Leeds 2023 team in talks with Emmerdale as soap celebrates 50th anniversary

The 50th anniversary of ITV’s Emmerdale could be tied into next year's Leeds 2023 celebrations.

By David Spereall, Local Democracy Reporting Service
Wednesday, 29th June 2022, 12:18 pm

The much-loved soap, which is filmed across Leeds, has been on the go for five decades, having started life as Emmerdale Farm in 1972.

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And with Leeds planning to host a huge series of events celebrating the city’s culture and heritage next year, programme bosses are in talks about marking the birthday in style.

ITV soap Emmerdale is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe

Emmerdale is produced at ITV’s Leeds studios on Kirkstall Road, near the city centre, while most of the outdoor scenes for the soap are shot around the rural Harewood area, around eight miles north.

Speaking during a discussion about Leeds 2023 at a meeting this week, Harewood councillor Ryan Stephenson suggested a link-up with Emmerdale, adding that the programme has “huge influence” locally.

In response, the director of programmes for Leeds 2023, Emma Beverley, said: “I’m having a fantastic series of conversations with ITV at the moment about Emmerdale’s 50th anniversary.

“So that’s a great opportunity for us to reach a whole range of people and tell them about the year of culture.”

The award-winning soap recently shifted to a 7.30pm weekday slot to accommodate an extended ITV news programme, having been at 7pm for many years.

Although a staple part of prime-time TV diets now, Emmerdale might never have reached its 25th anniversary.

The show was in serious danger of being axed amid poor ratings in 1993, before a plane crash storyline in December of that year drew 18 million viewers and changed its fortunes for good.