Film ID: YFA 3381 Video of YFA_3381 From Esholt to Beckindale FROM ESHOLT TO BECKINDALE 1976 Visitor TabsDescription The long-running soap opera, Emmerdale, is filmed on location in the village of Esholt, near Bradford. This film documents how Esholt is changed into the fictional village of Beckindale for the television programme. It also examines the effect the series has on the village and its people. Titles: ‘From Esholt To Beckindale’ ‘A Village Transformed’ The film opens with Yorkshire Television lorries arriving at the village of Esholt. The film crew unload the equipment that will be used in the production, such as cables, cameras, sound booms and dollies used for tracking shots. The producer, Ken Leckenby, interviews Mr Turner, who was the owner of ‘The Falcon’ pub when filming first begun there. A film crew puts up a police sign as well as hangs a sign changing “The Falcon” to the “Woolpack Inn.” Mr Ellis, the church warden, is interviewed, and he notes that receipts in the church box have greatly increased from the contributions of film crew and tourists. Cameras are waterproofed with plastic sheets. Mr Rimmer, the current owner of ‘The Falcon’ pub, is interviewed, and he notes the large increase in tourists since Emmerdale started filming there. In a catering truck bacon cobs are made for the film crew. Another elderly local is interviewed, and he comments that he has never heard anyone grumbling about the filming. The actors arrive on set and enter the pub. These include Arthur Pentelow who played Henry Wilks, and Sheila Mercier who played Annie Sugden. The actors then perform scenes which are filmed outside the pub. Commentary by George Duncan Produced by Ken Leckenby Context This film is one of very many produced by Mercury Movie Makers, a part of Leeds Cine Club who specialised in making 16mm film. They made very many good quality films – many held with the YFA – going back to the early 1960s, of which this film from the 1980s is an excellent example (for more on MMM see the Context for A Vision Fulfilled). Ken Leckenby in particular made Out and About films featuring local events and the natural environmental of Yorkshire, which he very rarely ventured out from. The making of Emmerdale Farm was an obvious topic for the group as at the time they were situated in Sexton Lodge next to the Church of St Paul in Esholt, and thus were perfectly placed to witness the shooting of the well known soap series. Yorkshire Television’s Emmerdale Farm – it became just ‘Emmerdale’ in 1989 – began in October 1972, a kind of TV version of ‘The Archers’, with a bit more grit. Initially filmed in Arncliffe this proved to be too small and remote, and so it moved to Esholt, just north of Bradford, in 1977. This location was meant to be kept secret, but the tourist office in Bradford let the cat out of the bag when they had a picture of the Commercial Inn (the ‘Woolpack’) on the front page. Some of the villagers have benefited from the tourism this has brought, but others haven’t been so thrilled, such as farmer Joe Whitham who posted a sign up on his farm declaring, ‘This is NOT Emmerdale Farm’, which unfortunately had the opposite affect of the one intended! Actually the Emmerdale farm is 20 miles away at Lindley Farm, Arthington, near Bramhope. Alan Turnbull’s website (see Further Information) provides a full guide to where Emmerdale is filmed, with maps and plenty of photos. The creator, Kevin Laffan, was himself a former farm labourer and he wanted to portray ordinary people trying to get along, and the affects of man on nature. But after 12 years the insistence of the producers to introduce more sensationalist plot ands scenes caused him to take a more back seat role as a consultant. However, the producers have always insisted that it is character led, although this has not prevented dealing with serious issues when these have flowed from the development of the characters. It isn’t certain exactly when Mercury Movie Makers made this film, but those who were regular watchers of the series at that time might well be able to put a year to it. Soaps began in the US as radio productions aimed at housewives and sponsored by detergent companies, such as Proctor and Gamble, who would advertise during them, hence the name ‘soaps’ – the term opera was an ironic reference to their over-dramatisation. As well as a form of entertainment, critics have often commented on the function they fulfil of providing a focus for discussion of the everyday issues in people’s lives. One interesting aspect of this is that soaps don’t really have a beginning or an end, they are always in ‘the middle’ – it is all loose ends – which might be considered to be more true to life than stories that have a resolution. It is difficult to provide a neat definition of what constitutes a soap, but Dorothy Hobson (see Further information), notes that the illusion that life carries on even when not on screen is an essential ingredient. From Esholt To Beckindale demonstrates that life must go on too for the people of Esholt as well as for those living in Beckindale. References Dorothy Hobson, Soap Opera, Oxford, Polity, 2003. Alan Turnbull’s website Information on past episodes of Emmerdale .