Five surprising secrets about ITV's Emmerdale set

BELOVED by many, Emmerdale has become a staple on British TV after airing for less than five decades.

Viewers may know all about the Dales but only diehard fans of the ITV soap would know everything that goes on behind the scenes.

1. Getting the mould right

Located in the outskirts of Leeds, the Emmerdale set is every staycationer's dream – if you take out the explosions, murders and life-changing dramas.

However, and very thankfully for visitors, life in the middle of Yorkshire's green fields is more drama-free than anything, maybe even a little too smooth sailing.

The same thing goes for the houses, which were all made out of timber paired with a stone cladding… and a little too fresh and clean.

In 1998, production was far from pleased with the new-looking houses shown on screens and decided to take every home to the next level over the following year.

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This surprisingly involved encouraging mould to grow on the walls of the houses by spreading yogurt (yes, you're reading correctly) on the bricks, wherever production could.

However, some of the damage to buildings is mostly spray-painted.

2. Dead serious cemetery

Emmerdale's quest for authenticity doesn't only stop there.

During a visit to the set of the soap (which re-opened fully to the public Saturday, March 19, 2022) touring guides may welcome you into the cemetery by telling you some fans would rather stay away from it.

Guests on the set sometimes turn their backs on the landmark out of utter fear.

This is due to the fact that the cemetery includes real headstones.

A wander in the Emmerdale cemetery will not only reveal the stones of many well-known and loved (or not) characters, like Val Pollard, Tricia Dingle and Jacob Sugden, but also those of real-life people.

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But how did this happen?

It all comes back to the year 1998, once again, when a London cemetery was being cleared for development and the headstones had been sent all the way up to Yorkshire from the capital.

According to dedicated tour guide and soap enthusiast Michael, it's highly unlikely the bodies were exhumed and brought to be buried again in the Emmerdale set.

But whether families of the deceased know about their dearly departed's headstones being in the ITV show remains to be cleared.

Moreover, Emmerdale is the only soap with its own cemetery.

3. Dutch super soap fans

While many UK fans – soap fans, first-timers or not – are sometimes found on the Emmerdale set, the show has attracted a lot of attention abroad.

Surprisingly, some people are so dedicated to the programme they are willing to travel far and wide.

This includes fans from the Netherlands who are willing to make their long way to the Dales to explore the set of their favourite soap.

Coincidentally, many characters have left the village to start afresh in Amsterdam.

4. Hidden spoilers

As fans of the long-running drama watch the events of the programme with baited breath in front of their screens, life goes on fast in the real-life village.

Touring guide Michael mentions that filming occurs "six weeks ahead" of the TV schedule.

This means that while viewers are desperately seeking answers amid dramatic storylines or pointing out blunders, actors and production have already moved on to a new subject.

However, this has also led to some slip-ups during visits, as Michael coyly admitted.

Touring guides do their best to remain tight-lipped but are sometimes betrayed by minor details left on the set which may hint at a character's exit, arrival or even death.

5. The no man's house

Home Farm, Wishing Well, Tenant House, Butlers Farm- house names in Emmerdale have become just as famous as their residents.

But fans may not know that one particular house has never been inhabited and has never been shown on screens.

Located at the entrance of the eponymous village, and right next to Mulberry Cottage, visitors of the set may find a home called Oakley which is "the only house in Emmerdale history that nobody has ever lived in."

Could a forgotten or scrapped storyline have led Oakley to be discarded altogether?

The answer is far more simple – Oakley is a small house dedicated to nothing but props.

However, everything is done to keep the illusion real in Emmerdale.

While some houses have the set inside of them (like Brook Cottage and The Grange, which only has two bedrooms), are and remain "completely empty."

This means that some scenes, particularly those in David's shop and in the Woolpack, need to be filmed in studios in Leeds, where the space allows cameras and soap stars to roam freely.

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During Cameron Murray's siege of the iconic pub, for example, scenes of the cellar being flooded needed to be filmed in Pinewood studios in Iver Heath.

All this to allow ITV to air Emmerdale every weeknight from 7.30pm.

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