1981 was Emmerdale's 10th year in production. One of the major events of this year was Enoch Tolly was crushed by a tractor when he fell out of it and it tipped up and the yobbish antics of Tom Merrick never failed to entertain. Amos Brearly set up a newspaper called The Beckindale Bugle but it was short lived.
- Emmerdale Farm was burgled.
- January, an old friend of Jack Sugden's Ian Probert, turned up at Emmerdale Farm. In mentioned his father and sister and did a few days work at Emmerdale Farm and Helen Acott's farm.
- January Father Padraig Flynn said to Rev Hinton that he had cancer.
- January, Annie Sugden recieved a letter from the hospital saying they were ready to do her knee operation. She was a bit scared but her father reassured her.
- January, Rev Hinton visited Emmerdale to speak to Annie about the Merricks and offered to stand up for Tom Merrick in court over his Christmas tree theft.
- January, Tom Merrick went to court for stealing Christmas trees. He was given a suspended sentence.
- February, Enoch Tolly was killed when his tractor fell on him after he fell out of it when it tipped up.
- April, Tom Merrick arranged to have a barn at NY Estates burned. He tried to blame Jack Sugden but Jack had an alibi. Seth Armstrong told Tom to leave Hotten with threats of disclosure.
- December, Jack Sugden proposed to recently divorced Pat Merrick.