From Academic Kids

Missing image
The opening title the show has used since 1998.

Emmerdale (known as Emmerdale Farm until 1989) is a British television soap opera set in the fictional Yorkshire village of the same name (known as Beckindale until 1994). The show was created by Kevin Laffan. It is the third ranking soap opera on British television, behind the BBC's EastEnders and Granada Television's Coronation Street.

Much of the action in this series is set in the village pub, The Woolpack. It is produced by Yorkshire Television 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, before in the 1980s, moving to its current position as an early evening programme.

The village itself was originally played by the real village of Esholt, which has become a tourist attraction on this account. Now a purpose built set is used, which is in Harewood. The market town of Hotton is played by real-life Otley, and Benton Park School in Rawdon plays a fictional location, as does the primary school in Farnley.


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 'live' filming on a farm, 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, with the name of the farm becoming the name of the show. 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. 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 been supplanted, with the Dingle and King families now taking centre stage.

Plane crash storyline

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 (which killed many long standing characters and led to the onscreen renaming of Beckindale to Emmerdale), gained a lot of press and audience attention 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.

Popularity and scheduling

The show is now ranked high in the British popularity stakes.

The programme is also popular in Sweden, where it has been shown since the 1970s (originally on TV2, since 1994 on commercial channel TV4), and in Finland, where it is currently aired five days a week by MTV3.

Emmerdale is notable for being the UK's (and possibly the world's) first television soap opera to regularly produce six episodes a week (screening every night at 7pm except Saturday), a practice which began in early 2004.

External links

Emmerdale was also the title of the debut album by The Cardigans.sv:Hem till gården


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