1986 was Emmerdale's 15th year. Storylines included the birth of Robert Sugden shortly before the death of his mother Pat in a car accident, Joe Sugden's relationship with Karen Moore, Matt Skilbeck's arrest following the death of Harry Mowlam, the arrival of Dolly Skilbeck's illegitimate son, Graham Lodsworth, Seth Armstrong being left for dead following an attack by badger baiters and Sandie Merrick's affair with Phil Pearce. 100 episodes were broadcast this year.


Eric Pollard publicity shot 1986

Christopher Chittell joins the cast as Eric Pollard in September.

Michael Russell was appointed producer in the summer, taking over from Richard Handford with Episode 1080 (2nd September 1986). Following the decision to make changes to the programme in order to compete with the other soaps at prime time the previous year, 1986 was notable for its increase in dramatic stories.

Frazer Hines returned full time to the role of Joe Sugden in March. The character was paired with Karen Moore, whom brother Jack had begun an affair with two years previously. Their relationship wasn't to last however and ended when Annie Hulley left the serial in August. At the same time, Helen Weir bowed out after six years as Pat Sugden. In real life, Weir had married onscreen husband Clive Hornby in 1984 and upon giving birth to their son, Thomas, this year decided to quit the show in order to focus on motherhood full-time. The character was killed off in a dramatic car crash which would see Jack Sugden dealing with the consequences of his wife's death for the remainder of the year. For Pat's onscreen funeral, the decision was made to bring sister Janie back briefly for the first time since 1974. The character was now portrayed by Lesley Duff and had reverted back to her maiden name of 'Harker'.

In March, Al Dixon passed away after being taken ill with a stroke the previous September. Dixon's final episode as recurring Woolpack customer Walter had aired the previous December and the last time cast saw him was at the 1,000 episodes luncheon the previous November.

Additions to the cast for this year included Peter Alexander as Phil Pearce and Christopher Chittell as Eric Pollard. Initially, Chittell was only required to appear in a handful of episodes but found himself reappearing regularly in the show and eventually became a permanent cast member. To date, he is the longest serving actor still appearing in the show.

For the first time since 1977, Emmerdale Farm did not take a summer break and remained onscreen all year round.


