Emmerdale’s 50th anniversary could tie into Leeds 2023 cultural celebrations

The 50th anniversary of ITV’s Emmerdale could tie into Leeds’ Year of Culture celebrations in 2023.

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.

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.

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.

The 50th anniversary of ITV’s Emmerdale could tie into Leeds’ Year of Culture celebrations in 2023.

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

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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.