|This article is written
from the Real World
point of view.
The idea for Emmerdale Farm was pitched by Kevin Laffan to Granada in 1972. The idea was to have the show surround the Sugden family, who resided and normally worked on Emmerdale Farm. The village of Beckindale (and the show's title) was originally based off the village Ammerdale, but Granada disallowed the show to be named after a real place so Laffan changed the name slightly. The show was filmed in real villages, with interior scenes being filmed on sets in studios on Leeds. David Goddard was brought on as series producer and Peter Holmans was brought on as executive, whilst Kevin wrote the first twelve episodes of the series.
Location shooting originally occurred in the village of Arncliffe in Littondale, one of the less frequented valleys of the Yorkshire Dales. In exterior shots the village's hotel, The Falcon was used to represent the Woolpack Inn. Eventually the location of the shooting location became publicly known, which is perhaps what prompted the move to the village of Esholt in 1976, where it stayed for the next 22 years. This location also became a tourist attraction and the village pub (previously 'the Commercial Hotel') has retained the adopted name of The Woolpack Inn.
The original Emmerdale Farm buildings are near the village of Leathley. Creskeld Hall (Home Farm) is one of the few original filming locations used in the entire run of the series and has been involved in many storylines.
Since 1998, a purpose-built set on the Harewood estate in Leeds has been used (building on the Harewood estate started in 1996). The first scenes shot in the purpose-built set on the Harewood Estate were broadcast on 19th February 1998 from the front of the Woolpack (although some scenes were shot there from 1997). The Harewood set is a replica of Esholt with a few minor alterations.
The houses in the new village at Harewood are timber framed structures covered in stone cladding. The village is built on green belt land so all the buildings are classed as "temporary structures" and must be demolished within ten years unless new planning permission is given. There is no plan to demolish the set and new planning has now been drawn up. The new village included a church and a churchyard full of gravestones some of them for the characters who have died in the serial.
The site incorporates a 1500 ft grass airstrip, and a Cessna 172 is hangared in the farm at the entrance. The aircraft, in an open barn, is visible from Eccup Lane.
Much location footage is carried out in other areas of the City of Leeds, West Yorkshire such as the fictional market town of Hotten which is actually shot in Otley, a market town on the outskirts of Leeds. The Benton Park School in the Rawdon area of the city and the primary school in Farnley were also used as shooting locations. Indoor scenes are mostly filmed at Yorkshire Television's 'Emmerdale Production Centre' on Kirkstall Road, Leeds (located next to the main Yorkshire Television's Leeds Studios).
- Emmerdale Farm - Lindley Farm
- Hawthorn Cottage - Bank Side Farm
- Melby Farm - Burden Head Farm
- Home Farm - Creskeld Hall
- Butlers Farm - Brookland Farm
- The Woolpack - The Falcon Inn
- The Woolpack - The Commercial Inn
- Beckindale Shop - Esholt Post Office
- Toll Lane Fish Farm - Lindley Bridge Fish Farm
- Whiteley's Farm - Wood Top Farm
- Oakwell Hall - Stockeld Park
- Demdyke Row - Cunliffe Lane
- St. Mary's Church - St. Oswald's Church
The Miffield Estate was the biggest employer in the village of Beckindale – situated 63 kilometres from Bradford and 84 kilometres from Leeds. Lord Miffield gave the lease of Emmerdale Farm on the edge of the village to the Sugden family in the 1850s out of gratitude after Joshua Sugden was killed sacrificing his life for the Earl's son in the Crimean War.
Joshua's grandson Joseph married Margaret Oldroyd and they had a son Jacob in January 1916. In the 1930s, the young Jacob Sugden supposedly purchased Emmerdale Farm for his family. In 1945 he married Annie Pearson – daughter of farm labourer Sam Pearson. Margaret Sugden died in 1963 and Joseph Sugden died in 1964.
Jacob had run the farm into the ground as he had drunk away most of the profits, leaving it in a sorry state, and Jacob soon fell ill with pneumonia. The farm was badly maintained and the future of the farm looked bleak at the time of Jacob's death on 10th October 1972.