The King sends message to Emmerdale cast during National Television Awards
The King has praised the importance of the countryside as he sent a special message to the Emmerdale cast and crew for their 50th anniversary at the National Television Awards.
Host Joel Dommett surprised the soap cast with the pre-recorded speech during the annual ceremony on Thursday, which was held at the OVO Wembley Arena in London and aired live on ITV.
Charles said he was “delighted” to be celebrating the milestone, noting that he is old enough to remember when the show was called Emmerdale Farm.
He added: “It is a testament to all the hard work of its production team that it has since become such an important British institution and a major British export with hundreds of thousands of fans from Scandinavia to New Zealand, all keen to follow the fortunes of what is left of the Sugdens and their new neighbours.
“What makes Emmerdale so special is that it has kept true to the vision of its original writer, Kevin Laffan, who wanted to demonstrate that farming is not just a job – it’s a whole way of life.
“On a daily basis, Emmerdale continues to depict what life is really like for those who work the land and protect our precious countryside. It also stresses brilliantly something that concerns me greatly: the long-term sustainability of the way we produce our food.
“I’m also heartened by the production team’s efforts off screen. Their ambition to achieve net-zero emissions by 2030 has already made Emmerdale one of the first British programmes to be awarded Albert certification, recognising its efforts to reduce the environmental impact of its production process and to create content that stresses the importance of establishing a sustainable future.
“So it is only right that the National Television Awards acknowledge the enormous contribution Emmerdale has made and I hope those watching will join me in sending a warmest congratulations on its 50th anniversary. And wishing it an equally successful future.”
ITV noted that the King recorded the message while he was still the Prince of Wales, before he ascended to the throne following the death of the Queen.
After the speech, it was announced that Mark Charnock, who stars as Marlon Dingle in Emmerdale, had won the serial drama performance award.
Later in the award ceremony, the soap opera picked up the serial drama gong, fending off competition from Coronation Street, EastEnders and Neighbours, which aired its final episode in July after 37 years on screen.
The long-running soap was first broadcast in 1972 and was originally filmed in the real-life village of Arncliffe in the Yorkshire Dales before moving to Esholt in West Yorkshire.
After 22 years, the production moved to the Harewood Estate, where a replica of Esholt was constructed, after the village became too busy to film, with congestion and disruption caused by visits from fans hoping to catch a glimpse of the soap’s characters and locations.
The show will air a special hour-long episode on October 16, exactly 50 years to the day since the ITV soap first appeared on screens in 1972.
NTA’s executive producer, Kim Turberville, said: “We were delighted to be able to surprise the Emmerdale team with such an important message.
“Fifty years of iconic television out of the North is a huge achievement and rightly deserves to be celebrated in the best way possible.
“It is with great thanks to His Royal Highness for delivering this message to pop the icing on their birthday cake ahead of their very special weekend”.
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