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Title: Emmerdale  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Inside Soap Awards, List of LGBT characters in television and radio, Verity Rushworth, Claire King, All Star Family Fortunes
Collection: 1970S British Television Series, 1972 British Television Programme Debuts, 1980S British Television Series, 1990S British Television Series, 2000S British Television Series, 2010S British Television Series, Bafta Winners (Television Series), British Television Soap Operas, Emmerdale, English-Language Television Programming, Fictional Populated Places in England, Itv Soap Operas, Television Series by Itv Studios, Television Series by Yorkshire Television, Television Shows Set in Yorkshire
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia


Also known as Emmerdale Farm (1972–89)
Genre Soap opera
Created by Kevin Laffan
Starring Present cast
Former cast
Theme music composer Tony Hatch
Country of origin United Kingdom
No. of episodes 7,333
Executive producer(s) Various
(currently John Whiston)[1]
Producer(s) Various
(Kate Oates)[2]
Running time 22 mins (excluding advertisements)
Production company(s) ITV Studios
(Yorkshire Television)
Original channel ITV
Picture format 576i (1972)
4:3 (1972–2001)
16:9 (2002–11)
1080i HD (2011–present)[3]
Original release 16 October 1972 (1972-10-16) – present
(43 years, 242 days)
External links

Emmerdale, known as Emmerdale Farm until 1989, is a long-running British soap opera set in Emmerdale (known as Beckindale until 1994), a fictional village in the Yorkshire Dales. Created by Kevin Laffan, Emmerdale Farm was first broadcast on 16 October 1972. It is produced by ITV Yorkshire and has been filmed at their Leeds studios since its inception. The programme, which is currently the UK's second oldest television soap opera, has been transmitted in every ITV region throughout its existence.

The series was originally transmitted during daytime afternoons until 1978, when it was moved to an early evening timeslot in most regions (London and Anglia followed in the mid-1980s). Until December 1988, Emmerdale took seasonal breaks, but since then it has been broadcast year-round.

Emmerdale episodes air on the ITV network once every weekday evening at 19:00, with an additional second Thursday episode airing at 20:00. The programme began broadcasting in high definition from 10 October 2011. Emmerdale is the United Kingdom's second longest running television soap opera (after fellow ITV serial Coronation Street), and attracts on average 5–7 million viewers per episode.


  • Conception 1
  • Characters, residences and businesses 2
  • The first episode 3
  • Series overview 4
    • The first 21 years 4.1
    • Plane crash and the following 15 years 4.2
    • 2009–2012 4.3
    • 40th Anniversary Week and beyond 4.4
  • Families in Emmerdale 5
  • Storylines 6
    • Disasters 6.1
      • Early years 6.1.1
      • 1980s 6.1.2
      • 1990s 6.1.3
      • 2000s 6.1.4
      • 2010s 6.1.5
  • Viewing figures 7
  • Awards and nominations 8
  • Filming locations 9
  • Sponsorship 10
  • Longest serving Emmerdale actors 11
  • Scheduling 12
    • Broadcast schedule history 12.1
  • Overseas 13
    • Ireland 13.1
    • Sweden 13.2
    • Finland 13.3
    • New Zealand 13.4
    • Australia 13.5
    • Romania 13.6
    • Elsewhere 13.7
  • Theme tunes 14
  • Series producers 15
  • See also 16
  • References 17
  • External links 18


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.[4][5]

Characters, residences and businesses

Emmerdale has featured a large number of characters since it began of all different durations and the cast has gradually expanded in size. It has also had changing residences and businesses for the characters. The show has many different places including a B&B, and a factory.

The Miffield estate was the biggest employer in the village of Beckindale – situated 39 miles (63 km) from Bradford and 52 miles (84 km) 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. 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 drank away 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 children, Jack (the eldest) and Joe (the youngest of the three) and daughter Peggy. These characters would form the basis of the series Emmerdale Farm.

