Emmerdale Farm was not "all" about sheepdipping, animals and Annie Sugden with her rolling pin at the farm, or baking bread, nor did it "only" show people sitting around drinking tea, smelling the roses and talking about how great life is. It was not an education on farming and animals but about the residents of that said farm and also featured the pub in the nearby village and occasionally the shop, doctors, mill and smithy. Some people seem to think that before the plane crash Emmerdale was all about sheepdipping and that "nothing" happened but if you watched pre-plane crash Emmerdale I am sure you would rethink your assumption as Emmerdale Farm was more fast paced than people think, and was not all about pigs and cows lol. Lots of long term viewers of the show who have watched it from the beginning or before the plane crash will probably know the show was quite action packed and was not like a TV edition of Farmers Weekly.
In 1973 alone there was an affair between Jack and the lady of the manor, and a rape, murder, suicide, fire and a girl got injured when Henry Wilks was building his new pig unit. 1974 saw Ruth Merrick try and top herself and Dryden Hogben almost had an affair with Diana Prescott, also Joe wed but he soon split from Christine and started seeing Kathy Gimbel, herself separated from her husband, whom her father disapproved of. Norah Norris became lazy at the shop that year, and during renovations at the Woolpack the chimney collapsed, showering the pub with dust. 1975 saw the war between the Sugdens and Gimbels and Henry Wilks run into financial difficulties. Then 1976 was another dramatic year which saw Matt Skilbeck's children killed along with their aunty in a road accident at a level crossing then followed by a pub move followed by a car crash at Emmerdale Farm. The same year also saw Martin Gimbel hold Rosemary Kendall hostage at Emmerdale Farm and Bella Ryland die of cancer, of which rumours spread that her husband was getting married to Bella's cousin once she was dead. And 1977 was a very dramatic year in Beckindale with a suicide, a live in lover scandal, a potholing disaster, 3 fires, Syd Harker's criminal antics and a storm. 1978 and 1979 saw their fair share of dramas such as a shooting, a skeleton discovery behind the Woolpack during works going on, a barn fire, a small fire at a chemical farm, Mr Hinton revealing his son was in prison for drug smuggling, Joe flooring Tom Hawker, a siege, a hostage at the Woolpack, a mine explosion and a rape, a motorbike accident and Phil Fletcher accidentally shooting himself when fighting with Joe and trying to blame Joe for the incident.
Also in 1979 Judy Westrop had a battle with alcoholism after an abortion. The 1980s saw many spectacular dramas such as a caravan fire, Pat Sugden's road accident, a murder, a hostage and numerous fights. 1980 saw Harry Moore dying and the vicar blaming himself for not seeing him as much. 1982 was a year which saw more emphasis on the younger characters and the show became a bit more urbane. 1980 saw Jack Sugden angrily pushing a local reporter into a duck pond for spreading idle gossip about him also Tom Merrick nicking Xmas trees with his mate and Joe Sugden getting run over when trying to stop them in their van, 1981 saw a tractor accident, Tom Merrick hitting Pat, a barn fire which Tom tried to frame Jack for, and a burglary at Emmerdale Farm, and in 1982 Jackie Merrick had a vicious fight with Teddy Hooson on a quiet country lane where they battered each other and dived into the river during the fight. And Jackie Merrick got drunk at the vicarage and almost trashed it with his sister and mate Andy. And more pop music was being played in the background. Also in 1983 Sandie fell pregnant while an unmarried teenager at almost 18. Jackie gave the father, his friend Andy Longthorn, a black eye when he found out the truth. Joe Sugden had an affair with a married woman, Barbara Peters, who was also the daughter of Rev Donald Hinton. And Jack Sugden found out someone tried to steal some of his Fresians and he camped out one night at the barn and when the thieves returned Jack brandished a shotgun at them which lead to a vicious fight between Jack and Barry, the ringleader, leaving Barry in hospital.
The 1980s also saw Turners dramatic antics at Home Farm which included him being unpleasent, using blackmail, gambling and womanising, and his sons love rat antics with Kathy Bates, Alan Turner's Home Farm days followed by Denis Rigg's nasty ways and the antics of Tom Merrick and Harry Mowlem. A fight between Matt and Jackie and Mowlem in January 1984, followed by Jack Sugden's steamy affair with Karen Moore, Harry Mowlam trying to run Dolly and Sam over in 1985, then Jackie Merrick being knocked off his motobike in 1985 followed by his mum Pat's dramatic road acident in 1986 where she swerved to avoid a flock of sheep, and her car rolled down a hill which left her dead, Matt and Harry's fight and car crash in 1986, strippers wrecking the Woolpack in 1986, a flood in the Woolpack cellar in 1986, Turner backing into Archies moped, Jack attacking a crazy driver just after Pat had died, Harry Mowlam's 1986 murder, and Jack suffered from delusions after Pat died and wandered aimlessly round the fields of Emmerdale having flashbacks. 1987 saw Jackie falling down a mineshaft, and him vandalising someones property over Kathy Bates, the threat of a nuclear dump that same year, Eric threatening Sandie with a poker, Paolo Rosetti chasing Pollard then accidentally shooting himself, the performers at a local pantomine escaping disaster when the scenery on stage catches fire, the Crossgill fire of 1988, a flood at Victoria Cottage in 1988, a post office raid, and Annie's addiction to tranquillisers in 1989. Also Jackie's shotgun accident. Then Denis Rigg was crushed by a bull that year. And David Hughes viciously beat up Pete Whiteley over his affair with Rachel Hughes, and suspecting he was cheating.
The early 1990s saw a tanker crash, a barn fire, Jock McDonald knocked unconscious by Kim Tate's horse, Frank Tate being revealed as a ladykiller which resulted in vandalism of his trucksAmos having a stroke and a few thefts involving Michael Feldmann. In 1991 Annie Sugden was attacked by a robber at Emmerdale, Chris Tate was attacked by both truck hijackers and Nick Bates for making unwanted sexual advances on his sister Kathy, Seth was shot at by poachers at Home Farm, and later that year Sarah was kidnapped by deranged Jim Latimer in revenge for Jack giving evidence against him in 1973 over the Sharon Crossthwaite murder. And Kim Tate had an affair with Neil Kincaid in 1992, the same year a child abuse scandal occurred in Beckindale. And at the 1992 Boxing Day Hunt, when Frank Tate found out about the affair, he gave Kincaid a good horsewhipping, and in public leaving Kincaid bleeding. And Zoe coming out as a lesbian in 1993, Eric's car crashing and bursting into flames on a country lane, and Eric trying to frame Michael for cheque fraud and theft of a Roman bracelet.
See, Beckindale was far from sleepy before that plane crash. If people think Emmerdale was sleepy and boring before the plane crash then they are seriously mistaken and the reality check is it was not all about animals and farming matters and biggest issues being whether Annie should get a new pinny or Seth wondering whether to use compost or turf for the new allotment. Since 1972 Emmerdale farm/Emmerdale has had hard hitting issues.
The photos on the right are screengrabs from eventful episodes of Emmerdale Farm/Emmerdale from 1972 to before the plane crash in December 1993, showing in black and white that the show had drama before the plane crash and was not all about farming and people smelling roses and talking about how great life is. Enjoy the grabs and prepare to be amazed, very amazed.