ITV - EMMERDALE
Emmerdale (known as Emmerdale Farm until 1989) is a British television soap opera set in the fictional West Yorkshire village of the same name (known as Beckindale until 1994). Much of the action takes place within the fictional village pub, The Woolpack. The show was created by Kevin Laffan. It is the third highest-rating soap opera on British television, behind Coronation Street and EastEnders.
The series is produced by Yorkshire Television (YTV) and broadcast on the ITV network, and was first aired on October 16, 1972. It was originally conceived and broadcast as a daytime programme in an afternoon slot, moving to its current position as an early evening programme in the 1980s.
Emmerdale is shown from Sunday to Friday at 7pm on ITV1. Repeat episodes and omnibuses of the show can be seen on ITV2.
Origins of Emmerdale
Emmerdale Farm was originally modelled on the revolutionary soap-opera The Riordans, made by RTÉ, Ireland's broadcaster, from the 1960s to the mid 1970s. The Riordans broke the mould for soap operas by being filmed largely out of doors on a farm owned in the storyline by Tom and Mary Riordan, rather than, as was the norm in British and American soap operas, being almost totally filmed in studios. (Even 'outdoor' scenes were traditionally filmed indoors.) The Riordans pioneered location shooting, with real farm animals, 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 out of doors. Yorkshire Television sent people to The Riordans set in County Meath in Ireland to see the making of the programme at first hand.
On the basis of what they saw, the station began preparations for its own rural-based, outdoor-filmed, soap opera, called Emmerdale Farm. As with The Riordans, it was to be focused on one family, the Sugdens, and the name of their farm was also the name of the show.
Evolution of Emmerdale
Initially the show focused on the farm Emmerdale Farm, and the Sugden family who lived on and ran that farm. As time went on, the show's focus moved to the nearby village of Beckindale. To reflect this change, the show's name was changed in 1989 to Emmerdale. Coinciding with the name change was the introduction of the Tates, who would emerge as the soap's leading family in the 1990s, overshadowing the Sugdens. In turn, the Tate family has since been supplanted, with the Dingle and King families taking centre stage in the mid/late 1990s.
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 town's hotel, The Falcon, was used to represent the fictional Woolpack Hotel. Eventually the location of the shooting location became publicly known, which is perhaps what prompted the move to the village of Esholt. This location also became a tourist attaction. Now a purpose built set in Harewood is used. Location footage of the fictional market town of Hotten is shot in Otley. The Benton Park School in Rawdon and the primary school in Farnley are also used as shooting locations. Indoor scenes are mostly filmed in the Emmerdale production centre in Leeds (located next to the main YTV building). Follow this link and if you have Google Earth, click on 'Open This Placemark' to go to a high-resolution satellite image of the YTV set on the Harewood estate.
Plane Crash Storyline 1993
Until 1993, the show was largely ignored by press and viewers alike in the face of much more well known soaps such as Coronation Street, EastEnders and Brookside. However, a sensational plotline involving a plane crashing on to the village of Beckindale killing many long standing characters and leading to the onscreen renaming of Beckindale to Emmerdale (the village name change was a tribute to the Sugden Family whose farm was known as Emmerdale Farm) gained a lot of press and audience attention, rating 18 million viewers for the series of special episodes and cemented the show's place among the top UK soaps. This plot line attracted controversy due to the similarity to the Lockerbie disaster: it was aired near to the time of the fifth anniversary of that disaster.
Stormy conditions at Emmerdale
The Storm 2004
Emmerdale was to experience another big disaster ten years on from the plane crash as a storm put villagers in peril. The storyline paved the way for Tricia Dingle's exit storyline and provide a lot of new year drama and a ratings boost for the show. The storm hit the village on New Year's Eve 2003 and saw popular characters such as Ashley Thomas, Louise Appleton and Nicola Blackstock become stuck on the roads as a result of the terrible weather. The episode also focused on Marlon and Tricia Dingle. Marlon had had a one-night stand with his cousin Charity Tate when Tricia was in India and when Tricia learned about her husband's infidelity she decided to leave him and the Dales. However upon reading the 101 reasons as to why Marlon loved her, she decided to reconcile with him and headed back to The Woolpack. However, when she was just outside the pub, lighting stuck an oak tree which caused Tricia to trip, and another bolt hit the roof of The Woolpack causing the roof to collapse and the chimney to fall through. This in turn caused the wall of the pub to collapse onto a helpless Tricia. She was taken to hospital critically injured and was put on life support until Marlon decided to finally let her go. Ashley and Louise were rescued from the rubble in an extension of the storyline which saw popular character Bernice Thomas make a brief return. Ratings soared and the storyline went down in Emmerdale history. The year to come would see the show gain an even higher profile.
Kings River Explosion 2006
On Thursday 13 July 2006, The Kings unveiled their brand new showhome which was to house married couple, Marlon Dingle and Donna Windsor-Dingle. But when local resident, Noreen Bell opened a cupboard door inside the house it triggered a spark that let rip a huge gas explosion which catapulted her down the stairs. The explosion ripped through the bathroom floor tossing Jimmy King and Sadie King to opposite sides of the bathroom. The estate agent David Brown, who was located near the cupboard, was set alight. While running towards the house Marlon and Donna were also thrown back by another explosion. Debris started to fly towards the residents as the house started to explode in various places. Diane Sugden was knocked out by a collapsing ceiling while Danny Daggert and Dawn Woods, who were running behind her, got caught in another explosion. The bathroom floor gave way and Jimmy fell through, shortly followed by Sadie. The house then fully collapsed as the residents of Emmerdale stood in shock. Three were confirmed dead: Noreen Bell, who was hit by the full force of the initial explosion and died instantly, Dawn Woods, who was rescued from the rubble but later died in hospital as a result of internal injuries, and the estate agent David Brown.
