Current Emmerdale title card (introduced on 30 May 2011)
Format Soap opera
Created by Kevin Laffan
Starring Present cast
Former cast
Country of origin United Kingdom
No. of episodes


(as of 22 November 2011)
Executive producer(s) Various
Keith Richardson
Steve November
Producer(s) Various
(currently Stuart Blackburn[1])
Running time 22 mins (excluding advertisements)
Production company(s) ITV Studios
(Yorkshire Television)
Original channel ITV (ITV1/STV/UTV)
Picture format 576i (1972)
4:3 (1972–2001)
16:9 (2002–11)
1080i HD[2] (2011–Present)
Original run 16 October 1972 –
(&1000000000000003900000039 years, &1000000000000003700000037 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 was first broadcast on 16 October 1972. It is produced by Yorkshire Television, (now known as ITV Studios), and has been filmed at their Yorkshire Studios since its inception. It has since been shown in all regions of ITV almost throughout its existence. It is the United Kingdom's second oldest soap opera.

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.

From 10 October 2011, Emmerdale began broadcasting in High Defenition on ITV1 HD.



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.[3][4]

Characters, residences and businesses

Emmerdale has featured a huge 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.

Series backstory

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 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.

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 had upset the family when he left the farm to his eldest son, Jack, who had not been seen since 1964, when at the age of 18 he left his family, heritage and Beckindale – for London.

Jack Sugden returned to the farm 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.[5]

Series overview

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.[6]

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 lived 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 were originally set to herald a new era in the soap and were introduced by Gavin Blyth before he died. This has changed since all but Declan are to depart the soap in the coming months.

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. She is one of many characters to depart the soap in 2011. 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. Viv's demise paved the way for her stepdaughter, Kelly Windsor, to briefly return. There are also several new characters set to arrive in the coming months.

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


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 was raped and strangled to death 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 committed 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 were killed in an accident at a level crossing when their car was hit by a train.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 - Kate Sugden accidentally knocked down and killed Pete Whiteley whilst driving home from Hotten.
  • 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 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 killed Rachel Hughes by pushing her off a cliff.
  • 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 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 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 and Jackson Walsh go on a night out together along with Paddy Kirk and Marlon Dingle. After having an argument with Aaron, Jackson crashed his van onto 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.

Memorable exits

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

  • 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 second 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 with her son Noah, despite an emotional plea from Tom.
  • 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. .
  • Steph Forsythe – Steph pleaded guilty to the murder of her brother Terence Turner. This was to make amends for causing the death of Shelly Williams. She was sentenced to life imprisonment, although it was in fact, her husband Adam Forsythe who had killed Terence.
  • 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 firing 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.[7]
  • 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.
  • Jackson Walsh - Jackson was left paralysed from the neck down in a freak accident in October when a train collided with his van following a crash onto a level crossing. In March 2011, boyfriend Aaron Livesy was desperate to discover what Jackson was saying in his video diaries. He is shell-shocked to discover Jackson wants to die. After revealing to Jackson, that himself and Hazel know, they try to persuade him that his life is worth living and he agrees to give it a try. However a chest infection hospitalises Jackson, making him more determined to die. After a holiday in Whitby and a skydive, Jackson is still adamant about his decision. Aaron and Hazel eventually agree, and in June 2011, after Hazel backs out, Aaron feeds Jackson a lethal cocktail of drugs.

Viewing figures

The show is one of the most watched programmes on British television. An average Emmerdale episode generally attracts 6.5million 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
The famous plane crash was watched by 18 million viewers and consequently kept Emmerdale as one of the top UK soaps
  • 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.
The storm episode attracted 10.7 million viewers, and gave Emmerdale a huge ratings boost
  • On 21 September 2006, 8.57 million viewers watched the exit of Cain Dingle after more than six years in the soap.
  • On Christmas Day 2006, over 7.69 million viewers watched as Tom King was murdered on his wedding day to Rosemary Sinclair.
  • 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.
The hour long episode where the Kings River house exploded and collapsed beat EastEnders in the ratings by far, attracting 6.7 million viewers, whilst EastEnders had its lowest ever audience of 3.9 million viewers
  • 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 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 in 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 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, 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).[8] 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.


Emmerdale have in the past been sponsored by a number of commercial partners including Daz, Heinz Salad Cream, Calgon, Airwick, Veet and Lemsip. On 6 October 2009, ITV announced a sponsorship agreement with online bingo site Tombola Bingo.