Types of characters featured in Emmerdale have included "bad boys" such as Cain Dingle, Ross Barton, Carl King, Robert Sugden and Aaron Livesy, "bitches" such as Kim Tate, Charity Tate, Nicola King, Kelly Windsor and Sadie King, "villains" such as Cameron Murray, Lachlan White, Steph Stokes, Carl King, Rosemary King and Sally Spode, caring characters like Laurel Potts, Emily Kirk, Lisa Dingle and Ruby Haswell, "sassy" females such as Chas Dingle, Val Pollard, Viv Hope and Leyla Harding and comedy characters such as Kerry Wyatt, Bernice Blackstock, David Metcalfe, Val Pollard, Seth Armstrong, Dan Spencer and Jimmy King. The show has also portrayed many matriarchs, which include Diane Sugden, Viv Hope, Lisa Dingle, Annie Sugden and Moira Barton. Elderly characters are also common in Emmerdale, such as Edna Birch, Betty Eagleton, Pearl Ladderbanks, Sandy Thomas, Seth Armstrong, Alan Turner, Sam Pearson, Lily Butterfield and Len Reynolds.

The first episode

The Sugden family in the first episode

The first episode of Emmerdale Farm opened with the funeral of Jacob Sugden on 16 October 1972. Jacob upset the family when he left the farm to his eldest son, Jack, who had left home in 1964 at the age of 18 and hadn't been seen since. Jack returned in this opening episode, although he chose to stay away from the funeral – making his presence known only after the service when the Sugdens returned to their home, Emmerdale Farm – where they found him waiting for them.

In subsequent months, Jack sold a share of the Farm to Annie, Joe, Peggy and his grandfather Sam Pearson. Emmerdale Farm Ltd was formed after Henry Wilks bought Sam's share of the estate.

The first episode, as with all episodes, have been repeated/released at various times on various media.[6]

Characters introduced in the first episode of Emmerdale Farm were:

Series overview

The first 21 years

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 major soaps.[7] The Windsor family arrived in 1993.

Plane crash and the following 15 years

In October 1993, the show had turned 21 and a couple of months later celebrated by airing a story which would mark a turning point in its history. On 30 December 1993 Emmerdale attracted its highest ever audience of over 18 million when a plane crashed into the village, killing four villagers. This led to the villagers deciding to have the village name changed from Beckindale to Emmerdale to help get over the plane crash.

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 at Home Farm for 16 years. However, due to members either leaving or being killed off, the size of the family decreased with the last, Zoe, leaving in 2005.

The early and mid-2000s saw episodes such as the storm (a storyline that occurred 10 years after the plane crash and was of a similar kind, although not as major), the bus crash, the Kings River explosion, Sarah Sugden's death in the barn fire, the Sugden House Fire, which was caused in 2007 by Victoria Sugden seeking the truth about her mother's death etc. It also saw the introduction of many major long-term characters, including the King family and Cain and Charity Dingle - who both later left before returning in 2009.


In 2009, the longest-serving character, Jack Sugden, was killed off, following the death of actor Clive Hornby, who had played Jack since 1980. Jack's funeral featured the first on-screen appearance for 13 years of Annie Sugden (Sheila Mercier). Also in early 2009, veteran Executive Producer, Keith Richardson, bowed out of the show to be replaced by former series producer, Steve November (who has since been replaced by John Whiston), and at the same time Gavin Blyth became series producer but later died and was replaced by Stuart Blackburn. During his tenure with the show, Blyth was highly praised for increasing ratings (as well as re-introducing Cain and Charity, he brought in the Sharma, Barton and Macey families and oversaw some very strong storylines such as the Wylde family's dramas and the start of the Aaron and Jackson saga and the latter's death at a relatively young age was a shock to all. Emmerdale continues to be much loved, delivering strong drama, and Blackburn has built on Blyth's success; introducing characters such as Cameron Murray and the Spencer family, presiding over major storylines such as Cain's Judgement Day and Laurel and Marlon and The Vicar's downfall.

