Its all change behind the scenes at Emmerdale with a new Producing structure at the helm following the departure of Iain MacLeod to Coronation Street. The Emmerdaily asked fans what they would like to see more and less of on their favourite soap.
Since Iain MacLeod took over the Emmerdale helm in late 2015, the award cabinet is now fit to burst thanks to his love of ‘special episodes’, and while fans have not always agreed with some of his storylines, he leaves the show is a fairly good position for the new team. As Executive Producer Jane Hudson and Producers Kate Brooks and Laura Shaw take over the reins, we asked Emmerdale fans to tells us what they would like to see in the Emmerdale episodes of the future and what they have definitely had enough of…
What fans want to see…
Faces from the Past
Emmerdale fans have a strong affection for the former characters that still have storylines in play or the option to return and would love to the likes of Andy Sugden, Adam Barton, and even those who have been left a lot longer such as Kim Tate and Kathy Bates back in the Dales.
One family the fans are desperate to see more of is the Sugdens, the family that was at the heart of Emmerdale when it started by in 1972. We only have three Sugdens in Emmerdale at present – Diane, Victoria and Robert.
Fans are keen for Emmerdale to explore Robert’s relationship with his father Jack, his state of mind when he left the village, and what happened to him during his time away from the village.
The original Emmerdale matriarch Annie Sugden still resides in Spain however is rarely mentioned so it would be great to see her return for a guest appearance. But another member of the Sugden clan is Robert’s half sister Sandie Merrick.
We’ve petitioned before as to why Sandie Merrick should and could return, bringing with her another generation as she has a daughter called Louise. As she has been gone from Emmerdale since 1989, she may have more children now, or even a new husband.
Not only would she have links to existing characters but it would also strengthen the Sugden’s stature in the village.
During the ‘MacLeod years’ we saw both of Emmerdale’s ‘super couples’ split with both Coira – Cain and Moira Dingle – and Robron – Robert Sugden and Aaron Dingle – going their separate ways for a while. Both couples have recently reunited and fans are desperate for them to have some happier times for a while. If they do face issues, they hope that the couples face them together as a team rather than it expose their weak points.
The latest addition to the ‘super couple’ roster is Vanity – Vanessa Woodfield and Charity Dingle. Whilst they are currently embroiled in the story of Charity’s past abuse at the hands of DI Bails and the return of the child that she thought had died, it will be interesting to see what the future holds for the couple.
There is one thing fans want and they are very clear about it – Let couples stay together!
We know the issue led drama is what brings in the awards but when real life is so dark and bleak, viewers want some lighter, happy storylines and less doom and gloom.
They want a more realistic portrayal of society with couples lasting long enough to create real family units to follow the concept of saga that the audience love in soaps. Pairing and splitting people randomly and always by cheating is killing that and devalues the concept of love and relationships.
More friendships are also requested. Apart from siblings and Paddy and Marlon, characters don’t seem to have friends. For example, since Adam Barton departed, Aaron Dingle only hangs out with his partner Robert Sugden, his sister Liv Flaherty, or his family. He need some new people to hang out and become mates with.
When the show started in 1972, it was entitled Emmerdale Farm but over the years, farming and rural life has been shown much less.
However, most villages in the UK face the constant battle of fighting off new buildings, housing estates, roads and trainlines – so why not Emmerdale? That would give us new storylines with new arrivals such as builders, etc. This would then lead to new neighbours.
We saw a glimpse of this with the proposed development of the golf course on the land where the Dingle homestead Wishing Well cottage resides, but once the truth came out about Joe Tate, it seems to be long forgotten.
It would be great to see the whole village rally together against an external foe and to recognise the challenges farming and rural communities face on a regular basis.
Respect for our elders
In recent times, we have lost a lot of our older characters such as Betty Egleton, Edna Birch and Sandy Thomas, and we rarely see Pearl Ladderbanks these days. Reduced very much to supporting roles, it has been refreshing to see Diane Sugden, Doug Potts and even Rodney Blackstock come to the fore (even if it is for sexy times with Misty).
Viewers want better storylines for the older characters such as Rodney, who only seems to be used for comedy value. Patrick Mower has an amazing acting portfolio as does Elizabeth Estensen and Duncan Preston and could be utilised much more than they presently are.
Diane Sugden hasn’t had as much on-screen presence since she lost sister Val Pollard (Charlie Hardwick) and retired from the Woolpack. We’d love to see Diane get a new friend in the shape of Faith Dingle to give her some spark back as she just involved with Doug and Eric Pollard (Chris Chittell) or her various grandchildren.
There’s also unfinished business with con-man Charlie Haynes (George Costigan) – remember when he took off with Diane’s life savings? Given the grief she’s giving Doug over Terry, neither does she! We’d love to see Diane get revenge and be the strong woman she used to be.
We’d love to see her back behind the bar – maybe open up another pub to rival the Woolpack or let’s see the much talked about Malt Shovel.
Whilst viewers appreciate Emmerdale is a soap, they also want a sense of reality too. Over the past 18 months, we’ve had so many pregnancy scares and unplanned babies that its about time the women were written with more knowledge of conception and more empowerment to take responsibilities of their own bodies.
It would also be good to see more positive friendships between women, being supportive of each other and not just fighting over men!
Viewers also want better LGBT representation, which we hope we will see in both Robron and Vanity as well as the forthcoming storyline that sees Hannah Barton return to Emmerdale living as a transgender man called Matty Barton. The fans also want to see an adoption plot for Aaron Dingle (Danny Miller) and Robert Sugden (Ryan Hawley).
They also want to see storylines taken to their full potential rather than being forgotten about. For example, Aaron’s miraculous recovery from using spice and his prison abuse led to panic attacks on his release. A couple of counselling sessions later and its never been mentioned again. Also, Charity remortgaged the pub without Chas‘ knowledge so when her and daughter Debbie Dingle lost the Bentley, they couldn’t pay the loan, putting the Woolpack at risk. But there has never been any mention of it since. We appreciate that stories need to move on but it would be good to see some conclusions on screen.
What fans don’t want…
Cheating maybe a ‘soap staple’ but Emmerdale has had more than its fair share – less cheating and sleeping around, and more couples working together
Less violence, criminal activity, and revenge plots. Let’s replace the negative with more positive storylines.
No more over the top comedy moments – we’ve had fart gags, a giant beaver running round the village and too many sexual innuendos to mention. Emmerdale has always had great humour without resorting to that childish sense of humour.
No more villagers going on the run – so far the Emmerdalians on the lamb are Andy Sugden, Declan Macey, Adam Barton, Kirin and Rakesh Kotecha, and Kim Tate. We have too many villagers with criminal records already. Let’s not add anymore.
What we will say is the future is bright for Emmerdale. Cast and crew, writers and the production team have had a taste of success with the fantastic array of awards collected over the past few years. They won’t want to go back to loserville now.