In a new series for Soapworld we look back at some of soaps’ most famous locations, starting with the ever dramatic Home Farm of Emmerdale in Home Time.
Originally Miffield Hall the manor house of Beckindale village dates back to the 1500’s although it was drastically altered in the 1700s into the Home Farm we know of today.
The first notable family were the Verney’s who occupied the sprawling mansion; they would also lease on their land a little farm known as Emmerdale to the Sugden family who remained the farmers of the land until the 1990s.
Miffield Hall, and the Miffield estate, has been home to drama long before the cameras began recording village life in 1972 but its recent times that have seen its most memorable moments.
First seen in Yorkshire Television’s Emmerdale Farm in 1973 Miffield Hall in its final days as a Verney family home. The then Lord Miffield, George Verney, had a run in with Jack Sugden of the Emmerdale Farm family, resulting in Verney giving Sugden a good posh horsewhipping outside the local boozer, the Woolpack Inn. Luckily for Jack George later left to live in Cannes and Miffield Hall became a teacher training college. In 1978 following the death of George his nephew Gerald Verney took over the manor as the final short-lived last Lord Miffield.
Following crippling death duties Gerald was forced to sell the family home of 400-years to pay the debts. The estate was sold to a conglomerate called North Yorkshire Estates, or NY Estates for short. It was also a time for change for the area as Beckindale Village saw Miffield Hall renamed Home Farm.
The first manager of NY Estate was the underhand Trevor Thatcher swiftly followed by Mauruce Westrop and then Richard Anstey. In 1982 a pompous oaf called Alan Turner (pictured right, with Joe Sugden) took over Home Farm and bullied and blackmailed the staff of NY Estate to get his own way. One who didn’t suffer Turner’s stupidity was groundsman Seth Armstrong who would often deliberately wind up Turner, leading to a long running catchphrase “Get out Seth!”.
Things slightly mellowed in 1984 when Turner was paired up with secretary Caroline Bates in order to improve Home Farm’s performance, it lead to a long running double act between the two, with a ‘will they, won’t they’ romance to boot.
In 1988 NY Estates pulled out of Home Farm and just when people thought it couldn’t get any worse than the bully-boy Alan Turner in came new owner Dennis Rigg, who set about getting the reputation as the evilest man in Beckindale. Thankfully a bull decided to end his reign and crushed Rigg less than a year later.
It was November 1989 when the second longest running family took over Home Farm, although they couldn’t match the Verney’s 400-years. Frank Tate and his wife Kim and his two children from a previous marriage arrived to add a touch of class to the estate.
This era became one of the most interesting in the history of the house with a siege, a fire, a plane crash and death by dubious behaviour, not once but twice!
She may have started out as the sweet lady of the manor but it didn’t take Kim long to start seeking comfort from other men. The much older Frank struggled to keep his marriage alive with his missus embarking on numerous affairs including with Neil Kincaid and later Dave Glover. Frank would find farmhand Glover and Mrs Tate in bed together leading to the classic line “What do you call this, overtime?” Frank of course sacked Dave from Home Farm however while Kim failed to love Frank anymore she wasn’t swift to want to leave his money. She tried to bonk him to death which lead to her unable to determine who the father was when she fell pregnant. Frank bribed her to say baby James was his rather than Dave Glover’s. Glover would later die in a fire at Home Farm while rescuing James from the blazing nursery room.
The end of the Tate marriage came in 1997 when Frank died of a heart attack in the sitting room of the manor, while Kim calmly stood on and watched. Home Farm was left to Frank’s son, Chris who rather, like Rigg almost a decade before, fancied himself as the village’s most hated man.
Chris was convinced that Kim had killed his father, later she admitted to Chris that she had watched Frank die. When Chris tried to blackmail her into giving him custody of his half-brother James, Kim hit Chris over the head and tipped him out of his wheelchair, pouring whisky over him before escaping with James by helicopter.
Chris had been confined to a wheelchair following the 1993 plane crash which wrecked large parts of the village – and almost killed him when part of the Woolpack Inn came crashing down, covering him in stonework. However his near death experience didn’t change his attitude and he continued to be rather vile to anyone he didn’t particularly like. Home Farm was sold briefly to Stella Jones, a lottery winner in 1998 but returned to the Tates in 1999.
Chris poisoned himself in the Home Farm sitting room in 2003 in order to stitch up his then money-grabbing third wife, Charity, who had been having an affair. Chris had discovered he had a terminal brain tumour so spent all his money in order to leave her with nothing. Home Farm was left to his sister, Zoe.
Zoe was blackmailed into selling Home Farm, at a greatly reduced price, by the King family. She departed the manor in 2005, but decided to give the King’s a final farewell gift. A gas explosion, the house exploded into a fireball but luckily for the King clan it survived.
Businessman Tom King (pictured right), a former resident of Beckindale who decided to return to the area, moved into Home Farm with his children. And if he thought he was to have more luck in the mansion than the Tates, he was soon to be proved wrong.
A bad sign should have been when Chris Tate’s ex-wife Charity started making eyes at him. But there is no fool quite like an old fool and he became involved with the vixen. Charity, once again, was set up and on their wedding day Tom called if off having been given ‘proof’ Charity was cheating on him.
The King’s youngest son, Max, was killed in a road accident and other son Matthew was kicked out of the family empire for choosing love (of a far too common woman) over money. In 2006 Tom however allowed love to rule his life again and married posh bitch Rosemary Sinclair. Their wedding day and Home Farm was to be the death of the head of the family as he fell to his death from a second floor window having being hit on the head by son Carl.
Home Farm fell into the hands of Tom’s sons Carl and Jimmy who were forced to sell up in 2008 when the family faced financial ruin. Mark and Natasha Wylde moved in with their three children. Now surely Home Farm was to have a happy ever after…
Not likely. Mark turned out to be a bigamist. Mark, real name Daniel Lamb, went missing almost 30-years earlier. He told his young wife Faye that he was going to collect a friend from a train station and never came home. They were in serious debt as his company had gone bankrupt. Daniel was later declared legally dead. Unaware of this and the fact that Faye was expecting their child, he moved to France and set up a new identity – Mark Wylde.
Like Tom he also met his end when he was murdered, this time, again, keeping it in the family – as the Tate’s and King’s before them – Mark was shot dead by his wife Natasha in January 2010. However crime finally was seen not to pay and Natasha went to prison for her shocking shooting.
Currently Home Farm is the abode of another businessman – Declan Macey. It doesn’t seem like things are looking up for the current owner either, he like so many before him had a dice with man-eater Charity, he chucked out his wife Ella after discovering she’d been having an affair and more recently the death of his daughter (who isn’t really his daughter) Mia caused a mini breakdown in that famous sitting room.
A sure sign of trouble is Declan’s involvement with a Sugden. He’s currently snuggling up to Katie Sugden who has just moved into Home Farm.
The location is currently one of Emmerdale’s longest running places having first been seen in 1973 and regularly on-screen since 1980. The real location is Creskeld Hall in West Yorkshire.
Emmerdale airs weeknights on ITV