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 ITV's second longest running television soap opera (after Coronation Street), and attracts on average between six and eight million viewers per episode.
- 2 Characters, residences and businesses
- 3 The first episode
- 4 Series overview
- 5 Families in Emmerdale
- 6 Storylines
- 7 Viewing figures
- 8 Awards and nominations
- 9 Filming locations
- 10 Sponsorship
- 11 List of longest serving Emmerdale actors
- 12 Scheduling
- 13 Overseas
- 14 Theme tunes
- 15 Series producers
- 16 See also
- 17 References
- 18 External links
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.List of Emmerdale characters
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 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, 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 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.
Characters introduced in the first episode of Emmerdale Farm were:
- Annie Sugden (Sheila Mercier)
- Jack Sugden (Andrew Burt)
- Peggy Skilbeck (Jo Kendall)
- Matt Skilbeck (Frederick Pyne)
- Joe Sugden (Frazer Hines)
- Sam Pearson (Toke Townley)
- Amos Brearly (Ronald Magill)
- Henry Wilks (Arthur Pentelow)
- Marian Wilks (Gail Harrison)
- Alec Saunders (Alan Tucker)
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. The Windsor family arrived in 1993.
|||This section does not cite any references or sources. Please help improve this section by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged andremoved. (February 2012)|
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 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 and mid-2000s saw 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), the bus crash, the Kings River explosion, Sarah Sugden's death at the hands of her adopted son in the barn fire, the Sugden House Fire, which was caused in 2007 by Victoria Sugden seeking the truth about her mother's death seven years earlier, 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 to the soap in 2009.
In 2009, the longest-serving character, Jack Sugden, was killed off, following the death the previous year 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 overseen some very strong storylines such as the Wylde family's dramas and the start of the Aaron and Jackson Saga) and his fairly sudden 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.
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. On 25 June 2012, it was announced that Tony Prescott, who directed theCoronation Streets 50th anniversary live episode in December 2010 would direct the episode. On 23 July 2012, it was reported that an ITV2 Backstage Show titled Emmerdale Uncovered: Live would be broadcast after the live episode. On 14 August 2012, it was announced that the Emmerdale production team are building a new Woolpack set for the live episode. Although Emmerdales village and studio-based interior sets are miles apart, show bosses were keen for The Woolpack to feature in the special episode. 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. 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.
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 is set to have major repercussions for the village, as one of the continuing strong storylines that will take the show into 2013, at which time a new series producer will take 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 who will return on-screen in November. 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 appearence (offscreen) on 24th October.
Like with many soaps, Emmerdale has produced many memorable families over the past 40 years, many of them defining an entire era of the show the Sugdens and their extended relatives the Merricks and the Skilbecks, were at the centre of the show during the soaps first two decades during the 1970s and 1980s when the series was still called Emmerdale Farm; the Sugden's were the soaps first family as they owned Emmerdale Farm and although many of its members have either left or been killed off gradually since the mid-1990s.
There are still some Sugdens left in the village, such as Jack Sugden's widow; Diane Sugden his two children Andy Sugden and Victoria Sugden, Andy's children to Debbie Dingle; Sarah and Jack (the latter was born on 16 October 2012, forty years after the show started) and lastly Andy's ex-wife Katie Sugden (now Macey), however following the arrival of the wealthy, glamorous Tates in 1989 (their arrival coincided with the Farm being dropped from the title), 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 Sugden's would take a back seat role in the show, The Tate, The Windsor/Hope, The Dingle and The King families 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 an era often cited by critics and fans alike as being Emmerdale's golden age due to the big storylines of those two decades such as 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 House Collapse in 2006, all of which the Tate's, Windsor-Hope's and Dingle families were directly involved with.
By the mid to late 2000s however, the last of the Tate family; Zoe Tate, her daughter Jean Tate and her nephew Joseph Tate had vacated Home Farm for a new life in New Zealand in early 2006, various members of the Windsor-Hope's 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 2013 there are no Windsor's left in the village and only the Hope branch of the family; Bob and his twin children; Cathy and Heathcliff Hope remain.
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, with many of its members becoming business owners and hold professional jobs, such as Chas Dingle owning half of the Woolpack and Marlon being a chef.
As of 2013, The Kings (who have been in the show since 2004), along with The Sharma, Barton, Macey and Spencer families have now taken the centre spot in the show previously occupied by the Tate, Windsor-Hope and Dingle families and are now majorly involved in Emmerdale's storylines and have begun a new era in the show.Major Emmerdale storylines
The following three sections highlight the major disasters, exits, and other episodes with high viewing figures.
|This section describes a work or element of fiction in a primarily in-universe style. Please help rewrite it to explain the fiction more clearly and provide non-fictional perspective. (December 2012)|
|This section possibly contains original research. Please improve it by verifying the claims made and adding inline citations. Statements consisting only of original research may be removed. (May 2012)|
Emmerdale has featured a number of incidents and disasters over the years. Some are listed below:
- 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 took Linda Fowler for a late-night drive and crashed through a fence on to a tree while trying to snort cocaine. He removed Linda from the passenger seat as she was starting to wake up and moved her to the driver's 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 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 go 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 go to a hotel for some private time, booked by their son, as they had decided not to divorce after all. Whilst driving, John hits a patch of black ice and the Land Rover crashes into a ravine. Moira is rescued by Declan Macey and Katie Sugden but the vehicle falls off a ledge into the ravine with John trapped inside. He later died in hospital.