In October 2006, ITV announced plans for a fully interactive storyline, surrounding the death of Tom King, who will be killed off on Christmas Day, 2006. The ensuing weeks will be full of twists and turns as some of the show’s most popular characters are placed at the centre of the enquiry, facing fierce interrogation in the hunt for the killer - the police are determined to leave no stone unturned.
In a world first, the whole storyline is to be fully interactive allowing viewers the opportunity of becoming super sleuths to help solve the crime via a dedicated ITV online portal. To be launched in November, it will consist of blogs, clues, secret e-mails and voicemails. Emmerdale Online is being created for ITV by Branded Storytelling producers Hoodlum.
The viewer will be taken inside the show and have direct online interaction with the storyline. The cast will be seen trying to piece together the murder and their findings will, in turn, be immediately available for viewers to tap into online.
To add to the mystery, and for the first time ever, Emmerdale will film 10 secret scenes, each showing a different suspect committing the murder and therefore enabling 10 different possible outcomes. As a result, even the cast and crew won’t know who the killer is.
The official "Who Killed Tom King?" website:
First Clue: The Death Treat sent December 25th,
lied. You've cheated.
So I will.
Second Clue: The names of the ten Emmerdale murder 'suspects' are revealed.
The suspects were named as:
Popularity and Scheduling
Emmerdale Farm started as an afternoon soap opera on the ITV Network in 1972. Soon after the start the majority of ITV regions chose to accommodate the programme in the 7pm Tuesday and Thursday slot. Anglia Television and Thames Television preferred a Monday and Tuesday 5:15pm slot and saw the week's episodes before the rest of the network. In January 1988, all ITV regions networked the show in the Wednesday and Thursday 6.30pm slot. Anglia Television and Central Television chose to move the programme to 7pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays in February 1989 as they were screening the new daily Australian drama Home and Away in the Emmerdale slot. This was the first time Anglia had screened Emmerdale in the 7pm slot. Central were simply returning to the slots they used until December 1987.
For a period Anglia and Central saw episodes one week later than other regions. From January 1990 all other regions followed the Central and Anglia schedule in the familiar Tuesday and Thursday 7pm slot. During the mid 1990s Scottish Television used the 7pm slot to show daily regional programmes resulting in Emmerdale moving to 5:10pm. Scottish Television had always given preference to their own countryside soap opera Take The High Road which accommodated a 7pm slot.
After only several months in the earlier slot Scottish returned Emmerdale to the 7pm slot. By this time ITV had opted to increase their output to three episodes a week with the additional episode being screened on Wednesdays. In 2000 a further two episodes were added on a Monday and Friday evening. A sixth one to air on Sundays began in 2004.
The show is now ranked high in the British popularity stakes, being outdone regularly only by the two major mainstream British soaps, EastEnders and Coronation Street. However, recent hour-long episodes which have competed with EastEnders have won the battle for viewing figures.
On Christmas Day 2005 Emmerdale attracted 6.2 million viewers where the villagers searched for Daz Eden and Belle Dingle who fell down a mine shaft.
On Monday 24 April 2006 8.5 million viewers watched as Sam Dingle and Alice Wilson got married.
Emmerdale is notable for being the first television soap opera in the UK (and possibly the world) to regularly produce six episodes a week, shown every night, except Saturday, at 7 p.m.
Outside the UK, Emmerdale reaches viewers in the Republic of Ireland, where UTV from Northern Ireland is widely available, although TV3 also show the programme.
The programme is also aired in Sweden under the title Hem till gården which translates to Home to the Farm, In Sweden it has been shown since the 1970s (originally on TV2, and then on commercial channel TV4 since 1994). TV4 resumed the programme after its regular summer break on 4 September 2006. Episodes are shown at 12.25pm with a repeat on their TV4+ channel in the evening at 5.10pm and a third opportunity to watch the following morning around 11.30am on TV4.
Episodes most recently screened were from 2003. It also airs in Finland, where it is currently aired five days a week by MTV3. Although four years behind today's episodes, the programme is also popular in Canada on the CBC, three days a week at 2:00 p.m. EST (Eastern Standard Time). It is also being shown in New Zealand on TV One at 12.30pm, and is currently shown on Granada UKTV in the Middle East.
Emmerdale was shown in Australia for the first time in July 2006 when UK.TV on cable television provider Foxtel began screening episodes from 2006.
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.
Disasters in Emmerdale
In addition to the sensational Plane Crash storyline, the Woolpack was blown up in the 1990s, and recently Kings River showhome collapsed after several explosions caused by a gas leak. The collapse claimed threes lives, Noreen Bell and estate agent David Brown were killed in the explosion and Dawn Woods later died in hospital from internal injuries.
Other disasters include:
(Those who left through death are listed below.)
Several Emmerdale books, fiction and non-fiction, have been produced, a number written by Lance Parkin (who had been a storyliner on the TV show). At least one of these was also translated into Finnish. There are also several videos including The Dingles down under, The Woolpackers and Don't Look Now!- The Dingles in Venice.
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