40th Anniversary Week and beyond

Emmerdale celebrated its 40th Anniversary on 16 October 2012. On 1 May 2012, it was announced that the show would have its first ever live episode.[8] On 25 June 2012, it was announced that Tony Prescott, who directed the 50th anniversary live episode of Coronation Street in December 2010 would direct the episode.[9] On 23 July 2012, it was reported that an ITV2 Backstage Show titled Emmerdale Uncovered: Live would be broadcast after the live episode.[10] On 14 August 2012, it was announced that the Emmerdale production team are building a new Woolpack set for the live episode. Although Emmerdale's village and studio-based interior sets are miles apart, show bosses were keen for The Woolpack to feature in the special episode.[11] On 31 August 2012, it was announced that Emmerdale had created and filmed a live music festival which featured performances from Scouting for Girls and The Proclaimers.[12] On 6 September 2012, it was confirmed that the live episode would feature a shock death, two weddings and two births and would be an hour-long episode.[13]

Emmerdale Live aired on Wednesday 17 October 2012, in the middle of the 40th anniversary week, with the death revealed to be that of Carl King. Carl's death had major repercussions for the village as one of the continuing storylines that took the show into 2013, at which time a new series producer took over due to Blackburn moving to Coronation Street as its series producer. Blackburn has said that high drama will continue. He has also brought back the popular character of Bernice Blackstock. One of Blackburn's last acts as producer of Emmerdale has been to introduce four new characters; an old mate of Rhona Goskirk's, the partner of Bernice, and a father-daughter duo. Emmerdale entered a new era in 2013 as actor Richard Thorp who played Alan Turner died. Alan was killed off later in the year and made his final appearance (offscreen) on 24 October..

At the beginning of August 2015 Emmerdale aired a massive stunt. The storyline was titled Summer Fate with the tagline being ""The choices we make are the paths we take, Who will meet their Summer Fate?"". A promo for the storyline was released on 13 July with a number of villagers walking around a fairground in the village, all the characters appeared happy and cheerful that was until they all walked into a forest and saw a sign saying 'Exit'. A rumored major disaster storyline had been speculated for a while before the promo was released, with the promo finally confirming the disaster to come. What the disaster would be was not actually confirmed until 1 August 2015 (two days before the disaster week began) it was confirmed to be a helicopter crash. The accident was triggered by an argument between Chrissie Sugden and husband Robert Sugden: Chrissie set Robert's car alight, causing some gas canisters to explode and collide with a helicopter, which then hurtled towards and crashed into the village hall where Debbie Dingle and Pete Barton's wedding reception was happening. It was rumoured that no-one was safe in the disaster, leaving fans speculating who would die. The regular characters that were killed in the aftermath of the helicopter crash were Ruby Haswell and Val Pollard. Ross Barton was seemingly murdered by his brother Pete, but it was later revealed 3 weeks later that he survived.

Families in Emmerdale

Emmerdale has featured a number of families over the past 40 years, many of them defining an entire era of the show:

  • The Sugden family (1972–present)
  • The Bates family (1984–2001)
  • The Pollard family (1986–present)
  • The Tate family (1989–2005)
  • The Windsor/Hope families (1993–present)
  • The Dingle family (1994–present)
  • The Glover family (1994–2000)
  • The Thomas family (1996–present)
  • The Reynolds family (1999–2007)
  • The King family (2004–present)
  • The Sinclair family (2006–2008)
  • The Wylde/Lamb family (2009–2011)
  • The Barton family (2009–present)
  • The Sharma family (2009–present)
  • The Macey family (2010–present)
  • The Spencer family (2011–present)
  • The White family (2014–present)

The Sugdens and their extended relatives, the Merricks and the Skilbecks, were at the centre of the show during the soap's first two decades during the 1970s and 1980s when the series was still called Emmerdale Farm. The Sugdens were the soap's first family, as they owned Emmerdale Farm. Many of its members have either left or been killed off gradually since the mid-1990s, in addition to the Sugden/Skilbeck/Merrick clan.

The mid 1980s saw the arrival of the Bates family, which consisted of Caroline Bates who arrived in December 1984 and her two teenage children; Kathy and Nick followed in Late 1985, Caroline left the village in 1989 but returned for guest stints in 1991, 1993-1994 and finally in 1996, Nick was sentenced to ten years in prison in 1997 and consequently he was written out of the show. Kathy and her niece, Alice, remained in the village until late 2001, by which time Kathy had outlived two husbands. It was through Kathy that the Bates family became related to two of Emmerdale's central families; the Sugdens (through Jackie Merrick) and the Tates (through Chris Tate). Kathy appeared to take the form of the show's overall central character for several years.