Emmerdale's first sponsorship was Daz from 21 December 1999 to 20 February 2002 featuring Johno and Barry, who are seen indulging in their favourite pastime - sitting on the kitchen floor watching the washing machine go through its cycle. Each has a distinctive character, revealed through a series of dramas which unfold as the dogs chat to each other while sitting in front of the washing machine, much as humans do when watching television. The Daz sponsorship was finished in February 2002.

List of Longest serving Emmerdale actors

Actor Character Duration
Richard Thorp Alan Turner 1982 - (29 years)
Clive Hornby Jack Sugden 1980 - 2008 (28 years)
Chris Chittell Eric Pollard 1986 - (25 years)
Stan Richards Seth Armstrong 1978 - 2003, 2004 (25 years)
Sheila Mercier Annie Brearly 1972 - 1994, 1995, 1996, 2009 (22 years)
Frazer Hines Joe Sugden 1972 - 1983, 1984, 1986 - 1994 (19 years)
Ronald Magill Amos Brearly 1972 - 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995 (19 years)
Arthur Pentelow Henry Wilks 1972 - 1991 (19 years)
Paula Tilbrook Betty Eagleton 1994 - (17 years)
Steve Halliwell Zak Dingle 1994 - 2002, 2003 - (17 years)
Deena Payne Viv Hope 1993 - 2008, 2009 - 2011 (17 years)
Frederick Pyne Matt Skilbeck 1972 - 1989 (17 years)
Malandra Burrows Kathy Brookman 1985 - 2001, 2005 (16 years)
Billy Hartman Terry Woods 1995 - 2011 (16 years)
Leah Bracknell Zoe Tate 1989 - 2005 (16 years)
Kelvin Fletcher Andy Sugden 1996 - (15 years)
Jane Cox Lisa Dingle 1996 - (15 years)
Mark Charnock Marlon Dingle 1996 - (15 years)
John Middleton Ashley Thomas 1996 - (15 years)
Dominic Brunt Paddy Kirk 1997 - (14 years)
Peter Amory Chris Tate 1989 - 2003 (14 years)
Elizabeth Estensen Diane Sugden 1999 - (12 years)
James Hooton Sam Dingle 1995 - 1996, 1997-1998, 2000 - (12 years)
Toke Townley Sam Pearson 1972 - 1984 (12 years)
Christopher Smith Robert Sugden 1989 - 2001 (12 years)
Shirley Stelfox Edna Birch 2000 - (11 years)
Tony Audenshaw Bob Hope 2000 - (11 years)
Patrick Mower Rodney Blackstock 2000 - (11 years)
Glenda McKay Rachel Hughes 1988 - 1999 (11 years)
Jean Rodgers Dolly Skilbeck 1980 - 1991 (11 years)
Sammy Winward Katie Sugden 2001 - (10 years)
Verity Rushworth Donna Windsor-Dingle 1998 - 2009 (10 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 4–6 weeks before it is first broadcast on ITV1.

Broadcast schedule history

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



Emmerdale was shown on CBC Television until 2007, with episodes about four years behind the UK story. On 20 September 2010, VisionTV began showing Emmerdale immediately after EastEnders at 9:30 p.m. Eastern time. Episodes were broadcast approximately seven months after airing in the UK.

In 2011, VisionTV cancelled Emmerdale. The last episode was shown on 30 September 2011.


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 (October 2011) date from October 2009. Older episodes (from November 2007 in October 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 (September 2011) date from December 2008.

New Zealand

Emmerdale is shown in New Zealand on TV One from Monday to Friday at 12:30 to 13:30. As at September 2011, TV One episodes are from October 2009. Repeat episodes are played around 4:00am Monday to Friday on TV2.


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.[9][10] 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 Romanian free-to-air channel Pro TV. The station has bought 50 episodes of the soap dating back to 2000.


  • Satellite channel ITV Granada 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, Closing Credits and Theme Tunes

1972-1973 (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.

1973-1974 (OVER THE DALES MARK 2)

In April 1973 the opening titles were slightly altered. The pink "Emmerdale Farm" logo which had zoomed into the screen for the past few months was dropped and a new pale yellow "Emmerdale Farm" logo faded on instead. Also Kevin Laffan's credit at the end of the opening titles was also made fully clearer. The closing titles stayed the same but "End of Part One" and "Part Two" were removed from the stingers for a basic "Emmerdale Farm" logo. The music stayed the same although from now on the shorter version would be used

1974-1975 (OVER THE DALES MARK 3)

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 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 noticeable. 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.


There 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 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.

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. These arrangements were carried over to 2011.

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.

