Emmerdale celebrates 10,000 episodes including 118 weddings and 49 births

Emmerdale celebrates 10,000 episodes including 118 weddings and 49 births

Emmerdale will reach its 10,000th episode tonight, Wednesday, 22 May after beginning 53 years ago on 16 October 1972. Since its beginning, when the ITV soap was known as Emmerdale Farm, there have been 118 weddings, 49 births and 163 deaths.

Emmerdale was originally commissioned for only 26 episodes, so it’s a huge milestone that it will reach number 10,000 tonight.

The cast have opened up on how they feel about the show reaching the anniversary episode. Claire King, who plays Kim Tate on the show, told BBC Radio York: "This is what goes on in real life.

"Emmerdale is very good at following it through and getting a true reflection of what happens."

Robert Sugden and Aaron Dingle married in 2017
One heartwarming Emmerdale episode was when Robert and Aaron walked down the aisle -Credit:ITV/REX/Shutterstock
Joe Sugden and Christine Sharp got married in 1974
One of the very first weddings on the soap was Joe Sugden and Christine Sharp's -Credit:ITV/REX/Shutterstock

Emmerdale was created by former actor and playwright Kevin Laffan and was first broadcast on October 16 1972 by Yorkshire Television as “the living story of the Sugden family”.

The ITV soap opened with the funeral of patriarch Jacob Sugden, and the original family is represented by actress Isabel Hodgins, who plays Victoria Sugden. Victoria has had some huge storylines during her time on the show, from the breakdown of her relationship with Adam Barton, to having a child after being sexually assaulted after a night out.

The word farm was dropped from the title of the programme on November 14 1989, as the show shifted the focus beyond the Sugden family and the land to the wider village.

In 2007, Billy offered Victoria a ride home but the brakes failed and the van plunged into a lake
Victoria Sugden is the only character with connections to the original family -Credit:ITV/REX/Shutterstock
Victoria discovered she was pregnant shortly after being raped by Lee Posner
Victoria Sugden welcomed a baby boy in 2020 -Credit:ITV/REX/Shutterstock

Mark Charnock, who has played Marlon Dingle in Emmerdale for 27 years, described working on the show as a "very long streak of luck" and the 350-strong staff team as "like a family".

"I wouldn't have changed a minute of it," he told BBC Radio York.

The biggest Emmerdale moments over the years have included a plane crash disaster in 1993 that killed off the likes of Mark Hughes and Elizabeth Pollard. Another of the biggest disasters Emmerdale village has ever seen was the helicopter disaster in 2015. Debbie Dingle and Pete Barton were preparing to marry in the Village Hall when a helicopter lost control and crashed into the hall, resulting in the roof caving in.

The emergency services searched for Alice after the plane crash
The plane crash in 1994 resulted in the highest death toll on the show -Credit:ITV/REX/Shutterstock
Frank Tate saved Kim Tate when the plane crashed nearby
During the plane crash, a ball of fire struck the stables - luckily Frank Tate managed to save Kim Tate before it exploded -Credit:ITV/REX/Shutterstock

Ruby Haswell died at the scene after being crushed, and legendary character Val Pollard died in a mirror maze where she delivered the line: "I'm H.I.Val. I'm Valerie Pollard of the Valerie Pollard foundation... I'm Val!".

It was believed that Ross Barton also died after being attacked by Pete. Pete buried his brother in the woods not realising he was actually alive - luckily Ross managed to escape.

The helicopter crashed into the village in 2015 killing two main characters
Val Pollard died when a helicopter crashed into the village -Credit:REX/Shutterstock
Kerry and Dan attempted to come to Ruby's rescue when she was crushed
Ruby was one of the victims on the helicopter crash in 2015 -Credit:REX/Shutterstock

As for babies, the first to be born were Sam and Sally Skilbeck in 1973. Speaking of twins, Viv Hope gave birth to twins Heath and Cathy in a barn in 2007 - with Heath being killed-off just last year after a car accident.

There have been happier moments, like when Rob Sugden and Aaron Dingle (also known as Robron) tied the knot in 2018. And there have already been two weddings in 2024; Belle Dingle and Thomas King, and Amy Wyatt and Matty Barton.

Paddy Kirk delivered Viv's twins in a barn
Viv and Bob's son Heath was recently killed off in a car crash -Credit:ITV/REX/Shutterstock
Ashley and Laurel were overjoyed when they welcomed a baby boy
Ashley and Laurel Thomas welcomed their baby Arthur in 2007 -Credit:ITV/REX/Shutterstock

Over the years there have been 118 weddings - not all of them however ended in marriage. Bob Hope has had seven on-screen weddings - but the lothario apparently was married and divorced four times before he even arrived in the village.

Marlon Dingle is a close second, having been married five times – the first wedding he had was to Tricia Stokes, and the most recent being to Rhona Goskirk.

While it seems like Jimmy and Nicola King have been together forever - there was a time where she was set to marry Carlos Diaz. But Carlos had been having an affair with Nicola's sister Bernice Blackstock. In true soap fashion, it all came out at the wedding and Carlos fled the village alone.

Marlon was blindfolded and taken to the church to marry Tricia
Marlon has been married a total of seven times - the first wedding being in 2003 -Credit:ITV/REX/Shutterstock
Nicola confronted Bernice at her wedding after the affair with Carlos was revealed
Nicola King was set to marry Carlos in 2001, but the wedding was cancelled -Credit:REX/Shutterstock

On This Morning, long-running character Chris Chittell – who has starred in 3234 episodes – revealed he can’t believe the show is still going, saying: “It has been a great, amazing journey and I’m honoured to be here now .

“I love that the team is predominant everyday, in dreadful conditions sometimes - not when I get on set.

“The design team, they create for us amazing sets, they created an amazing village that is so incredible.”

Nicola gave birth to Angelica in 2009
Nicola and Jimmy King will star in the 10,000th episode -Credit:ITV/REX/Shutterstock
Tony and Becky Cairns visited Emma in hopsital to find out who the father of her child is
Emma arrived in the village heavily pregnant in 1997 and her parents didn't know who the dad was -Credit:ITV/REX/Shutterstock

John Whiston, managing director of continuing drama and head of ITV in the north, said: “Very few TV programmes in the world have made it to 10,000 (episodes). Even fewer dramas have managed to get that far.

“And for a drama to do it in such style is vanishingly rare. Emmerdale today feels full of excitement, full of mischief, full of fun and full of life. Long may it continue to prosper and thrive.”

The Yorkshire based drama are thanking their local community by contributing to the maintanence of 10,000 trees.

During the 10,000th episode, Jimmy King organises a village fete for his wife Nicola. Meanwhile, Ethan stumbles into the village having been the victim of a horrendous hit-and-run - will he pull through?