The title sequence is a short graphical sequence which opens every episode of Emmerdale. It traditionally contains various shots of the Dales usually culminating in an aerial shot of the village, followed by a close-up.
Emmerdale Farm's first set of titles provided viewers with a glimpse into life in the Dales. Opening with a slow panning shot of the fields in the Yorkshire Dales before slowly zooming in on on the village of Arncliffe, which was being used as the fictional Beckindale village at the time. A shot of a sunset through trees followed, as the camera then moved away from the trees to the farmhouse being used for Emmerdale Farm.
The first four episodes contained a longer version of the opening theme, composed by Tony Hatch. In these, the theme would usually play well into the first scene of the programme and then fade as the first line of dialogue came in. The shorter version used for Episode 5 (30th October 1972) and Episode 6 (31st October 1972) finished at the end of the opening titles rather than continuing into the first scene. The longer titles resumed for Episode 7 (6th November 1972) and Episode 8 (7th November 1972), with the shorter theme reappearing permanently from Episode 9 (13th November 1972).
These opening titles were used up until Episode 150 (2nd April 1974).
Debuting with Episode 151 (8th April 1974), the programme's second title sequence was similar to that of the original and extremely similar to that of the end credits. The titles were made up of two shots, one moving along the Yorkshire Dales until coming to the village of Arncliffe which was still being used as the fictional village, Beckindale, at the time. The shot would then switch to an angled view of the farm being used as Emmerdale Farm.
The music would remain the same version used originally by Tony Hatch, but the font style and colour would change to a bolder yellow identical to that used in the break bumpers and end credits introduced with Episode 133 (4th February 1974).
These opening titles were used up until Episode 260 (20th May 1975).
Debuting with Episode 261 (13th October 1975), the Emmerdale Farm title sequence once again changed. This is to date the longest serving title sequence in the show's history lasting until 1989, when the show would drop 'Farm' from it's name and shift focus onto the surrounding village. These titles are often referred to as the 'Sunset' titles, due to the fact that the sequence uses footage of various farm activity interspersed with surrounding scenery as the sun gradually sets in the background. The final shot appears with the sun setting directly behind a farmhouse. It is unknown where the footage for the sequence was filmed, but for the first time the farmhouse seen at the end of the sequence is not the building used for Emmerdale Farm in the programme.
There was a big change to the font and colour in the sequence, with the bold yellow now being replaced by a slim white Italic font. The writing credit continued over the last shot of the sequence as normal, also in the new font.
Debuting with Episode 1403 (14th November 1989), the title sequence received a revamp as the programme shortened it's name to just 'Emmerdale'. Keeping the whit italic font and the Tony Hatch theme, the titles featured quick short shots of country life, animals, farm machinery and life in the village. These titles would last until September 1992.
In September 1992, the next sequence of opening titles chose to completely do away with Tony Hatch's original theme, instead being replaced by a faster more upbeat version played on piano. The titles were replaced to show shots of the Yorkshire countryside with superimposed footage of non-characters representing the themes of the show - walking down a countryside, a couple in bed together, a man holding his head in his hand and somebody climbing. At the end of the sequence, footage led us closer to the village. The recently opened Holiday Village also appeared in the credits. The village that can be seen at the end of the titles is actually Kettlewell, a village in Upper Wharfedale. The sequence ends with a view of The Woolpack. This sequence is notable for being the first in the show's history not to feature a shot of a farmhouse, signalling the programme's shift to focus more on the village community rather than primarily the happenings at Emmerdale Farm.
Despite this update, the credit sequence was shortlived. Only surviving a few months longer than the 1974 sequence, the titles would be updated again just over fifteen months later.
In November 1998, there was a new sequence to the opening titles of the series with a new theme music.
In Autumn 2005, there was a new sequence to the opening titles of the series, with the same 1998 theme music.
On May 30, 2011, there was a new sequence to the opening titles of the series, this time a new theme music, with new generic shots.