Emmerdale Special – 9th September 2012


‘From the cradles to the grave.’

I attended the Emmerdale 40th Anniversary Live Edition Press Day on Thursday 6th September which was held on location at the Emmerdale village site.

We were blessed with a lovely warm Autumn day, and after a welcoming glass of Prosecco I made a beeline to some of the cast members and chatted in the sunshine before we headed into the large teepees (which had been set up for the day) to attend a Press conference with Stuart Blackburn, a couple of the show’s directors and Katie and Chas. We were talked through the challenges and technicalities involved in staging the live episode then shown a montage of clips leading up to the big day.

All I can say is that we’ve got a TREAT in store. Two weddings, two births and a death. Unlike Coronation Street and EastEnders’ live episodes, Emmerdale’s ‘live’ will be filmed entirely on location “On a dark October night on a windy hill. It’ll shoot itself; what could possibly go wrong?” Stuart Blackburn laughed as he talked us through it.

The before and after episodes are already ‘in the can’, and the team are absolutely impassioned in ensuring that viewers will be gripped both by the build-up to and the events which follow in the weeks and months after the live episode.

The overwhelming feeling you get from the cast and crew is that they’re one big family and are ‘all in it together’. When you hear actors saying things like that on TV/magazines etc you tend to be a bit sceptical, but you could really feel the camaraderie between them.

Crew outside the teepee

That feeling of warmth extended throughout our visit, and after the Press conference we were treated to more hospitality with a tasty barbecue. I went to sit inside one of the tents (due to my tendency to burn – even in the dark), and by chance happened to plonk myself down at a table which turned out to be occupied by some of my Twitter friends from the crew/props department!

We had a great chat, then once the plates had been cleared away we were given our positions around the tables and visited by cast members in pairs for ‘formal’ interviews: all of which turned out to be extremely entertaining. Needless to say, nobody was giving anything away in relation to the big night but it was great to be able to engage with the cast and experience some of the ‘buzz’ the live edition was creating.

The helicopter I flew in

After the interviews we were able to take a short stroll down to the village where an ice cream van and several other little stalls were set up for us. The weather was still sunny and warm – although the breeze was picking up a bit. I spotted This Morning’s Sharon Marshall standing by the phone box and went over to say hello before then having to head over to the field for my little trip.

Earlier on they’d drawn 20 names out of a hat for helicopter rides and I’d been picked! I’ve got no head for heights and had thought myself about as likely to ever go up in a helicopter as I was to run a marathon, but within a few minutes I was up in the air flying over the Harewood Estate and then right over the village itself.

Aerial view of the village

I was only offered the opportunity (by Tellyspy) to attend this event last Friday evening, and if anyone had told me then that I’d also be flying over the village in a helicopter I’d never have believed them, and almost had to pinch myself as I peered down on the tops of the buildings below.

Aerial view of the teepees

When I got back to the teepees for a welcome cup of tea (I’d have liked a glass of fizz but had to drive home that night) I was amazed to see ‘Edna’s Hat’ (the cast members’ band) giving us a performance up on stage (with a guest spot by Bob Hope dressed as Elvis!), and within a couple of minutes I was up there on the dance floor ‘getting on down’ with cast, crew and other journalists.

Walking back through Leeds to my car a couple of hours later it all seemed like a dream, and after driving home to Wiltshire I got five hours sleep before having to drag myself out of bed in order to be at my cleaning job by 7.00 am the next morning.

As I cleaned and polished, the events of the previous 24 hours seemed even more surreal than they had the day before, but it only served to strengthen my desire to actually be able to earn a living from my writing (rather than do it all for nothing as I do currently!).

Special thanks to all the cast members who took the time to chat to me informally. It was an absolute pleasure to talk to each and every one of you.


* None of the above photos are mine. My camera lead’s mysteriously vanished so I haven’t been able to upload my photos (which were only of the village and the teepees), but once I find it I’ll add them.

* Rishi is SO full of mischief. I’ll never be able to watch him again without smiling!

* Megan is even more attractive in the flesh than on-screen.

* Those lusty young lads Alex and Adam are even more cheeky in real life than on-screen!

* I didn’t recognise Moira at first as her hair was completely straight.

* Not all the cast were there (some were filming in the studio that day), which was a real shame.

* There’ll be lots of stuff in the media as the big day draws closer, and keep watching the buildup to what is going to be truly a night to remember!

* I also met Jenny Godfrey; founder of the Emmerdale fan club – who some of you might know. The club’s not online or even on Twitter, but I hope I’ve persuaded Jenny to take the plunge before too long!

* To read more about my visit to Leeds, either click on ‘Welcome’ at the top of the site or on ‘This week’s complete blog’ near the top on of the page the right.

My new live interactive internet show Jane’s Soapy Corner begins at 6.00 pm (BST) on Tellyspy @Tellyspy this Wednesday night. I’ll be talking all things Emmerdale (as well as Corrie and EastEnders), so do tune in and feel free to message me live on anything Soapy!



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