# Ep.
Date Writer Director Viewing
11012Tuesday 7th JanuaryDavid AngusBob Hirdn/kn/k
21013Thursday 9th JanuaryDavid AngusBob Hirdn/kn/k
31014Tuesday 14th JanuaryAndrew HoldenBob Hirdn/kn/k
41015Thursday 16th JanuaryAndrew HoldenBob Hirdn/kn/k
51016Tuesday 21st JanuaryEric WendellBob Hirdn/kn/k
61017Thursday 23rd JanuaryEric WendellBob Hirdn/kn/k
71018Tuesday 28th JanuaryEric WendellBob Hirdn/kn/k
81019Thursday 30th JanuaryEric WendellBob Hirdn/kn/k
91020Tuesday 4th FebruaryEric WendellDarrol Blaken/kn/k
101021Thursday 6th FebruaryJim HawkinsDarrol Blaken/kn/k
111022Tuesday 11th FebruaryEric WendellDarrol Blaken/kn/k
121023Thursday 13th FebruaryTim VaughanDarrol Blaken/kn/k
131024Tuesday 18th FebruaryTim VaughanDarrol Blaken/kn/k
141025Thursday 20th FebruaryTim VaughanDarrol Blaken/kn/k
151026Tuesday 25th FebruaryDavid AngusRichard Handford13,750,0009
161027Thursday 27th FebruaryDavid AngusRichard Handfordn/kn/k
171028Tuesday 4th MarchDavid AngusRichard Handford13,500,00010
181029Thursday 6th MarchDavid AngusRichard Handfordn/kn/k
191030Tuesday 11th MarchEric WendallRichard Handfordn/kn/k
201031Thursday 13th MarchEric WendallRichard Handfordn/kn/k
211032Tuesday 18th MarchEric WendallRichard Handford12,900,000n/k
221033Thursday 20th MarchEric WendallRichard Handfordn/kn/k
231034Tuesday 25th MarchTim VaughanRichard Holthouse13,200,00015
241035Thursday 27th MarchTim VaughanRichard Holthousen/kn/k
251036Tuesday 1st AprilTim VaughanRichard Holthousen/kn/k
261037Thursday 3rd AprilTim VaughanRichard Holthousen/kn/k
271038Tuesday 8th AprilTim VaughanRichard Holthouse13,600,0009
281039Thursday 10th AprilTim VaughanRichard Holthousen/kn/k
291040Tuesday 15th AprilMichael RussellWilliam Slater12,600,00015
301041Thursday 17th AprilMichael RussellWilliam Slatern/kn/k
311042Tuesday 22nd AprilMichael RussellWilliam Slater11,500,00013
321043Thursday 24th AprilMichael RussellWilliam Slatern/kn/k
331044Tuesday 29th AprilAllan SwiftWilliam Slater11,200,00015
341045Thursday 1st MayAllan SwiftWilliam Slatern/kn/k
351046Tuesday 6th MayAllan SwiftWilliam Slater11,150,00013
361047Thursday 8th MayAllan SwiftWilliam Slater10,300,00019
371048Tuesday 13th MayRoy RussellRichard Standeven10,850,00013
381049Thursday 15th MayRoy RussellRichard Standevenn/kn/k
391050Tuesday 20th MayRoy RussellRichard Standevenn/kn/k
401051Thursday 22nd MayRoy RussellRichard Standevenn/kn/k
411052Tuesday 27th MayRoy RussellRichard Standevenn/kn/k
421053Thursday 29th MayRoy RussellRichard Standevenn/kn/k
431054Tuesday 3rd JuneSteve TraffordKeith Washington10,500,000n/k
441055Thursday 5th JuneSteve TraffordKeith Washingtonn/kn/k
451056Tuesday 10th JuneSteve TraffordKeith Washingtonn/kn/k
461057Thursday 12th JuneSteve TraffordKeith Washington11,500,0006
471058Tuesday 17th JuneSteve TraffordKeith Washingtonn/kn/k
481059Thursday 19th JuneSteve TraffordKeith Washingtonn/kn/k
491060Tuesday 24th JuneJack LewisMervyn Cummingn/kn/k
501061Thursday 26th JuneJack LewisMervyn Cummingn/kn/k
511062Tuesday 1st JulyDavid AngusMervyn Cummingn/kn/k
521063Thursday 3rd JulyDavid AngusMervyn Cummingn/kn/k
531064Tuesday 8th JulyDavid AngusMervyn Cumming10,150,00010
541065Thursday 10th JulyDavid AngusMervyn Cummingn/kn/k
551066Tuesday 15th JulyGinnie HoleVivienne Cozensn/kn/k
561067Thursday 17th JulyGinnie HoleVivienne Cozensn/kn/k
571068Tuesday 22nd JulyJack LewisVivienne Cozensn/kn/k
581069Thursday 24th JulyJack LewisVivienne Cozensn/kn/k
591070Tuesday 29th JulyJack LewisVivienne Cozensn/kn/k
601071Thursday 31st JulyJack LewisVivienne Cozensn/kn/k
611072Tuesday 5th AugustEric WendellRichard Handford10,650,0008
621073Thursday 7th AugustEric WendellRichard Handfordn/kn/k
631074Tuesday 12th AugustEric WendellRichard Handfordn/kn/k
641075Thursday 14th AugustEric WendellRichard Handfordn/kn/k
651076Tuesday 19th AugustEric WendellRichard Handford10,550,000n/k
661077Thursday 21st AugustEric WendellRichard Handfordn/kn/k
671078Tuesday 26th AugustEric WendellRichard Handford11,650,000n/k
681079Thursday 28th AugustEric WendellRichard Handfordn/kn/k
691080Tuesday 2nd SeptemberKen BlakesonBob Hirdn/kn/k
701081Thursday 4th SeptemberKen BlakesonBob Hirdn/kn/k
711082Tuesday 9th SeptemberKen BlakesonBob Hirdn/kn/k
721083Thursday 11th SeptemberKen BlakesonBob Hirdn/kn/k
731084Tuesday 16th SeptemberKen BlakesonBob Hirdn/kn/k
741085Thursday 18th SeptemberKen BlakesonBob Hirdn/kn/k
751086Tuesday 23rd SeptemberJames RobsonBob Hirdn/kn/k
761087Thursday 25th SeptemberJames RobsonBob Hirdn/kn/k
771088Tuesday 30th SeptemberJames RobsonDarrol Blaken/kn/k
781089Thursday 2nd OctoberJames RobsonDarrol Blaken/kn/k
791090Tuesday 7th OctoberJames RobsonDarrol Blaken/kn/k
801091Thursday 9th OctoberJames RobsonDarrol Blaken/kn/k
811092Tuesday 14th OctoberJames RobsonDarrol Blaken/kn/k
821093Thursday 16th OctoberJames RobsonDarrol Blaken/kn/k
831094Tuesday 21st OctoberTim VaughanMervyn Cummingn/kn/k
841095Thursday 23rd OctoberTim VaughanMervyn Cummingn/kn/k
851096Tuesday 28th OctoberTim VaughanMervyn Cummingn/kn/k
861097Thursday 30th OctoberTim VaughanMervyn Cummingn/kn/k
871098Tuesday 4th NovemberTim VaughanMervyn Cummingn/kn/k
881099Thursday 6th NovemberTim VaughanMervyn Cummingn/kn/k
891100Tuesday 11th NovemberJackie NeweyWilliam Slatern/kn/k
901101Thursday 13th NovemberJackie NeweyWilliam Slatern/kn/k
911102Tuesday 18th NovemberJackie NeweyWilliam Slatern/kn/k
921103Tuesday 20th NovemberCharles HodgesWilliam Slatern/kn/k
931104Thursday 25th NovemberCharles HodgesWilliam Slatern/kn/k
941105Thursday 27th NovemberCharles HodgesWilliam Slatern/kn/k
951106Tuesday 2nd DecemberMichael RussellBob Hirdn/kn/k
961107Thursday 4th DecemberMichael RussellBob Hirdn/kn/k
971108Tuesday 9th DecemberMichael RussellBob Hirdn/kn/k
981109Thursday 11th DecemberMichael RussellBob Hirdn/kn/k
991110Tuesday 16th DecemberMichael RussellBob Hirdn/kn/k
1001111Thursday 18th DecemberMichael RussellBob Hirdn/kn/k

