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Emmerdale reaches 10,000 episodes

Soapworld

Emmerdale reaches 10,000 episodes

It isn’t all good news though, EastEnders has reclaimed its spot as the second UK soap with a ratings increase…

On Wednesday 22nd May 2024 the series which began life in 1972 as Emmerdale Farm will air its 10,000th episode and the cast gathered in the village to mark the occasion. The Yorkshire-based serial drama was originally commissioned for just 26 episodes.

A stalwart of ITV’s nightly schedule, globally successful Emmerdale is currently airing six episodes of drama each week on ITV, STV, STV Player and ITVX and screening in seven territories worldwide; Australia, New Zealand, Eire, Canada, Sweden, Finland and the United States.

To celebrate the 10,000 episode milestone Emmerdale has decided to thank the local community for its endless support by helping with the maintenance of 10000 trees. Head of Production Nader Mabadi explains how they are swapping the Woolpack for the Woodland:

“Our Studios and Village are a large part of the community, helping us beam the beautiful Yorkshire Dales to countries across the world, and all of us on the team are grateful to the Leeds and the wider Yorkshire communities for their continued support over the last 52 years of filming Emmerdale in the region. With this in mind we thought a great way to celebrate our 10 000 milestone would be to pay that support forward, by making a sustainable contribution to the local environment in helping with the woodland project near to our village.

“The University of Leeds Gair Wood project aims to build up an ecological corridor, taking carbon from the atmosphere and improving the biodiversity of the countryside, so this summer the Emmerdale Production team are swapping the Woolpack for the woodland and under the guidance of Dr Cat Scott and Dr Thomas Sloan from the University of Leeds, we will be helping with the maintenance of 10 000 young trees on site, ensuring the beauty of our part of the world is retained for generations to come.” 

The series spent most of the 1970s and 80s in the daytime schedules across the then ITV regions, with only a handful eventually showing it in primetime. Anglia Television – annoyed that their similar serial Weavers Green had been ditched in the 60s – kept Emmerdale in the afternoon schedules for many years and even when Emmerdale Farm began airing at 7pm in a lot of areas the daytime soap Crossroads still managed to outrate it – quite an amazing feat considering it was shown at different times and days across the UK.

A stroke of luck, however, happened in 1987. ITV had planned to move Crossroads into network primetime, but Central Television boss Andy Allan, who made the series, made a deal to produce more primetime dramas rather than soap and traded in the slots giving viewers more episodes of dramas such as Boon. It proved a great opportunity for Emmerdale Farm – but it had to change. Several promotions and production changes – including dropping ‘farm’ from the title in 1989 – failed to lure in the viewing figures its then-deceased West Midland counterpart had drawn in. It wasn’t until 1993 and the ‘last chance’ revamp for Emmerdale that made it the must-see soap it became. A plane dropped on Beckindale Village and the rest is history.

Over the years the Yorkshire Television (now ITV Yorkshire) soap went from two episodes a week up to three, five and now six (usually two episodes put together on Thursdays to make an hour-long offering).

While the show marks 10,000 episodes it also slips back into third watched soap in the UK with EastEnders – which has gone from its deathbed to arguably the best saga on the telly thanks to the revival of its flagging fortunes by producer Chris Clenshaw – most recently pulling in an impressive EastEnders 4.10 million viewers – UP 480K year on year while Emmerdale peaked with 3.86 million; DOWN year on year 230K. Coronation Street remains in first place, currently, with 4.36 million; DOWN 350K year on year.

Emmerdale aired its 5000th episode in 2008.

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