There are still some Sugdens left in the village, such as Jack Sugden's widow Diane Sugden, his three children Andy Sugden, Robert Sugden and Victoria Sugden, Andy's children, Sarah and Jack (the latter was born on 16 October 2012, forty years after the show started) and Robert's estranged wife, Chrissie Sugden. However, following the arrival of the wealthy, glamorous Tates in 1989 the word Farm was dropped from the title. Other families followed: the middle class Windsors in 1993 (they would be later known as the Hope family following Viv's remarriage to Bob Hope in 2001) and the ne'er-do-well Dingles in 1994.

The Sugdens took a back seat role in the show whilst the Tate, Windsor-Hope and Dingle families took centre stage for much of the 1990s and 2000s, they helped herald in a bright new era in Emmerdale and were at the centre of the show's biggest storylines of the 1990s and 2000s. This era is often cited by critics and fans alike as being Emmerdale's golden age, due to the big storylines of those two decades, including the plane crash in 1993, the Home Farm siege in 1994, the Post Office robbery in 1998, the bus crash in 2000, the storm in 2003/04 and the Kings show home collapse in 2006. By the mid to late 2000s, the last of the Tates; Zoe Tate, her daughter Jean Tate and her nephew Joseph Tate had emigrated to New Zealand. In 2009, Chris Tate's ex-wife Charity and son Noah returned to the village. In early 2006, various members of the Windsor-Hope family had left the Village, with the matriarch and popular character Viv Hope being killed off in a village fire in February 2011 after nearly 18 years on the show. As of 2015, only Donna Windsor's daughter, April, and the Hope branch of the family; Bob and his children; Carly Hope and twins Cathy and Heathcliff Hope remain.

2004 saw the arrival and rise of the King family, their arrival coincided with the Tates' departure and they took centre stage. However, many members were killed off one by one - much like the Tate family - in shocking and tragic ways.

The majority of the Dingles are still left in the village (2013) though their circumstances have changed in the two decades they have been in the village. Many of its members have become business owners and hold professional jobs such as Chas Dingle who owns half of The Woolpack and Marlon who is a chef.

As of 2014, the Barton and White families have taken the centre spot in the show previously occupied by the Tate, Windsor-Hope, Dingle and King families. These families are now majorly involved in Emmerdale's storylines and have begun a new era in the show, the Bartons are the new farming family and the White family now own Home Farm.


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


Emmerdale has featured a number of incidents and disasters over the years. Some are listed below:

Early years

  • 1973 – Sharon Crossthwaite was raped and strangled by Jim Latimer. Jack Sugden discovered the truth after arriving home to find Jim trying to strangle Penny Golightly, after which Jim reluctantly confessed to killing Sharon.
  • 1973 – Jack Sugden's lodger Ian 'Trash' McIntyre died trying to escape first floor window at The Old Mill where Jack had locked him in for his own safety and falling to the ground, breaking his neck.
  • 1976 – Matt Skilbeck's twin children, Sam and Sally, and his aunt Beattie Dowton were killed in an accident at a level crossing when their car was hit by a train.
  • 1976 – Heather Bannerman crashed into the front gate at Emmerdale Farm while driving along after borrowing her husband's car.
  • 1977 – A great storm broke out over Beckindale. Young couple Ray & Sarah Oswell sought refuge at Emmerdale Farm after their own cottage was destroyed by a tree struck by lightning.
  • 1977 – A fire broke out at Emmerdale Farm and the Beckindale Volunteer Fire Service arrived to fight the blaze. During the fire fighting, one of the members of the team suffered severe burns.
  • 1977 – A fire broke out in the village and the blame was allocated to tourists that had been staying in the barn that set alight.
  • 1978 – An explosion at a mine trapped vicar's son Clive Hinton and his two friends Ian and Rod. Clive and Rod were found unconscious and Ian escaped with cuts and bruises.
  • 1978 – Teenagers Steve Hawker and Pip Coulter committed an armed robbery at The Woolpack and left Amos Brearly and Henry Wilks locked in the cellar. The two teenagers then headed for Emmerdale Farm where they held Sam Pearson at gunpoint. To save her father, Annie Sugden provided the two with a getaway car.


