1986 was Emmerdale's 15th year. Storylines included the birth of Robert Sugden shortly before the death of his mother Pat in a car accident, Joe Sugden's relationship with Karen Moore, Matt Skilbeck's arrest following the death of Harry Mowlam, the arrival of Dolly Skilbeck's illegitimate son, Graham Lodsworth, Seth Armstrong being left for dead following an attack by badger baiters and Sandie Merrick's affair with Phil Pearce. 100 episodes were broadcast this year.


Eric Pollard publicity shot 1986

Christopher Chittell joins the cast as Eric Pollard in September.

Michael Russell was appointed producer in the summer, taking over from Richard Handford with Episode 1080 (2nd September 1986). Following the decision to make changes to the programme in order to compete with the other soaps at prime time the previous year, 1986 was notable for its increase in dramatic stories.

Frazer Hines returned full-time to the role of Joe Sugden in March. The character was paired with Karen Moore, whom brother Jack had begun an affair with two years previously. Their relationship wasn't to last however and ended when Annie Hulley left the serial in August. At the same time, Helen Weir bowed out after six years as Pat Sugden. In real life, Weir had married onscreen husband Clive Hornby in 1984 and upon giving birth to their son, Thomas, this year decided to quit the show in order to focus on motherhood full-time. The character was killed off in a dramatic car crash which would see Jack Sugden dealing with the consequences of his wife's death for the remainder of the year. For Pat's onscreen funeral, the decision was made to bring sister Janie back briefly for the first time since 1974. The character was now portrayed by Lesley Duff and had reverted to her maiden name of 'Harker'.

In March, Al Dixon passed away after being taken ill with a stroke the previous September. Dixon's final episode as recurring Woolpack customer Walter had aired the previous December and the last time cast saw him was at the 1,000 episodes luncheon the previous November.

Additions to the cast for this year included Peter Alexander as Phil Pearce and Christopher Chittell as Eric Pollard. Initially, Chittell was only required to appear in a handful of episodes but found himself reappearing regularly in the show and eventually became a permanent cast member. To date, he is the longest serving actor still appearing in the show.

For the first time since 1977, Emmerdale Farm did not take a summer break and remained onscreen all year round.