- 2012 – On Emmerdale's 40th anniversary, Carl King is brutally murdered by love rival Cameron Murray when he is hit with a brick, after attempting to rape former lover Chas Dingle.
- 2012 – After an argument, Declan Macey tries to run away. Katie Macey follows him, but ends up falling into a mine shaft and being trapped underground. She is later found by Sam Dingle after she crawled through the mineshaft and ends up in a wheelchair, and later collapses in the Woolpack in pain and learns in hospital that she has to have an ovary removed.
- 2013 - Genesis Walker's car careers off a country road and tumbles down a ravine following a high speed chase by Cameron Murray and Debbie Dingle after she overhears Cameron confessing to the murder of Carl King. Cameron then pulls a semi-conscious Gennie out of the destroyed vehicle and murders her by suffocation.
- 2013 - On Emmerdale's 41st anniversary, Cameron Murray escapes from prison and holds 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 are rescued and Cameron is electrocuted to death.
|||This section does not cite any references or sources. Please help improve this section by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged andremoved. (November 2012)|
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 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 13 July 2006, The Kings River house collapse was seen by 7.06 million viewers. 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 Thursday 14 January 2010, 9.96 million viewers watched Mark Wylde being shot dead by his wife Natasha Wylde. The following night (27 October 2010) an audience of nearly 8 million tuned in forNatasha Wylde's confession to the crime after her daughter Maisie pushed for the truth. On 13 January 2011, 9.04 million watched as a fire, killed characters Viv Hope and Terry Woods. On 17 October 2012, 10.02 million watched the live episode celebrating 40 years of Emmerdale. On 16 October 2013, 9.08 million watched Cameron hold the occupants of The Woolpack hostage and shoot Alicia.
Further information: List of awards and nominations received by Emmerdale==Filming locations==Esholt, West Yorkshire, used for the outdoor exterior scenes from 1976–1997The 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 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. TheBenton 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).
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 and Emmerdale's first sponsorship was Daz from 14 December 1999 to 20 February 2002., the original sponsor; brands Heinz Tomato Ketchup and HeinzSalad 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 will expire in March 2014.
The 21 Emmerdale actors to have achieved at least 16 years service are listed in the table below. 12 of them are former cast members. The next actor expected to achieve this milestone is Elizabeth Estensen, who in 2015 will have played Diane Sugden continuously for 16 years. 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. Christopher Chittell looks set to surpass this record in 2018, by which point he will have played Eric Pollard for 32 years.
|1||Richard Thorp||Alan Turner||1982–2013 (31 years)|
|2||Clive Hornby||Jack Sugden||1980–2008 (28 years)|
|3||Chris Chittell||Eric Pollard||1986– (27 years)|
|4||Stan Richards||Seth Armstrong||1978–2003, 2004 (25 years)|
|5||Frazer Hines||Joe Sugden||1972–83, 1984, 1986–1994 (22 years)|
|6||Sheila Mercier||Annie Sugden||1972–94, 1995, 1996, 2009 (22 years)|
|7||Paula Tilbrook||Betty Eagleton||1994– (19 years)|
|8||Ronald Magill||Amos Brearly||1972–1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995 (19 years)|
|9||Steve Halliwell||Zak Dingle||1994–2002, 2003– (19 years)|
|10||Arthur Pentelow||Henry Wilks||1972–1991 (18 years)|
|11||Deena Payne||Viv Hope||1993–2011 (17 years)|
|12||Frederick Pyne||Matt Skilbeck||1972–1989 (17 years)|
|13||James Hooton||Sam Dingle||1995–1998, 2000– (17 years)|
|14||Kelvin Fletcher||Andy Sugden||1996– (17 years)|
|15||Mark Charnock||Marlon Dingle||1996– (17 years)|
|16||Jane Cox||Lisa Dingle||1996– (17 years)|
|17||John Middleton||Ashley Thomas||1996– (17 years)|
|18||Dominic Brunt||Paddy Kirk||1997- (16 years)|
|19||Malandra Burrows||Kathy Glover||1985–2001, 2005 (16 years)|
|20||Leah Bracknell||Zoe Tate||1989–2005 (16 years)|
|21||Billy Hartman||Terry Woods||1995–2011 (16 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 ITV.