  • 1981 – Religious farmer Enoch Tolly was killed in a tractor accident.
  • 1982 – In a fit of rage after being sacked from NY Estates by Alan Turner, Jackie Merrick went off the rails and set fire to one of NY's caravans.
  • 1985 – Jackie Merrick was knocked off his motorbike by Alan Turner's Land Rover and spent five months in hospital with broken bones.
  • 1986 – Pat Sugden died when she crashed her car down a hillside after swerving to avoid a flock of sheep.
  • 1987 – Jackie Merrick accidentally fell down a disused mineshaft whilst trying to rescue a stray sheep.
  • 1988 – Phil Pearce carelessly left discarded rags at Crossgill Farm, which caught fire, trapping Annie Sugden inside.
  • 1989 – Crooked quarryman Dennis Rigg was crushed to death by Joe Sugden's prize bull whilst threatening the Sugdens with eviction.
  • 1989 – Jackie Merrick accidentally shot himself whilst out hunting a fox for a £10 bet.


  • 1990 – Frank and Kim Tate arrived home to find the Home Farm barn conversion had been set alight. Michael Feldmann was initially suspected, but the culprit later turned out to be farm labourer Jock McDonald.
  • 1990 – Kate Sugden accidentally knocked down and killed Pete Whiteley whilst driving home from Hotten.
  • 1990 – A chemical tanker crashed into the village trapping Amos Brearly in the Woolpack cellar.
  • 1993/1994 – A plane crashed in Beckindale, leaving most of the village in ruins and killing Archie Brooks, Elizabeth Pollard, Mark Hughes and Leonard Kempinski.
  • 1994 – Shirley Turner was shot dead during the Home Farm raid by Reg Dawson, the ex-husband of Viv Windsor.
  • 1995 – Luke McAllister died after his van crashed into a wall and exploded in 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 after snorting cocaine took Linda Fowler for a late-night drive and crashed through a fence on to a tree whilst trying to molest Linda as she attempted to fought him off, after trying to awaken her. He removed a semi-conscious nose hemorrhage Linda from the passenger seat, and moved her to the driver's seat before wiping his finger prints from the steering wheel and fled the scene of the accident, leaving Linda to die.
  • 1998 – Vic Windsor is killed on Christmas Day after hitting his head on an Ice cream display chest freezer after trying to apprehended an armed Billy Hopwood from robbing the Post Office.
  • 1999 – Graham Clark killed Rachel Hughes by pushing her off a cliff.


  • 2000 – A van and minibus collided in the village. Van driver Pete Collins died at the scene; minibus passenger Butch Dingle died 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 when the chimney was struck by lightning which collapsed through the roof into the bar area and also on the front, crushing Tricia Dingle which resulted in her dying in hospital a week 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 when the Land Rover he was in went off the road and through a brick wall and exploded, although the driver Andy Sugden escaped the car unharmed and gave a false story about the accident to avoid being prosecuted; 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, that if they didn't admit who killed her mum, she would burn the family home down, with them all trapped inside. Andy admitted he was responsible but 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 crashing a van into a wall while trying to run over his brother, Carl. The brothers had been fighting as Carl had ruined Matthew's wedding to Anna De Souza earlier that day.


