Emmerdale Celebrates 50 Unforgettable Years of Drama in the Dales with One-Hour Special



Can you believe it’s been 50 years of Emmerdale? Neither can we! To celebrate this monumental anniversary, cast members and producers of the hit, multi-award winning series have gathered for an emotional and hilarious walk down memory lane. The Emmerdale: 50 Unforgettable Years special airs Saturday, February 11 at 6:30pm ET.

The one-hour retrospective highlights the most surprising, dramatic, heartbreaking and feel-good moments the series has had throughout its 50 years on the air, and how it has been able to remain so successful as one of Britain’s most-loved soaps.

First airing in 1962 and originally called Emmerdale Farm, the show was created to showcase to people in cities the kind of life they would want to escape to in a rural British village. As the series has evolved throughout the years, the special recaps the most important twists and turns along the way. The stars discuss how the family dynamics between the Sugdens, the Tates, the Dingles, and the Dales fuelled some of the most compelling drama, from infidelity and murder to fires and fatalities.

The wonderful group of actors featured in the special include Claire King (Kim Tate), Mark Charnock (Martin Dingle), Dominic Brunt (Paddy Dingle), Jeff Hordley (Cain Dingle), Natalie J. Robb (Moira Dingle), Lucy Pargeter (Chas Dingle), Lisa Riley (Mandy Dingle), Elizabeth Estensen (Diane Sugden), James Moore (Ryan Stocks), Sammi Winward (Katie Sugden), Chris Bisson (Jai Sharma) and more.

Some of the executive producers throughout the years also dive into how the show had to reinvent itself in order to compete for ratings against other soap operas. The idea to step up the drama with shocking stunts, disasters and emotional deaths in the village immediately drew in more viewers and solidified the show as heart wrenching, can’t-miss television week after week.

But it’s not all doom and gloom in Emmerdale, as many of the actors reflect fondly on the positive representation in the show as it tackled serious subject matter like illnesses, disabilities, LGBTQ+ issues and racism.

“I think having the cast that reflects people who were sat at home watching the show, people feel like that’s them in it,” says executive producer Jane Hudson regarding the show’s diversity. “That’s somebody who looks like them or sounds like them, that’s really important.”

“That’s a sign of the times and a sign that things were changing,” says Chris Bisson about the introduction of his mixed-race character, Jai Sharma.

“We did start doing these really kind of hard-hitting or less talked about storylines,” notes Lucy Pargeter, who plays Chas Dingle. “It’s important to make them more normal, More an everyday occurrence in people’s lives, because then ultimately it opens up a conversation between people.”

“All of these particular human storylines, more relatable storylines,” says Jeff Hoardley who plays Cain Dingle. “I think are when we are at our best. I think we’ve just been steadily getting better and better.”

Watch the joyful celebration of 50 Unforgettable Years of Emmerdale Saturday, Feb. 11 at 6:30pm ET / 3:30pm PT on ONETV.