ITV3 add Emmerdale to classic output

ITV3 is to begin screening classic episodes of Emmerdale later this month.

The cast of Emmerdale in 1990.

The repeat run commences on January 21st with two episodes being shown each afternoon, with it noted the screenings will begin with November 1989 editions when ‘farm’ was dropped from the programme’s title. However, the original Emmerdale Farm theme tune arrangement, by Tony Hatch, and the slower paced storylines continued through into the 1990s when the show was given a faster-paced theme and format culminating in the infamous ‘plane crash’ of 1993.

The 1989 story begins with Chris Tate arriving in the village of Beckindale – as it then was – with the residents unaware he’s the son of the new owners of Home Farm, which was previously the base of NY Estates run by Alan Turner (Richard Thorp) and Joe Sugden (Frazer Hines). Alan would later take over The Woolpack Inn from Amos Brearly (Ronald Magill) and Henry Wilks (Arthur Pentelow). Other regulars in this era included village stalwart Seth Armstrong (Stan Richards), businessman Eric Pollard (Chris Chittell) and of course the Sugden family residing at Emmerdale Farm overseen by Annie (Sheila Mercier) and son Jack (Clive Hornby).

Jack Sugden, kept the farm going through tough times.

Annie Sugden, firm but fair, oversaw the farm after the death of her husband Jacob.

The Tate family were introduced to boost ratings in the southern regions of ITV, where the saga had failed to gain much attention. The series by the late 1980s had been promoted to a primetime slot, having spent most of the 1970s as a daytime serial. With the introduction of Frank Tate (Norman Bowler), his second wife Kim (Claire King) and his children Chris (Peter Amory) and Zoe (Leah Bracknell) it was hoped the glamourous upper-class family would appeal to viewers who had previously turned away from the saga which had been given a rather inaccurate ‘sleepy’ and ‘boring’ reputation by the tabloid press.

Emmerdale Farm was devised by Kevin Laffan for Yorkshire Television in 1972 when ITV began afternoon programming. Kevin had previously written a twice-weekly series for the company called Castle Haven, set in a Leeds block of flats, starring future Corrie regular Roy Barraclough, EastEnders’ Gretchin Franklin and Crossroads’ Kathy Staff. Emmerdale Farm was launched alongside medical soap General Hospital – which despite being moved into primetime almost a decade before Emmerdale Farm was axed in 1979 following more gritty offerings from the BBC such as Angels. The original Emmerdale Farm saga revolved around the Sugden family of the farm and their friends in the village of Beckindale.

Changes at Home Farm, Alan Turner and Joe Sugden made way for the Tate family.

Henry and Amos made sure patrons got a ‘respectable’ welcome to The Woolpack, if not very warm.

The introduction of classic Emmerdale follows ITV3’s continuing run of classic Coronation Street which the network began in October 2017 with episodes from 1986 and the arrival of one of Corrie’s biggest baddies Alan Bradley (Mark Eden). The episodes are now into 1991. Following the success of the street on ITV3 in August last year UKTV’s Drama channel began rescreening classic EastEnders, beginning with episode one from 1985.

Soap repeats have proved successful in recent years for the Local TV services in parts of the UK. Village set serial Take The High Road being one of STV2’s most-watched programmes in Scotland, while BCTV in the West Midlands screened classic of episodes of Crossroads from the 1960s and 70s. The motel saga became their most-watched programme. Southern Television’s early 80s serial Together has also had a successful rescreening on Talking Pictures TV.

The big link to the Emmerdale repeats, Kim Tate, reappeared briefly in modern-day Emmerdale late last year with the queen of Home Farm set to return to the series once more in 2019.

Seth, a regular in the village for decades.

Naomi Lewis & Cy Chadwick as Elsa Feldmann & Nick Bates were just some of the new young blood injected into Emmerdale in the late 80s.

Malandra Burrows as Kathy would be a long running regular.

The Tate family brought a touch of southern glamour to Beckindale.

The Woolpack, back in the 1990s.
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