1972 was Emmerdale Farm's 1st year. Creator Kevin Laffan based the idea of the show on a real Yorkshire village called Ammerdale. Production was overseen by executive producer Peter Holmans and producer David Goddard.

20 episodes were broadcast during the year. Major storylines included the funeral of Jacob Sugden and the return of his son Jack who took over the titular Emmerdale Farm, Henry Wilks buying the adjoining property of Emmerdale Farm - Inglebrook House sparking a feud between him and the Sugdens, Peggy Skilbeck discovering she's pregnant with her husband Matt's twin children and Jack's affair with Marian Wilks


Cast 1972

The original 1972 cast

Production was overseen by Executive Producer Peter Holmans and Producer David Goddard.

The series debuted on Monday 16th October at 1.30pm as part of a new experiment in ITV's daytime schedule and was therefore Britan's first-ever lunch-time drama serial. The programme was not initially shown in all regions and those that did broadcast it sometimes opted to choose different timeslots, which occasionally meant that some regions would fall behind the Yorkshire Television schedule. This would remain the case until 1988 when the programme became fully networked.

The first episode introduced Emmerdale Farm and its residents - the Sugden family, who would remain a staple in the show until the present day. Outdoor shots of the village were filmed in the real-life village of Arncliffe in North Yorkshire, with outdoor shots at Emmerdale Farm being filmed at Lindley Farm, between Harrogate and Otley. All interior scenes were filmed on videotape in Yorkshire Television's Leeds Studio.

The programme was initially broadcast twice weekly on a Monday and a Tuesday in an afternoon slot and was originally planned and written to run twice weekly for thirteen weeks. By the summer, these plans had changed to increase the serial to run for thirty-nine weeks with the possibility of an extension to two years, if popular.


# Ep.
Date Writer Director Viewing
11Monday 16th OctoberKevin LaffanTristan de Vere Cole2,203,000n/k
22Tuesday 17th OctoberKevin LaffanTristan de Vere Colen/kn/k
33Monday 23rd OctoberKevin LaffanGordon Flemyngn/kn/k
44Tuesday 24th OctoberKevin LaffanGordon Flemyngn/kn/k
55Monday 30th OctoberKevin LaffanDesmond McCarthyn/kn/k
66Tuesday 31st OctoberKevin LaffanDesmond McCarthyn/kn/k
77Monday 6th NovemberKevin LaffanTristan de Vere Colen/kn/k
88Tuesday 7th NovemberKevin LaffanTristan de Vere Colen/kn/k
99Monday 13th NovemberKevin LaffanGordon Flemyngn/kn/k
1010Tuesday 14th NovemberKevin LaffanGordon Flemyngn/kn/k
1111Monday 20th NovemberKevin LaffanDesmond McCarthyn/kn/k
1212Tuesday 21st NovemberKevin LaffanDesmond McCarthyn/kn/k
1313Monday 27th NovemberNeville SiggsTristan de Vere Colen/kn/k
1414Tuesday 28th NovemberNeville SiggsTristan de Vere Colen/kn/k
1515Monday 4th DecemberNeville SiggsGordon Flemyngn/kn/k
1616Tuesday 5th DecemberNeville SiggsGordon Flemyngn/kn/k
1717Monday 11th DecemberNeville SiggsDesmond McCarthyn/kn/k
1818Tuesday 12th DecemberNeville SiggsDesmond McCarthyn/kn/k
1919Monday 18th DecemberNeville SiggsTristan de Vere Colen/kn/k
2020Tuesday 19th DecemberNeville SiggsTristan de Vere Colen/kn/k

Main CastEdit

Ranking Character Played by Duration Number of Episodes
1Matt SkilbeckFrederick PyneFull year20
1Peggy SkilbeckJo KendallFull year20
1Annie SugdenSheila MercierFull year20
1Jack SugdenAndrew BurtFull year20
1Joe SugdenFrazer HinesFull year20
1Marian WilksGail HarrisonFull year20
7Amos BrearlyRonald MagillFull year19
7Sam PearsonToke TownleyFull year19
7Henry WilksArthur PentelowFull year19
10Janie HarkerDiane GraysonFrom November8
11Ruth MerrickLynn DalbyNovember only6
11Tom MerrickDavid HillNovember only6
13Frank BlakeyEric AllanFrom December4




The Sugden family mourn Jacob Sugden in The Woolpack following his funeral

  • The Sugden and Skilbeck families attend the funeral of Jacob Sugden. Jacob's son, Jack, returns to the village for the first time in eight years after being left Emmerdale Farm in his will. Jack isn't sure what to do with the farm.
  • Henry Wilks and his daughter Marian buy the adjoining property of Emmerdale Farm - Inglebrook House. Henry gets off on the wrong foot with the Sugdens when he wants to create a driveway leading through their farm. Marian makes friends with Joe and Jack and they both become romantically interested in her.
  • Peggy Skilbeck discovers she is pregnant and asks her husband, Matt, to apply for a job in Bradford hoping they can move away from the farm to the city.



Jack Sugden with former flame Ruth Merrick

  • An old flame of Jack's, Ruth Merrick asks Joe about him as they drink in The Woolpack. When her husband Tom Merrick catches them drinking together, he gets the wrong idea and the pair fight. Knowing that Jack is back in the area and that his wife and Jack used to once be together, Tom jumps at the chance of working on the farm when a position becomes available. Tom drops hints about his and Ruth's eldest son, Jackie Merrick, actually being Jack's son. When Tom tries to blackmail Jack, Jack fires him and The Merricks leave Beckindale for Leeds.
  • Jack gets a telegram and rushes off to The Feathers Country Hotel to meet his secret wife. Henry sees him at the hotel with another woman but keeps the news from Marian, trying to persuade her to ask him about another woman as she and Jack grow closer. Joe follows Jack to the hotel and also learns that Jack is married. He starts to drive to Inglebrook to inform Marian but crashes into Henry as he is coming down the driveway, putting them both in hospital. Jack and Marian have a big falling out over marriage and Marian tells him that she despises him.
  • Jack begins paying wages to Matt and Joe. He tells Annie that he is wealthy but won't tell her how he got the money.
  • Matt goes for an interview for a factory job in Bradford and fails to get it.



Joe Sugden sets about improving himself in a bid to impress Marian Wilks

  • Joe tells Marian that Jack is already married and Henry tells Jack to stay away from Marian when he receives a letter from Tom Merrick. Marian asks Ruth's sister, Janie Harker about Jackie Merrick and she also hints that Jack is the father. Marian tells Jack that she never wants to see him again.
  • Fed up with all the bad feeling being caused, Annie gives Jack an ultimatum - stay on the farm or leave - then gives him a fortnight to decide. Jack is unsure what to do and begins to finally try and sort things out. He shows an interest in doing the old millhouse up and goes to London to tie up loose ends.
  • Peggy discovers she is expecting twins.
  • Joe is let out of hospital, his arm in a sling. He goes to Inglebrook to apologise to Henry for the accident. Henry accepts his apology and upon discovering he has received a summons, Henry tells Joe he will change his story to the police so Joe is in no trouble. Still vying for Marian's affections, Joe sets out to try and better himself, leading to a furious Annie accusing Marian of leading Joe on. Marian and Henry both make it clear to Joe that she is not interested in him romantically.
  • Henry begins visiting local farmer Harry Jameson and shows interest in buying his farm.
  • Janie Harker begins dating Frank Blakey.

Who lives whereEdit

Who works whereEdit

Emmerdale Farm in the 1970s
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