TWO of the most popular characters ever to down a pint at The Woolpack were back in the tap room in Leeds yesterday to celebrate Emmerdale’s 45th anniversary.
Frazer Hines, who was born in Horsforth and had played Doctor Who assistant Jamie before landing the role in the rural soap in 1972, was joined by Malandra Burrows, who played Kathy Glover for 16 years.
A replica of the TV pub has been built as a tourist attraction in the former car showroom on Burley Road in which interior scenes for the soap were formerly shot.
The location is one of two Emmerdale visitor centres in the area – the other is at Harewood, which doubles for the village of Emmerdale.
Mr Hines revealed that few had expected the show to last for more than a few weeks when the opening episode went out, as part of ITV’s first afternoon schedule.
“My first contract was for just 12 episodes,” he said.
“It was just another job, really. But after a few weeks, one of the production assistants told us she had just seen the script for episode 26 - and all of a sudden we knew it could run.”
Mr Hines, who now breeds racehorses in Lincolnshire, said he had landed the role that was to dominate his life, on and off, for the next 22 years, on the recommendation of his former girlfriend, the actress Liza Goddard, whose father, David, was Emmerdale’s first producer.
“I was having Sunday lunch with her family, and he said he was going to do a 12-part series in Yorkshire for the housewives,” Mr Hines said.
“He was looking for someone to play the younger son, and Liza said, ‘He’s sitting right opposite you, dad - and if you don’t cast him, mum and I are leaving home’.”
Mr Hines said he had been invited to rejoin the show after his first marriage ended in 1984.
“You’re not having much luck with real women so come back and join your other family,” he said he had been told.