'80s incomer Alan Turner (Richard Thorp), who first appeared in March 1982.
Moggy has written to ask if I think the modern day Emmerdale serial is the same, in terms of style and story-line content, as Emmerdale Farm in the 1980s?
No, is the simple answer. Life changes and soaps evolve. The Emmerdale Farm of the 1980s was not the Emmerdale Farm of 1972-1979, and the Emmerdale of the 1990s was not the Emmerdale Farm of the 1980s, and the Emmerdale of the early 2000s is not the Emmerdale of the 1990s.
Tastes change, soaps have to change with them.
For instance, in the '72-79 era, Emmerdale Farm had a few outlandish storylines: the vicar's son was arrested for gun running in Athens, tramp-like wanderer Dry Hogben turned out to be stinking rich and on the run from his responsibilities, and Sam Pearson worried that one of his forebears was a witch. There were a few other such "oddball" storylines. But these was very much in keeping with the style of soaps back then. Viewers wanted a bit of escapism, a touch of the incredible in their soaps.
The '72-'79 show was also largely centred around older people: teenagers - like Rosemary Kendall - tended to be passing through.
In the 1980s, the show became grittier, more down to earth, faster moving, and more political - the anti-nuclear storyline of 1987 was hailed as a major step forward in the politicisation of soap operas by some, but as anti-government propaganda by others. There were permanent youth characters, an expanding cast, and more graphic and racy scenes - which had a mixed reception. In 1989, the decision was taken to edge farming out of the storyline to some degree and so "Farm" was dropped from the show's title.
The 1990s were a positive riot - with the glorious camp bitchery of Kim Tate and indeed the whole saga of the Tate family, a family very much at war. Once again, the show was keeping up with the times - much influenced by '80s era American soaps, like Dallas and Dynasty. Spectacular disasters - like the 1993 plane crash - altered the village landscape and viewers' perceptions of the show forever.
And so on to the current day.
If the Emmerdale of today was the same in style and content as the Emmerdale Farm of the 1980s, then I doubt it would be attracting viewers. Even EastEnders, which actually began in the 1980s, is not the same show it was back then. Viewers of the early 21st Century want different things from their soaps than the viewers of the 1980s did.
So, Moggy, I must say no, modern day Emmerdale is not the same show as 1980s Emmerdale Farm. I think anybody sitting down to watch, say, an episode of Emmerdale Farm from 1986, and then an episode of Emmerdale from 2009, would see the truth of what I'm saying.
Life moves on, soap moves on. This also applies to Coronation Street, EastEnders, etc.