Sunday Mirror, June 26, 1983:
Look out, Coronation Street and Dallas - Emmerdale Farm is on your trail! ITV's "forgotten soap opera" is back in the TV top ten ratings, with a British audience of between nine and twelve million a week.
It has a prime evening showing in most ITV areas except Thames. The programmes cast and makers argue that if Emmerdale Farm got a proper showing in the London area it would be a serious challenge to Coronation Street and Crossroads. The tale of everyday life on a Yorkshire farm has millions of followers in places as far away as Egypt and Sweden.
We went to find out why the world is hooked on the goings-on behind the gritty grim exteriors of the village of Beckindale.
At this time, Rosie Kerslake was coming to the end of her role as vicar's daughter, Barbara Peters, who had set the village aflame with gossip by having an affair with Joe Sugden. Barbara was married, although estranged from her husband.
Said Ms Kerslake:
"I'd like to think I'm more patient and less insensitive than Barbara. At times she can be bloody-minded and tough. I'm nothing like as tough as she is."
Frazer Hines was also bowing out, although he would return later in the decade.
Ian Sharrock said of Jackie Merrick: "It was great when I was going around being objectionable, burning caravans down and smashing things. I was really horrible. Now, though, the character has calmed down a bit, and personally I'm just a little sad. It was all right Jackie Merrick being Yorkshire's answer to James Dean providing he could grow up to be a sort of JR in wellies. But if he's going to be very mature and responsible from now on, I think I'll wind up disliking him intensely!"
Meanwhile that much-loved silent Beckindale hero of the earlyto mid-80s was attracting much attention. Yep, fans had signed a "give Walter summat to say petition". But Al Dixon, the man behind the legend, said: "I'd be out of Emmerdale if I ever spoke any lines."