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This article is about the series. For the main setting of the soap, see Emmerdale (village).
New Emmerdale titles

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 1985, 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.

Series overviewEdit

Read more: Series Overview

The idea for Emmerdale Farm was pitched by Kevin Laffan to Granada in 1972. The idea was to have the show surround the Sugden family, who resided and normally worked on Emmerdale Farm. The village of Beckindale (and the show's title) was originally based off the village Ammerdale, but Granada disallowed the show to be named after a real place so Laffan changed the name slightly. The show was filmed in real villages, with interior scenes being filmed on sets in studios on Leeds. David Goddard was brought on as series producer and Peter Holmans was brought on as executive, whilst Kevin wrote the first twelve episodes of the series.

The show originally filmed its exterior scenes in the village of Arncliffe before moving to Esholt in 1976, then onto a purpose-built set on the Harewood estate in 1998. The interior scenes have mostly been filmed inside of studios in Leeds.

Memorable MomentsEdit

Read more: Events in Emmerdale

Emmerdale has had some of the biggest and most memorable events since 1972; a barn fire in October 1977, a mine explosion in March 1978, an armed robbery in May 1978, a huge deadly car accident in August 1986, a house explosion in May 1988, and most memorably of all, the plane crash of December 1993.

Viewing Figures & ScheduleEdit

Read more: Viewing Figures & Schedule

The show is one of the most watched programmes on British television. An average Emmerdale episode generally attracts 8.5million viewers and it regularly competes 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?".

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.

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

Titles and theme tunesEdit

Read more: Title sequence, Credit sequence & Break bumpers

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.

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. Something that hadn't 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 noticeable. The end of part screen was black with Emmerdale Farm in yellow lettering.

The 1989 title sequence 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.

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

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 slightly 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.

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.

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 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 10, 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.

See alsoEdit