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Emmerdale History

Set in a picturesque farming village of the Yorkshire Dales, Emmerdale has won over audiences with its unique mix of rural life and high drama.

Originally known as Emmerdale Farm, the first episode hit British screens on ITV in 1972 and revolved around the conflict between the farming family, the Sugdens, and the wealthy Tate dynasty.

Over the years, the Dingle and King families were introduced from the nearby village of Beckindale and the soap became known simply as Emmerdale in 1989.

For a small rural village, Emmerdale has had its fair share of disasters: From the now infamous plane crash in 1993, to armed robberies, shootings, explosions, fearsome storms and far more road accidents than you would expect for a village with one road.

When wealthy businessman Tom King (Ken Farrington) was murdered in 2007, Emmerdale producers created the first ever interactive storyline for a major TV show. Viewers could investigate 10 suspicious characters, using clues on their website, before the killer was revealed during an hour-long episode of the show.

While Emmerdale still presents a picture of rural life, it has changed to incorporate a wider spectrum of characters, including the first gay couple to live in the village and bringing in a number of younger actors, like policeman Ross Kirk (Samuel Anderson) and sultry heiress Anna De Souza (Emma Davies).

Early in 2008, Emmerdale tragically lost one of its longest-serving citizens, Jack Sugden, when actor Clive Hornby suddenly died. Other veterans stars remaining in the village include Chris Chittell (Eric Pollard), Richard Thorp (Alan Turner) and Deena Payne (Viv Hope).