Main CastEdit

Ranking Character Played by Duration Number of Episodes Running total Previous year's ranking
1Matt SkilbeckFrederick PyneFull year10010731
1Amos BrearlyRonald MagillFull year10010691
1Henry WilksArthur PentelowFull year100106213
1Annie SugdenSheila MercierFull year10010431
1Dolly SkilbeckJean RogersFull year1007001
1Jack SugdenClive HornbyFull year100653 1
1Seth ArmstrongStan RichardsFull year100531 1
1Jackie MerrickIan SharrockFull year100486 1
1Alan TurnerRichard ThorpFull year100384 10
1Sandie MerrickJane HutchesonFull year100380 1
1Caroline BatesDiana DaviesFull year100252 12
12Kathy BatesMalandra BurrowsFull year94102 21
13Samuel SkilbeckBenjamin WhiteheadFull year90223 10
14Joe SugdenFrazer HinesFrom March74842 22
15Pat SugdenHelen WeirUntil September57467 1
16Donald HintonHugh ManningJanuary to May, July to September and December56495 14
17Karen MooreAnnie HulleyFebruary to August4694 18
18Phil PearcePeter AlexanderFrom June4545 -
19Jock MacDonaldDrew DawsonJanuary to March, June to October and December39114 18
20Nick BatesCy ChadwickMarch to April, June and from September2832 23
21Bill MiddletonJohnny CaesarFebruary to March, July, September to October and December2388 16
22Eric PollardChristopher ChittellSeptember to November1818 -
23Archie BrooksTony PittsAugust, November to December14103 17
24Tom MerrickJack CarrSeptember only465 20


to be added

Who lives whereEdit

to be added

Awards and NominationsEdit

to be added

Emmerdale in the 1980s