# Ep.
Date Writer Director Viewing
11012Tuesday 7th JanuaryDavid AngusBob Hirdn/kn/k
21013Thursday 9th JanuaryDavid AngusBob Hirdn/kn/k
31014Tuesday 14th JanuaryAndrew HoldenBob Hirdn/kn/k
41015Thursday 16th JanuaryAndrew HoldenBob Hirdn/kn/k
51016Tuesday 21st JanuaryEric WendellBob Hirdn/kn/k
61017Thursday 23rd JanuaryEric WendellBob Hirdn/kn/k
71018Tuesday 28th JanuaryEric WendellBob Hirdn/kn/k
81019Thursday 30th JanuaryEric WendellBob Hirdn/kn/k
91020Tuesday 4th FebruaryEric WendellDarrol Blaken/kn/k
101021Thursday 6th FebruaryJim HawkinsDarrol Blaken/kn/k
111022Tuesday 11th FebruaryEric WendellDarrol Blaken/kn/k
121023Thursday 13th FebruaryTim VaughanDarrol Blaken/kn/k
131024Tuesday 18th FebruaryTim VaughanDarrol Blaken/kn/k
141025Thursday 20th FebruaryTim VaughanDarrol Blaken/kn/k
151026Tuesday 25th FebruaryDavid AngusRichard Handford13,750,0009
161027Thursday 27th FebruaryDavid AngusRichard Handfordn/kn/k
171028Tuesday 4th MarchDavid AngusRichard Handford13,500,00010
181029Thursday 6th MarchDavid AngusRichard Handfordn/kn/k
191030Tuesday 11th MarchEric WendallRichard Handfordn/kn/k
201031Thursday 13th MarchEric WendallRichard Handfordn/kn/k
211032Tuesday 18th MarchEric WendallRichard Handford12,900,000n/k
221033Thursday 20th MarchEric WendallRichard Handfordn/kn/k
231034Tuesday 25th MarchTim VaughanRichard Holthouse13,200,00015
241035Thursday 27th MarchTim VaughanRichard Holthousen/kn/k
251036Tuesday 1st AprilTim VaughanRichard Holthousen/kn/k
261037Thursday 3rd AprilTim VaughanRichard Holthousen/kn/k
271038Tuesday 8th AprilTim VaughanRichard Holthouse13,600,0009
281039Thursday 10th AprilTim VaughanRichard Holthousen/kn/k
291040Tuesday 15th AprilMichael RussellWilliam Slater12,600,00015
301041Thursday 17th AprilMichael RussellWilliam Slatern/kn/k
311042Tuesday 22nd AprilMichael RussellWilliam Slater11,500,00013
321043Thursday 24th AprilMichael RussellWilliam Slatern/kn/k
331044Tuesday 29th AprilAllan SwiftWilliam Slater11,200,00015
341045Thursday 1st MayAllan SwiftWilliam Slatern/kn/k
351046Tuesday 6th MayAllan SwiftWilliam Slater11,150,00013
361047Thursday 8th MayAllan SwiftWilliam Slater10,300,00019
371048Tuesday 13th MayRoy RussellRichard Standeven10,850,00013
381049Thursday 15th MayRoy RussellRichard Standevenn/kn/k
391050Tuesday 20th MayRoy RussellRichard Standevenn/kn/k
401051Thursday 22nd MayRoy RussellRichard Standevenn/kn/k
411052Tuesday 27th MayRoy RussellRichard Standevenn/kn/k
421053Thursday 29th MayRoy RussellRichard Standevenn/kn/k
431054Tuesday 3rd JuneSteve TraffordKeith Washington10,500,000n/k
441055Thursday 5th JuneSteve TraffordKeith Washingtonn/kn/k
451056Tuesday 10th JuneSteve TraffordKeith Washingtonn/kn/k
461057Thursday 12th JuneSteve TraffordKeith Washington11,500,0006
471058Tuesday 17th JuneSteve TraffordKeith Washingtonn/kn/k
481059Thursday 19th JuneSteve TraffordKeith Washingtonn/kn/k
491060Tuesday 24th JuneJack LewisMervyn Cummingn/kn/k
501061Thursday 26th JuneJack LewisMervyn Cummingn/kn/k
511062Tuesday 1st JulyDavid AngusMervyn Cummingn/kn/k
521063Thursday 3rd JulyDavid AngusMervyn Cummingn/kn/k
531064Tuesday 8th JulyDavid AngusMervyn Cumming10,150,00010
541065Thursday 10th JulyDavid AngusMervyn Cummingn/kn/k
551066Tuesday 15th JulyGinnie HoleVivienne Cozensn/kn/k
561067Thursday 17th JulyGinnie HoleVivienne Cozensn/kn/k
571068Tuesday 22nd JulyJack LewisVivienne Cozensn/kn/k
581069Thursday 24th JulyJack LewisVivienne Cozensn/kn/k
591070Tuesday 29th JulyJack LewisVivienne Cozensn/kn/k
601071Thursday 31st JulyJack LewisVivienne Cozensn/kn/k
611072Tuesday 5th AugustEric WendellRichard Handford10,650,0008
621073Thursday 7th AugustEric WendellRichard Handfordn/kn/k
631074Tuesday 12th AugustEric WendellRichard Handfordn/kn/k
641075Thursday 14th AugustEric WendellRichard Handfordn/kn/k
651076Tuesday 19th AugustEric WendellRichard Handford10,550,000n/k
661077Thursday 21st AugustEric WendellRichard Handfordn/kn/k
671078Tuesday 26th AugustEric WendellRichard Handford11,650,000n/k
681079Thursday 28th AugustEric WendellRichard Handfordn/kn/k
691080Tuesday 2nd SeptemberKen BlakesonBob Hirdn/kn/k
701081Thursday 4th SeptemberKen BlakesonBob Hirdn/kn/k
711082Tuesday 9th SeptemberKen BlakesonBob Hirdn/kn/k
721083Thursday 11th SeptemberKen BlakesonBob Hirdn/kn/k
731084Tuesday 16th SeptemberKen BlakesonBob Hirdn/kn/k
741085Thursday 18th SeptemberKen BlakesonBob Hirdn/kn/k
751086Tuesday 23rd SeptemberJames RobsonBob Hirdn/kn/k
761087Thursday 25th SeptemberJames RobsonBob Hirdn/kn/k
771088Tuesday 30th SeptemberJames RobsonDarrol Blaken/kn/k
781089Thursday 2nd OctoberJames RobsonDarrol Blaken/kn/k
791090Tuesday 7th OctoberJames RobsonDarrol Blaken/kn/k
801091Thursday 9th OctoberJames RobsonDarrol Blaken/kn/k
811092Tuesday 14th OctoberJames RobsonDarrol Blaken/kn/k
821093Thursday 16th OctoberJames RobsonDarrol Blaken/kn/k
831094Tuesday 21st OctoberTim VaughanMervyn Cummingn/kn/k
841095Thursday 23rd OctoberTim VaughanMervyn Cummingn/kn/k
851096Tuesday 28th OctoberTim VaughanMervyn Cummingn/kn/k
861097Thursday 30th OctoberTim VaughanMervyn Cummingn/kn/k
871098Tuesday 4th NovemberTim VaughanMervyn Cummingn/kn/k
881099Thursday 6th NovemberTim VaughanMervyn Cummingn/kn/k
891100Tuesday 11th NovemberJackie NeweyWilliam Slatern/kn/k
901101Thursday 13th NovemberJackie NeweyWilliam Slatern/kn/k
911102Tuesday 18th NovemberJackie NeweyWilliam Slatern/kn/k
921103Tuesday 20th NovemberCharles HodgesWilliam Slatern/kn/k
931104Thursday 25th NovemberCharles HodgesWilliam Slatern/kn/k
941105Thursday 27th NovemberCharles HodgesWilliam Slatern/kn/k
951106Tuesday 2nd DecemberMichael RussellBob Hirdn/kn/k
961107Thursday 4th DecemberMichael RussellBob Hirdn/kn/k
971108Tuesday 9th DecemberMichael RussellBob Hirdn/kn/k
981109Thursday 11th DecemberMichael RussellBob Hirdn/kn/k
991110Tuesday 16th DecemberMichael RussellBob Hirdn/kn/k
1001111Thursday 18th DecemberMichael RussellBob Hirdn/kn/k

