Emmerdale celebrates its 35th anniversary this week and so the writers penned an ‘explosive’ special episode. Let me ask you, if there’s a fire on your street, do you: a) call the emergency services b) call the emergency services or c) call the emergency services. Obviously we all live in a different world to the Emmerdale lot cos I’m not even sure I heard anyone say: "Call 999!" Did the writers think they’d gone back to 1972 when nobody had mobile phones? Are you seriously telling me that with all the village assembled, not one person could whip out their mobile phone sooner? Did a sub script editor really read over that script and not point it out to them? I honestly wonder what goes on in the minds of soap writers at times. Anyway, it’s time to acknowledge the old soap so for 35 years, here’s 35 bits of trivia for you.
1. Emmerdale was known as Emmerdale Farm until November 1989
2. Emmerdale is the third highest-rating soap opera on British television, behind Coronation Street and EastEnders.
3. Emmerdale was first aired on 16 October 1972.
4. Emmerdale’s first matriarch was the legendary Annie Sugden, played by actress Sheila Mercier.
5. Welsh mezzo-soprano singer Katherine Jenkins made a cameo appearance in Emmerdale. She opened a village event.
6. Emmerdale Farm was originally modelled on the revolutionary soap-opera The Riordans
7. The first episode of Emmerdale Farm opened with the funeral of Jacob Sugden on the 16 October 1972.
8. The first lines uttered in this first episode were spoken by Peggy Skilbeck: "Matt, who’s she?"
9. Emmerdale pulled off a remarkable casting coup when they secured the services of Neighbours’ Anne Charleston (Madge Bishop).
10. EastEnders legends Pam St Clement and Ross Kemp appeared in Emmerdale back when it was Emmerdale Farm. Pam St Clement played a Mrs Eckersley in 1979 and Ross Kemp was Graham Lodsworth in 1986.
11. The first episode was shown on defunct channel Granada Plus on 1st January 2000.
12. Emmerdale is notable for being the first television soap opera in the UK to regularly produce six episodes a week.
13. On Christmas Day 2005, Emmerdale attracted 6.2 million viewers when the villagers searched for Daz Eden and Belle Dingle.
14. On Monday 24 April 2006, 8.5 million viewers watched as Sam Dingle and Alice Wilson got married.
15. On Monday 25 December 2006, over 7 million viewers watched as Tom King got pushed out of a window and fell to his death on his wedding day to Rosemary Sinclair.
16. "Nah, Luton Airport!" It was a popular 1970s catchphrase made famous by Cockney model Lorraine Chase. She found fame again as Stephanie Stokes on Emmerdale.
17. Former Brooksider-turned-movie-star Anna Friel played Emmerdale’s Poppy Bruce in 1992
18. I don’t believe it! Richard Wilson turned up in Emmerdale as a solicitor named Mr Hall in 1986
19. Emmerdale has gone head to head with BBC’s EastEnders on several occasions over the past couple of years and emerged on top.
20. The ‘Who Killed Tom King?’ plot came to a close on Thursday 17 May 2007, when the murderer was revealed. Emmerdale gained an average 8.6 million viewers, which peaked to 9.1 million viewers when Tom’s son Carl confessed to the murder.
21. Tricia Penrose from Heartbeat appeared as Elsa Feldmann’s best friend Louise in 1991
22. Spice Girl Mel B was an extra on the soap in 1994
23. Coronation Street actress Bev Callard (Liz McDonald) appeared in Emmerdale as Angie Richards in 1983.
24. Old episodes of Emmerdale Farm were repeated in the 1990s on defunct channel Sky Soap.
25. When Emmerdale Farm changed its name to Emmerdale, there was an outcry from fans.
26. 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.
27. Several Emmerdale books, fiction and non-fiction, have been produced, a number written by Lance Parkin (who had been a writer on the show) and Hugh Miller.
28. Auf Wiedersehen Pet’s Tim Healy, who played Sean Tully’s dad in Coronation Street, also appeared in Emmerdale back in 1977.
29. Wet Wet Wet singer Marti Pellow sang in Emmerdale’s Woolpack in 2001.
30. 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.
31. Is This The Way To Amarillo’s Tony Christie duetted as himself with Diane Sugden in 2005.
32. Strictly Come Dancing rugby star Martin Offiah made a guest appearance on Emmerdale in 1996.
33. There are also several Emmerdale videos including The Dingles Down Under, The Woolpackers and Don’t Look Now! – The Dingles in Venice.
34. The first 26 episodes of ‘Emmerdale Farm’ are available on a four disc set. They cover the years 1972-73.
35. Tony Blair’s father-in-law Tony Booth (who appeared in Till Death Us Do Part), played Errol Michaels in Emmerdale.
That’s all for now. Join me on Friday for some more soap gossip. Got a comment about your favourite soap, this blog or anything else? Share it with me.
MSN’s Eye On Soaps
MSN’s Eye On Soaps