IN 1968 a group of young people took over a derelict trouser factory in a rundown part of Leeds and set about producing programmes that were to define the British television world of the late 20th century.

These included the investigative documentary series First Tuesday, Darling Buds Of May, Whicker’s World, Don’t Ask Me and Heartbeat.

Author and TV producer John Fairley has now launched a new book of memoirs under the title Heartbeat And Beyond, celebrating 50 years since the start of Yorkshire Television (YTV).

Fairley, who owns Highfield Stables in Norton, has edited the book, along with fellow producer Graham Ironside. The book also includes contributions from two dozen YTV people, including Miriam Stoppard, Kathryn Apanowicz, and Alan Whicker’s producer David Green.

John said: “This is the story of a group of people who, between them, produced programming to conquer the television world. They attracted - or indeed created - stars of international fame: Catherine Zeta Jones, James Mason, David Jason, David Frost.

“And the Dales and Wolds of Yorkshire earned new renown as ‘Heartbeat Country’ or just ‘the real Emmerdale’.”

John said: “In the process, the young producers and crews found themselves in all sorts of dramatic and absurd situations and this book has vivid personal accounts of crises and comedy both in front of the behind the camera.”

Heartbeat And Beyond is full of stories of drama and comedy, both in front of, and behind, the camera: how Heartbeat nearly died almost before it was born, how Emmerdale was only saved by crashing an aeroplane on the village, and how the great comedians like Leonard Rossiter, Les Dawson and Rik Mayall gave the young producers a hard time in those Leeds studios.

John said: “Many of the contributors to this book became - indeed remain - powerful figures in the television world.

“This book helps paint a fascinating picture of the making, from nothing, of one of the great television studios of its time.”

Heartbeat And Beyond is published by Pen & Sword Books Ltd.

For more information go to or phone 01226 734222.