Emmerdale Farm (lost episodes of ITV soap opera; existence unconfirmed; 1981)

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Emmerdale Farm logo.

Status: Existence Unconfirmed

Emmerdale Farm is a long-running British soap opera. Broadcast on ITV since 1972, the show has been on the air for over 50 years. In October 1981, a strike at Yorkshire Television caused the show to go into hiatus from November 1981 to January 1982. Consequently, Episodes 697 to 702 were never broadcast, though their existence has since been disputed.


Emmerdale Farm (now known simply as Emmerdale) was created by Kevin Laffan, a rural soap opera featuring storylines occurring primarily within a fictional Yorkshire Dales village.[1][2] Originally intended as an afternoon television show that would last for three months, its popularity has led to it receiving prime-time television slots, generally attracting around 5 million viewers per episode.[1][2] It was also declared the Best British Soap at the 2016 British Soap Awards.[3] Its most famous episode aired in December 1993, featuring a plane crash that killed several characters and attracting a record 18 million viewers.[4][2]

The show's production was affected by two strikes.[5][6][7] In 1979, a major ITV strike lasting from August to October 1979, affecting all of its shows including Emmerdale Farm.[5] Another strike occurred in October 1981, concerning a dispute between Yorkshire Television and its electricians.[6][7] This lasted throughout much of October, forcing Emmerdale Farm to go on hiatus once Episode 696 was broadcast on 5th November.[7][6] The show would not air new episodes until 12th January 1982.[7][6] Strangely, the first episode broadcast following the hiatus was listed as "Episode 703".[7][6] It therefore suggested that apparent Episodes 697 to 702 were produced, but an executive decision was made to leave them untelevised.[6][7]


Disputes emerge over whether Episodes 697 to 702 actually existed.[8][9][10][6][7] According to show storyliner Lance Parkin in his book 30 Years of Emmerdale, the episodes were officially made but were ultimately never transmitted.[6] However, when prompted regarding the episodes' status, ITV Archive insists no traces of the episodes ever existed because the aforementioned strike halted production.[9][10][8] This therefore creates an unexplained episode title anomaly, which remains as of the present day.[7][9][10] Because of the conflict surrounding the episodes' status, Kaleidoscope lists them as "missing, but was probably never made in the first place".[8]

A suggestion that may help to confirm or deny the existence of 697-702 would be to watch Episodes 696 and 703 to determine whether the narrative occurs seamlessly, or contains unexplained elements that may have arisen from the scrapped episodes.[10] However, the limited home media and streaming release of Emmerdale makes this tougher to achieve.[9]

See Also