  • 2010 – Aaron Livesy and Jackson Walsh went on a night out together along with Paddy Kirk and Marlon Dingle. After arguing with Aaron, Jackson's van stalled on a railway line and was hit by a goods train, leaving him paralysed from the neck down.
  • 2011 – A fire started by corrupt policeman Nick Henshall tore through the village, killing Terry Woods and Viv Hope.
  • 2012 – John and Moira Barton went to a hotel for some private time, booked by their son, as they had decided not to divorce after all. Whilst driving, John hit a patch of black ice and the Land Rover crashed into a ravine. Moira was rescued by Declan Macey and Katie Sugden but the vehicle fell off a ledge into the ravine with John trapped inside. He later died in hospital.
  • 2012 – On Emmerdale's 40th anniversary, Carl King was brutally murdered by love rival Cameron Murray when he was hit with a brick, after attempting to rape former lover Chas Dingle.
  • 2012 – After an argument, Declan Macey tried to run away. Katie Macey followed him, but ended up falling into a mine shaft and being trapped underground. She was later found by Sam Dingle after she crawled through the mineshaft and ended up in a wheelchair, and later collapsed in the Woolpack in pain and learned in hospital that she had to have an ovary removed.
  • 2013 – Genesis Walker's car careered off a country road and tumbled down a ravine following a high speed chase by Cameron Murray and Debbie Dingle after she overheard Cameron confessing to the murder of Carl King. Cameron then pulled a semi-conscious Gennie out of the destroyed vehicle and murdered her by suffocation.
  • 2013 – On Emmerdale's 41st anniversary, Cameron Murray escaped from prison and held villagers hostage in The Woolpack, resulting in Alicia Harding accidentally being shot and a final showdown in the flooded Woolpack cellar with Debbie, Chas and Marlon Dingle who were rescued and Cameron was electrocuted to death.
  • 2014 – In an argument, Belle Dingle pushed friend Gemma Andrews, who fell and hit her head on a sharp stone. They both walked off and while travelling home, Gemma fell and had to be rushed to hospital. She later died in hospital.
  • 2014 – Donna Windsor threw herself and Gary North from a multi-storey car park to their deaths.
  • 2014 – Declan Macey accidentally shot Robbie Lawson dead while trying to murder Charity Macey.
  • 2015 – Katie Sugden died after Robert Sugden threw her to the farmhouse floor, which collapsed and she fell to her death.
  • 2015 - Lachlan White (Thomas Atkinson) sexually assaulted Alicia Gallagher (Natalie Anderson) after he misinterprets her friendliness for affection. He is subsequently shopped to the police by mother, Chrissie White (Louise Marwood), after his lies are uncovered.
  • 2015 – During a heated argument, Chrissie Sugden set fire to her husband Robert's car. The fire caused some gas canisters to explode, sending a helicopter crashing down on the village hall where Debbie Dingle and Pete Barton's wedding reception was taking place. Ruby Haswell, Val Pollard and the helicopter pilot were killed in the ensuing disaster.
  • 2015 - Robert Sugden (Ryan Hawley) is shot outside the Woolpack by an unknown assailant in front of Chas Dingle (Lucy Pargeter) and four weeks later, a flashback episode revealed the events of that night. It was revealed that Ross Barton (Michael Parr) had shot him, after making a deal with Andy Sugden (Kelvin Fletcher) to kill each other's brothers. It was also revealed that Ashley Thomas (John Middleton) could be suffering from dementia and that Paddy Kirk (Dominic Brunt) had cheated on his wife Rhona Goskirk (Zoe Henry) with newcomer Tess (Nicola Stephenson).

Viewing figures

An average Emmerdale episode generally attracts 6–8 million viewers, making it one of Britain's most watched television programmes. In the 1990s, the programme would have an average of 10–11 million viewers. On 30 December 1993 Emmerdale attracted its highest audience of 18 million when a plane crashed into the village. On 27 May 1997, 13 million viewers saw Frank Tate die of a heart attack, after his wife, Kim Tate, returned. On 20 October 1998, 12.5 million saw the Woolpack exploded after being burnt down.

On 1 January 2004, 11.19 million viewers saw the village being hit by a storm. On 18 May 2004, Jack Sugden was shot by his adopted son Andy Sugden. attracting 8.27 million viewers. On 17 March 2005, Shelly Williams fell from the Isle of Arran ferry watched by 9.39 million viewers. On 22 September 2005, Zoe Tate left the soap after 16 years and made an exit which saw her blow up Home Farm, seen by 8.58. On 13 July 2006, The Kings River house collapse was seen by 6.90 million viewers. On 21 September 2006, 8.57 million viewers watched the exit of Cain Dingle. On Christmas Day 2006, 7.69 million viewers watched as Tom King was murdered on his wedding day. On 1 February 2007, Billy Hopwood with Victoria Sugden crashed his truck into a lake attracting 8.15 million viewers. On 17 May 2007, when the Who Killed Tom King? plot came to a close attracted 8.92 million viewers.

