Malta
  • Members of the British Forces and their families can watch Emmerdale on BFBS TV1, which is also available free-to-air in the Falkland Islands

Opening, End of Part Stingers and Closing CreditsEdit

1972-1974 (OVER THE DALES)

The original titles were on film and featured a slow panning shot of the Yorkshire dales, before slowly zooming in on Beckindale village/Arncliffe and then a shot moving from a sunset through some tress to the farmhouse. The title caption zoomed out to the camera as the camera focused on Beckindale. Kevin Laffin's name appeared on the farmhouse shot.The end of part stinger just played over the final moments of a particular scene. A much shorter version of the opening theme was used as the stinger music. The closing credits were on captions and the film underneath was the view from a helicopter of the Dales passing by Arncliffe. The theme, written by Tony Hatch, was performed on the cor anglais with piano and strings accompaniment.

1974-1975 (OVER THE DALES MARK 2)

The opening titles changed for the 1974 episodes to an aerial panning shot of Arncliffe and a different view of the farmhouse and the font was changed to a bold yellow one. The end of part screen was black with Emmerdale Farm in the new font. The end credits remained the same but with the different font.


The farmhouse in sunset credits lasted the longest and were introduced in 1975, and continued to be used until November 1989 when the programme's title was shortened to Emmerdale. This title sequence brought a new look to the programme. The producer had decided to go away from the helicopter view of Beckindale. This time shots included views with the sunset in the background and shots of animals in the sunset. Somthing that hadnt changed was the farmhouse shot. This time though a new shot of the Farmhouse as the sun hides behind the house. Also the music was given a slight revamp. But this is hardly noticable. The end of part screen was black with Emmerdale Farm in yellow lettering.


This was replaced with a montage of images, shot around Esholt, of various activities such as someone hang-gliding, a Land Rover fording a stream, an oil tanker going over a bridge and someone out horse-riding at Home Farm, the credits rolled over a static shot of the farmhouse. For the end of parts only the music changed. The end of part screen was black with Emmerdale End of Part One over the top.


Their was no difference in the opening titles apart from the title. The font was given a tweak.


In September 1992 when the theme tune was changed. The opening credits used from September 1992 until December 1993 were similar but used superimposed images. The closing credits rolled over a static shot of some Yorkshire scenery. Initially, the credits were displayed on separate slides but, after several weeks, reverted to the all scrolling format used from 1989. The end of part captions were the same as the previous end of part stingers.


The opening titles changed again from the plane crash episode in December 1993. This sequence comprised shots from the 1989 introduced titles, 1992 introduced titles and some newly filmed shots. Unlike the previous titles, this new sequence did not feature superimposed images. It remained in use until November 1994 when another similar new sequence was introduced. From January 1994, the credits rolled over a static shot of Esholt/Emmerdale. This credit sequence is notable since the original "Emmerdale Farm" music was used for the closing credits, while the newer version remained in use for the opening and break bumpers. The exception to this was during the plane crash when the credits rolled over the destruction of the village and a slow piano theme was used. The end of part stinger's image was a shot of Emmerdale village

1994-1998 (EMMERDALE LIFE)

When the opening titles were updated again in November 1994 the new theme tune was used exclusively. Possibly being one of the most recognised opening titles this sequence introduced us to new shots of activitys. The font was given a more bolder look so it stood out more. The end of part stingers changed slighty with the font being updated. The end credits were also updated, Instead of the theme just fading in a short piano motif took us into the new side by side closing credits.

1998-2005 (FAMILIES)

In December 1998, the opening titles were replaced by another montage, this time of helicopter shots of the Yorkshire moors and farming areas. Superimposed were short scenes of actors (which were not members of the cast) performing the various emotions seen in a soap. The closing credits rolled over a continuous shot of Emmerdale, filmed from a helicopter flying away from the village. At the same time, in 1998, a new version of the theme tune was introduced. A grand orchestral theme was introduced over the titles, credits and break bumpers. From November 2004, a different version of the theme, played mainly on the piano, was used for the break bumpers only.

2005-2011 (OVER THE DALES)

In September 2005, the opening titles were replaced with another helicopter montage, this time marginally slower and without the actors. The closing credits were generic ITV Network style credits over a continuous shot of the village, again from a helicopter, but filmed from a different angle.

In 2009, the original theme played over the end credits of Jack Sugden's funeral episode.


The new titles have been given a complete revamp going away from the helicopter shots that had been in use since 1998. This time the sequence mirrors the 1989-1998 titles. Now features include: a Range Rover driving through the woods, a woman stroking a man's leg with her foot: a couple running upstairs in Home Farm, The Dingles Living room; then finally finishing on a new CGI image which ends with the new logo fading on to the screen.

The title music has been completely jazzed up but still has the homely feeling in it. The break bumpers have also had the music changed more akon to the Christmas 2006 break bumpers.

A new array of logos have been made for use in the break bumpers and the continues in half an hour bumper.

The new titles made a mixture of reviews, some not liking the new look and some saying they will get used to it. The same thing happened when EastEnders, Coronation Street and Hollyoaks updated their titles.

Theme tunesEdit


The original theme tune created by Tony Hatch was the longest ever to be used. For a number of episode in 1972 a longer version was used to open episodes but from 1973 a shorter version was used. In 1975 when the opening titles changed the piano motif was removed. In 1987, from November 26 to December 10th, An entirely piano piece was temporarily used. In 1989 when the word "farm" was dropped from the titles, the Emmerdale theme tune underwent a slight tweak. These changes were carried over until 1992.


When the series was revamped in 1992 the theme tune was updated. A more upbeat piano version was made and used for the opening and closing credits. When the titles changed again 1993 the original theme was used for the closing credits again. But when the titles changed in 1994 the new theme tune was used until the big change in 1998. Also in 1995 the piano motif returned to the end credits.


When the series was revamped for a second time the theme tune was re-recorded for a more orchestral sound. This was to coincide with the move from Esholt to Harewood. It was given a slight tweak in 2003. The end of part music was more akin to the 1972-1989 end of part music.


The theme tune was re-recorded to give a contemporary fresh look to the show. This version differs the most from the previous theme tunes as it wasn't recorded using live instruments. Instead a modern synthesiser was used to create the sounds needed.

Series producersEdit

See alsoEdit

External linksEdit

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