2011- (BREEZE)

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 couple running upstairs in Home Farm; The Dingles Living room; a woman stroking a man's leg with her foot; then finally finishing on a new CGI image of the town which ends with the new logo fading on to the screen. The title music has been remixed to sound more contemporary, but still with a homely feeling.

As with Coronation Street a year earlier, a new array of episode break bumpers (with the remixed theme) have been made for use.

The new titles and music, as with all the other 3 UK soap operas when they revamped their titles, have garnered mixed reviews.

Theme Tunes

1972-1989 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. 1989 saw the word "Farm" dropped from the titles so this meant an update was on the way. Not too much but a slight change was given to the theme tune.

1992-1998 When the series was revamped in 1992 the theme tune was given a 1990s update. 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.

1998-2011 When the series was again revamped the theme tune was revamped for a more orchestral sound. It was given a slight tweak in 2003. The end of part music was more akin to the 1972-1989 end of part music.

2011- The titles of Emmerdale were revamped in May 2011 to give the series a modern look. The theme tune was re-recorded for a more contemporary feel, yet still within its roots.[citation needed]

Series producers

  • David Goddard (October 1972 – January 1973)
  • Peter Holmans (January 1973 – July 1973)
  • Robert D. Cardona (July 1973 – October 1976)
  • Michael Glynn (October 1976 – June 1979)
  • Anne Gibbons (June 1979 – October 1983)
  • Richard Handford (October 1983 – June 1986)
  • Michael Russell (June 1986 – March 1988)
  • Stuart Doughty (March 1988 – December 1991)
  • Morag Bain (December 1991–1993)
  • Nicholas Prosser (1993–94)
  • Mervyn Watson (1994–98)
  • Kieran Roberts (1998 – April 2001)
  • Steve Frost (April 2001 – December 2004)
  • Kathleen Beedles (January 2005 – December 2007)[11]
  • Anita Turner (January 2008[12][13] – January 2009)[14]
  • Gavin Blyth (January 2009 – November 2010)[15][16]
  • Stuart Blackburn (March 2011 – present)[1]

See also


  1. ^ a b http://www.digitalspy.co.uk/soaps/s12/emmerdale/news/a309223/emmerdale-announces-new-series-producer.html
  2. ^ Digitalspy.co.uk
  3. ^ Byrne, Andrea (8 February 2009). "The plough and the stars: how TV's revolutionary Riordans changed Ireland". Independent.ie. http://www.independent.ie/national-news/the-plough-and-the-stars-how-tvs-revolutionary-riordans-changed-ireland-1632528.html. Retrieved 6 October 2009. 
  4. ^ Kirby, Terry (15 July 2006). "Emmerdale: the village that won over a nation". The Independent (London). http://www.independent.co.uk/news/media/emmerdale-the-village-that-won-over-a-nation-408011.html. Retrieved 6 October 2009. 
  5. ^ First episode at ITV.com website
  6. ^ Leigh Holmwood, ITV exec Richardson leaves Emmerdale after 24 years, guardian.co.uk. Retrieved 21 December 2010
  7. ^ Newcollegechoir.co.uk
  8. ^ See on Google Earth here.
  9. ^ "Symons: Marilyn Fisher was easy, cracking the UK wasn't". Australian Associated Press. 22 June 2006. 
  10. ^ Brown, Pam (27 June 2006). The West Australian (West Australian Newspapers): p. 5. 
  11. ^ "Frost, Beedles quit soap production roles". Digital Spy. http://www.digitalspy.co.uk/soaps/a79813/frost-beedles-quit-soap-production-roles.html. Retrieved 14 November 2007. 
  12. ^ "Emmerdale's new Producer". ITV.com. http://www.itv.com/Soaps/emmerdale/newsandgossip/Emmerdale%2DsnewProducer/. Retrieved 15 November 2007. 
  13. ^ "New Corrie, 'Emmerdale' producers named". Digital Spy. http://www.digitalspy.co.uk/soaps/a79913/new-corrie-emmerdale-producers-named.html. Retrieved 15 November 2007. 
  14. ^ Holmwood, Leigh (15 January 2009). "ITV exec Richardson leaves Emmerdale after 24 years". guardian.co.uk (London). http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2009/jan/15/emmerdale-keith-richardson-leaves. Retrieved 16 January 2010. 
  15. ^ "Blyth named new 'Emmerdale' producer". Digital Spy. 22 January 2009. http://www.digitalspy.co.uk/soaps/a144215/blyth-named-new-emmerdale-producer.html. Retrieved 16 January 2010. 
  16. ^ Daniel Kilkelly 'Emmerdale producer Blyth dies aged 41' Digital Spy 27 November 2010.

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