The links between one of the UK’s most popular soaps, and our hometown of Harrogate, are many.
Emmerdale Farm began in 1972, but it became a major soap in the late eighties. It dropped the Farm from its name in 1989 and regularly attracts millions of viewers for its six weekly evening slots. Stories have often been national news, from the infamous plane crash in 1993 to the new century’s devastating New Year’s Eve storm.
The series resonate more in Harrogate than some other parts of the country; many stars get involved with local events, and the town has even featured in several episodes. Some of those include Robbie Lawson spending the day in the town with Priya Sharma in 2012 and a storyline featuring a fictional TV show, The Real Hairdressers of Harrogate. Paddy Kirk, another series favourite, is often said to visit Harrogate to visit his poorly mother, too.
There’s no doubt that tales of the Dales have become a staple of many people’s viewing across the UK, and that has, in turn, led to lots of spinoffs and other media tie-ins. There will soon be a multi-soap crossover, where characters from Coronation Street, Emmerdale, EastEnders, Casualty, Holby City, Hollyoaks and Doctors will be involved in a climate change-themed episode. It won’t be the first time we’ve seen Emmerdale outside of its usual evening television slot, with other depictions in digital media and the wider entertainment world.
Life in the Yorkshire Dales doesn’t sound like an obvious setting for a video game, but those digital media fans can find several outlets for their Emmerdale fandom.
There’s an interactive DVD game with more than 700 questions for fans of the series to answer and play along with in teams at home. It’s perfect for the Emmerdale fan with lots of friends, but individuals home alone can find digital media to amuse them as well. There are a couple of themed slots amongst the Gala Bingo titles, namely Emmerdale Fun Drops and Emmerdale Wild Woolpack, for lone players to enjoy. Most of the game action is focused around quizzes, with plenty to be found across different sites and providers. Some feature just one quiz, such as those found on sites like All VIP, whilst others have entire sections dedicated to the soap. Sadly, as yet, there isn’t a game that lets you take Zak Dingle on a tour of the Woolpack, but it is sure to come! If you wish to have something Emmerdale related on your mobile device, there’s an Emmerdale App on Android and iOS that features spoilers and discussion.
There have been many different spinoffs for fans to enjoy, which added context and celebrated big moments. One of the most recent, in 2020, was the hilarious Emmerdale: Soapy Slip-Ups, which featured many of the funniest moments from the show’s history. Two multi-part documentaries caught the eye as well; 2012’s Emmerdale at 40, and the 2018 release Emmerdale 1918, a six-part special marking the end of World War I. Other big shows you might be able to unearth are Farewell Seth – A Tribute to Stan Richards (2005) and Last Orders for Amos (1991), a tribute to Ronald Magill, aka Amos Brearly.
Several books have been released featuring the characters from the show, starting back in 1977 with Lee Mackenzie’s series. They featured stories from the show’s early years when much of the focus was still on farming. James Ferguson continued those books deep into the late eighties, although the last stories to be told came from the 1985 episodes. Pamela Bell wrote some historical books looking at Beckindale, the fictional village in which the show is set, through the World Wars. Those who are crafty amongst you might even have found the Emmerdale knitting book by Richard Poppleton.