Main CastEdit

Ranking Character Played by Duration Number of Episodes Running total Previous year's ranking
1Amos BrearlyRonald MagillFull year10010691
1Henry WilksArthur PentelowFull year100106313
1Annie SugdenSheila MercierFull year10010421
1Dolly SkilbeckJean RogersFull year1007001
1Jackie MerrickIan SharrockFull year1004861
6Matt SkilbeckFrederick PyneFull year9910721
6Jack SugdenClive HornbyFull year996511
6Alan TurnerRichard ThorpFull year9938310
6Caroline BatesDiana DaviesFull year9925112
6Seth ArmstrongStan RichardsFull year995301
11Sandie MerrickJane HutchesonFull year973771
12Kathy BatesMalandra BurrowsFull year9210021
13Samuel SkilbeckBenjamin WhiteheadFull year8722010
14Joe SugdenFrazer HinesFrom March74842 22
15Pat SugdenHelen WeirUntil September56465 1
16Donald HintonHugh ManningJanuary to May, July to September and December55492 14
17Karen MooreAnnie HulleyFebruary to August4694 18
18Phil PearcePeter AlexanderFrom June4343 -
19Jock MacDonaldDrew DawsonJanuary to March, June to October and December38113 18
20Nick BatesCy ChadwickMarch to April, June and from September2832 23
21Bill MiddletonJohnny CaesarFebruary to March, July, September to October and December2287 16
22Eric PollardChristopher ChittellSeptember to November1717 -
23Archie BrooksTony PittsAugust, November to December14103 17
24Tom MerrickJack CarrSeptember only465 20
25Sita SharmaMamta KashUntil January249 16



  • Jackie Merrick has relationship problems with Sita Sharma. He waits for her outside her home one night and sees her saying goodnight to another man. Jackie confronts her and calls her a derogatory name, so she slaps him. They both decide their relationship is over.
  • Jack Sugden and Pat Sugden go for a scan and their baby is fine. They are told they are having a boy. When they tell Jackie, he is not interested as he is still upset about his break up with Sita.
  • Harry Mowlam carries on his hate campaign against the Skilbecks and Sugdens. He keeps getting drunk in The Woolpack and says he can buy out everyone in the village if he wanted. He is warned to keep quiet by his partner in crime Derek Warner as the police are widening the search for suspects and witnesses regarding the robbery. Matt Skilbeck notices some of Mowlam's sheep are neglected. He takes them away for care but 3 of them die in Matt's care. Mowlam is livid and wants compensation. Mowlam hounds Matt's wife Dolly Skilbeck and gives her another fright by making a pass at her. Matt is aghast and is being pushed to breaking point by Mowlam. The next day, Mowlam is caught rustling some of Matt's sheep. Matt tries to stop him driving away by hijacking the truck. The truck crashes and Mowlam drags Matt from the truck and savagely beats Matt up, and even tries to kill him by having him in a bear hug. Matt retaliates and squeezes Mowlam's neck to get free. Mowlam then falls down the river bank and vows to get even with everyone in the village who he feels has crossed him.
  • The day after Matt's fight with Mowlam, Matt is bruised and hurt but feels in a happier mood as he thinks he finally stood up to Mowlam. Henry Wilks goes for his morning walk and finds a badly injured Mowlam by the river bank. Henry gently turns Mowlam onto his back and Mowlam then dies in front of Henry. Henry quickly alerts the police. Matt is shocked when he is told that Harry Mowlam is dead. He hands himself in and faces tough questioning. The police know Matt had several run ins with Mowlam, and that his wife suffered a miscarriage because of Mowlam, meaning Matt had motive to kill him. Matt explains that when Mowlam had him in a bear hug that he grabbed his neck to get free. The police think that after the fight, Matt went down the bank and held him underwater for what he did to his wife and their baby. Matt is charged with Harry Mowlam's murder.


  • The whole villagers are in shock that Matt has been charged with murder. However no one is sad to hear that nasty Harry Mowlam is dead. Alan Turner says that Mowlam died as he lived, by the sword, and the villagers should be pleased that he is now dead. Alan now is hankering after Mowlam's Farm. The autopsy says that Mowlam died by drowning, as well as contusions to the neck and throat. Jack, Henry and Jackie raise the money for Matt's bail. Matt is unsure if he killed Mowlam as he had a blackout after the fight. Henry takes Matt to where he had the fight, and he says he found Mowlam's body 20 yards away, meaning it is unlikely that a temporarily delirious Matt dragged a heavy man all that way down stream then killed him. Mat is sure his problems are over when he tells the polcie this, and while Ian MacArthur believes Matt, MacArthur's boss DS Webb says Matt is lying or has bad memory and he still killed Mowlam.











Who lives whereEdit

to be added

Awards and NominationsEdit

to be added

Emmerdale Farm in the 1980s
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