On 14 January 2010, 9.96 million viewers watched Mark Wylde being shot dead by his wife Natasha Wylde. On 27 October 2010 an audience of nearly 8 million tuned in for Natasha Wylde's confession to the crime after her daughter Maisie pushed for the truth. On 13 January 2011, 9.15 million watched as a fire killed characters Viv Hope and Terry Woods. On 17 October 2012, 8.83 million watched the live episode celebrating 40 years of Emmerdale. On 16 October 2013, 8.37 million watched Cameron hold the occupants of The Woolpack hostage and shoot Alicia. The following day it had a peak of 9.28 million viewers for Cameron Murray's demise at 8:00 pm.[14]

Awards and nominations

Filming locations

Esholt, West Yorkshire, used for the outdoor exterior scenes from 1976–1997
The purpose built village set, constructed by Yorkshire Television in 1997 on the Harewood estate around Eccup, near Leeds, West Yorkshire

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 filming 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, and other locations in 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).[15]

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.

There have been four farms featured in Emmerdale throughout its run;

  • "Original" Emmerdale Farm (1972–1993) – belonged to the Sugden family for many years until subsidence caused them to move out. Filming location: Lindley House.
  • Hawthorn Cottage (1993–1997) – Matt and Peggy's former home was turned into the second Emmerdale Farm and was sold off and turned into a quarry. Filming location: Bank Side Farm.
  • Melby Farm (1997–2002) – A third farm was found and renamed once again to Emmerdale Farm, until the farm went bankrupt and Jack moved into Annie's old cottage, Tenant’s Cottage, in the village. Filming location: Burden Head Farm.
  • Butler’s Farm (2003 to present) – Taken on by Andy Sugden and Katie Addyman in 2003 before the Bartons' took over in 2009. Filming location: Brookland Farm.


Emmerdale have in the past been sponsored by a number of commercial partners and Emmerdale's first sponsorship was Daz from 14 December 1999 to 20 February 2002., the original sponsor; brands Heinz Tomato Ketchup and Heinz Salad cream (May 2003 – May 2005); later in 2005 company Reckitt Benckiser took over until 2009, featured products were Calgon, Air Wick, Veet and Lemsip over this period (on rotation in most regions); and Tombola Bingo (November 2009 – March 2012). It has been sponsored by Bet365 Bingo since 12 March 2012, sponsorship expired in March 2014. McCain Foods will take over as sponsor for two years from 7 April 2014, after a £8 million deal was signed.[16]

Show Sponsors

1999–2002 Daz

2003–2005 Heinz

2005–2009 Reckitt Benckiser

2009–2012 Tombola Bingo

2012–2014 Bet365 Bingo

2014–Present McCain Foods

Longest serving Emmerdale actors

The 7 Emmerdale actors to have achieved over 20 years service are listed in the table below. The longest-serving Emmerdale actor ever is Richard Thorp who died in 2013, having played the character of Alan Turner for the last 31 years of his life. The longest-serving actress is Sheila Mercier who played Annie Sugden for 22 years.

Top 7 (as of 2015)
No. Actor Character Duration (total)
1 Richard Thorp Alan Turner 1982–2013 (31 years)
2 Chris Chittell Eric Pollard 1986– (29 years)
3 Clive Hornby Jack Sugden 1980–2008 (28 years)
4 Stan Richards Seth Armstrong 1978–2003, 2004 (25 years)
5 Sheila Mercier Annie Sugden 1972–94, 1995, 1996, 2009 (22 years)
6 Steve Halliwell Zak Dingle 1994– (21 years)
7 Paula Tilbrook Betty Eagleton 1994–2015 (21 years)


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 2–4 weeks before it is first broadcast on ITV.

