Emmerdale at 40

Thursday, 6 December 2012, 8:30PM – 9:00PM

As one of Britain’s best-loved soaps turns 40, this all-new series for ITV takes a look back at the most dramatic, moving, shocking and amusing storylines the show has witnessed.

Spilt into five parts, the series looks at:
• The Headline Makers
• The Affairs
• The Crimes
• The Weddings
• The Woolpack

Narrated by Gaynor Faye, each thirty-minute show is packed with the soap’s most memorable scenes and exclusive interviews with actors both past and present who give their views on all the best moments in the soap’s history.

Episode Five – The Woolpack

The Woolpack is at the heart of the Emmerdale village and the centre of many of the soap’s major storylines.

From the fires, plane crashes and armed robberies the pub has seen, to the spaghetti western style stand-offs, this special programme looks back at the most turbulent times Yorkshire’s favourite pub has ever seen.

Charlie Hardwick, who plays Val Pollard, tells the programme: “Well, it’s the arena, isn’t it, The Woolpack? All your victims and villains in one place. It’s great. A powder keg.”

In 2004 a natural disaster struck Emmerdale costing the life of one of the most popular characters and almost calling time on The Woolpack itself.

On set, rain and wind machines and lightening effects were used to show a vicious storm ripping through the village on New Year’s Eve. Unable to make things work with her husband, Marlon, Trisha had decided to leave the village, but as the weather got worse she sheltered in a phone box to read a letter he had written her.

Sheree Murphy, who played Tricia Dingle says: “She kind of made her mind up to go back to him but, really, she shouldn’t have done, because The Woolpack fell on her. I loved the scene where rubble actually finally falls on Trisha and there’s just the eye poking out. The rubble was made of foamy stuff and they had it all painted. There was a few real bricks around, but anything that was actually placed over me, wasn’t real.”

There were emotional scenes as Marlon found Trisha and she tried to tell him that she was going back to him as she lay trapped under the bricks.

Sheree adds: “The producers said to me, ‘I’m really sorry but would you mind lying there, we’re going to have to cut for a break, the crew need a cup of tea. I was like, ‘No, I don’t mind, er how long are you going to be though?’ and literally, they just left me, because to place me all again for continuity would be an absolute nightmare. I just remember lying there thinking, ‘This is my job.’ I’m lying under rubble at 3am. But I loved it, it was brilliant.”

Emmerdale at 40 also looks back over the parties the pub has seen including Chastity’s hen night and a slave night. Plus, how some of the village’s most loved-characters made their first appearances in The Woolpack, such as Laurel dressed as a bee and Chastity dressed as a stripping nun.

In 2010 property developer Charlie Haynes, played by George Costigan, swept pub landlady Diane Sugden off her feet but planned to con her out of all her savings.

Elizabeth Estensen, who plays Diane, tells the programme: “This was the first time that she’d been truly happy since Jack died. And she thought there was a future for her and that they were going to live in France. It was a whole new life opening up for her, and then it got quickly shut down.”

On the morning Diane was supposed to leave The Woolpack, Charlie went missing. She discovered he was in France and decided to go after him but when she turned up at ‘his’ chateau, she discovered it was owned by someone else.

Diane was left in financial ruin until she decided to pair up with Chastity to own the pub together.

And only a year later they, and the rest of the villagers, witnessed the biggest show-down The Woolpack had ever seen. Cain Dingle had been on a recent mission of destruction through the village, having an affair with a married woman, a fling with a teenager and waging a hate campaign against Charity and her fiancé, when he walked into The Woolpack one night and everyone threatened to leave if he was served.

Jeff Hordley, who plays Cain Dingle, says: “It’s almost Western-style saloon drama when a storyline comes to a head and it has to be played out in The Woolpack. The adrenaline is really pumped, because it’s like you’ve got a live audience and they’re all looking at you going, ‘So come on, what are you going to do with this?’”

Emmerdale at 40 recounts how Cain went around the pub and one-by-one told the villagers what he thought of them. Then, afterwards, someone went after him for revenge. Cain was hit on the head and a whodunit ensued. There were over seven people in the frame, but when Cain tried to frame Jai for the attack – the real attacker came forward as his dad, Zak.

Jeff adds: “I think you really got to see that side of Cain and Zak as well. This bond that’s really strong between them but smashed apart by what’s happened.”

Emmerdale at 40 is produced by Becky Sawle for Shiver. The series producer is Yvette Lyons and the executive producer is Mark Robinson.

About the author

  • BBC One
  • BBC Two
  • BBC Three
  • ITV1
  • ITV2
  • 4
  • E4
  • Film4
  • More4
  • Five
  • Fiver
  • Sky1