The popular press tended to label Emmerdale Farm as "sleepy" until the 1980s. But then things changed.
From the Sunday People, April 14, 1985:
Muck-raking is no longer confined to the cowshed in Emmerdale Farm. Infidelity and intrigue have transformed the once-sleepy story of Yorkshire folk into the Dynasty of The Dales - and helped catapult it into the top twenty.
Click on the picture to read the whole article.
Late in the decade, the series was given parity with the other English soap operas. The whole country saw Emmerdale Farm on the same date and at the same time - networked - for the very first time in January 1988 - an historic moment - and that year the series was broadcast throughout the Christmas season for the very first time!
Do I think Emmerdale Farm was the Dynasty of The Dales in the 1980s? No. Studying the episodes, I think it was far more influenced by Brookside, which debuted in November 1982!