Broadcast schedule history

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



Emmerdale reaches viewers in the Republic of Ireland via the widely available UTV Ireland. UTV Ireland screen Emmerdale simultaneously with ITV in the U.K.. The broadcaster relies on a live feed of the soap from the ITV network in London. If there was a breaking newsflash (e.g. about a Royal baby being born) on the U.K. channel, Emmerdale could not be broadcast. 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.[17]


Emmerdale has been shown in Sweden since the 1970s – originally on public channel TV2 and since 1994 by commercial broadcaster TV4. Under the title Hem till gården ("Home to the Farm"), the programme is broadcast with a double bill (two episodes) on weekdays at 11:35–12:45. Emmerdale is the most watched daytime non-news programme in Sweden attracting some 150,000 to 200,000 viewers on a daily basis.[18] Episodes are also repeated over-night on TV4 and during prime time on digital sister channel TV4 Guld. Most recently screened episodes (September 2015) date from August 2014 but will eventually be in phase with UK broadcasts as two episodes are shown daily.


The programme is shown in Finland on commercial broadcaster 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 screened in September 2015 date from April - May 2014.

New Zealand

Emmerdale is shown in New Zealand on ONE weekdays with an hour long episode on Mondays to Thursdays and a half hour episode screened on Friday at 12:30 to 13:00. It is the second most watched daytime programme after the news.[19] As at October 2015, ONE episodes are from September 2015.


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.[20][21] Episodes on UKTV are seventeen months behind the original UK broadcast as UKTV Australia airs only 5 episodes per week at 5.45 pm EST from Mondays to Fridays, & not 6 episodes a week as aired in the UK, as at October 2015, UKTV episodes being aired are from February 2014, around 20 months behind the UK airings.


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


Theme tunes

The original theme tune created by Tony Hatch was the longest ever to be used. For a number of episodes in 1972 a longer version was used to open episodes but from 1973 a shorter version was used. In 1992, an 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. In 1998, the theme tune was re-recorded for a more orchestral sound to coincide with the move from Esholt to Harewood. It was given a slight tweak in 2003. In 2011, it was re-recorded to give a contemporary fresh look with a modern synthesizer to create the sounds needed.

Series producers

This is a list of producers, the dates given below are when their first and last episodes aired.

  • David Goddard (16 October 1972 – 16 January 1973)
  • Peter Holmans (22 January 1973 – 17 July 1973)
  • Robert D. Cardona (23 July 1973 – 18 May 1976)
  • Michael Glynn (3 January 1977 – 10 January 1980)
  • Anne W Gibbons (15 January 1980 – 29 September 1983)
  • Richard Handford (4 October 1983 – 28 August 1986)
  • Michael Russell (2 September 1986 – 24 March 1988)
  • Stuart Doughty (30 March 1988 – 31 December 1991)
  • Morag Bain (2 January 1992 – 14 December 1993)
  • Nicholas Prosser (16 December 1993 – 29 November 1994)
  • Mervyn Watson (1 December 1994 – 6 August 1998)
  • Kieran Roberts (11 August 1998 – 13 April 2001)
  • Steve Frost (16 April 2001 – 25 February 2005)
  • Kathleen Beedles (28 February 2005 – 29 February 2008)[22]
  • Anita Turner (3 March 2008[23][24] – 13 March 2009)[25]
  • Gavin Blyth (16 March 2009 – 8 April 2011)[26][27]
  • Stuart Blackburn (11 April 2011 – 4 April 2013)[2]
  • Kate Oates (4 April 2013 – December 2015)[28]
  • Iain MacLeod (January 2016 −)[29]

See also


  1. ^
  2. ^ a b 'Emmerdale' announces new series producer Digital Spy, 16 March 2011
  3. ^ Work on new 'Emmerdale' studios under way Digital Spy, 2 September 2010
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^ Best of Emmerdale - First episode
  7. ^ Leigh Holmwood, ITV exec Richardson leaves Emmerdale after 24 years The Guardian, 15 January 2009. Retrieved 29 May 2012
  8. ^ 'Emmerdale' live episode confirmed for 40th anniversary Digital Spy, 1 May 2012
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^
  14. ^
  15. ^ Leeds Studios location Google Earth
  16. ^
  17. ^
  18. ^
  19. ^
  20. ^
  21. ^
  22. ^
  23. ^
  24. ^
  25. ^
  26. ^
  27. ^ Daniel Kilkelly 'Emmerdale producer Blyth dies aged 41' Digital Spy, 27 November 2010
  28. ^
  29. ^

External links

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