The 1998 Purpose-Built Set is the set currently used by the Emmerdale crew to film exterior scenes for the main village, including Tall Trees Cottage, the Cricket Pavilion and the Ford. The set is built on the Harewood House estate and has been used as the primary filming location since January 1998 and was built as a replica of Esholt, where the exterior scenes were filmed priorly.
Planning and construction
In 1989, designer Mike Long had ideas for the purpose-built set and began making plans. However, these plans were not submitted as it was felt the tourism problem in Esholt was not bad enough to disrupt filming and the risk of the filming locations being exposed was low. However, producer Mervyn Watson decided to introduce a third weekly episode of Emmerdale in December 1995, meaning that a set needed to be built as the residents of Esholt were already disrupted by only two episodes being filmed.
Mike Long and Timothy J. Fee submitted these plans and in 1996, the costs were formalised and final plans were made. The set was created almost exactly like Esholt, however some of the locations were moved and some, such as the church and the Vicarage were not initially built due to the costs. Construction began in June 1997 and the set was completed in December 1997.
While building the set the crew tried to replicate the correct stonework for a Dales village. Esholt, which isn't a Dales village, has buildings made out of coursed sandstone whereas Dales villages are built out of rubble style limestone which is not in course. In Esholt there are stone lintels around the windows which can also be found in Dales villages so they were kept but most corners of Dales villages have large stone called quoins. They thus recreated Esholt in terms of shape, size, geography and outlines of doors and windows, but changed the stonework to make it look more Dales like.
- A tree was planted by the team to celebrate the use of the new set. However, the tree ended up dying and it was felled in Episode 3623/3624 as a part of the storm storyline.
- During the construction of the purpose-built set, part of Woodgrange Park Cemetery was cleared to make room for flats. The chairman of the borough council heard about the Emmerdale set and offered the team the headstones for free. The headstones can be seen in many scenes in the Cemetery.