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'Emmerdale' live episode countdown begins

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Anticipation is building among soap fans today (October 17) ahead of the first live Emmerdale episode in the show's 40-year history.

Cast and crew have now reached the end of their official preparation period for the hour-long anniversary broadcast, having completed two full-length dress rehearsals yesterday.

Digital Spy understands that while official rehearsal time has not been scheduled for today, any specific scenes which still need fine-tuning will continue to be worked on in the build-up to transmission this evening.

New Emmerdale title screen logo

© ITV

Emmerdale

Emmerdale 40th Anniversary logo

© ITV


> 'Emmerdale's 40th anniversary - full coverage

Emmerdale bosses have managed to keep many of the storyline details for the live episode under wraps. However, the special edition will focus on the aftermath of two weddings as last night's instalment saw Katie Sugden marry Declan Macey, and Chas Dingle tie the knot with Dan Spencer.

Show chiefs have tipped Chas, played by Lucy Pargeter, as one of the main characters to watch out for as the 40th birthday storylines reach a climax.

Wanting to escape the blackmail of her ex-fiancé Carl King, Chas is hoping to flee the village with Dan - but as plans in soapland rarely go smoothly, it won't be a surprise if she runs into trouble.

Viewers can also expect two births in Emmerdale Live as Gennie Walker and Debbie Dingle will both be welcoming their babies into the world, bringing joy to them and their loved ones.

6370: Nikhil is worried as Gennie lets out a gasp of pain at Chas' wedding

© ITV

6370: Debbie is rushed to hospital as she starts to feel contractions

© ITV



Before the night is out, though, events will take a startling turn as producers have promised an "untimely death" which will rock the village to its core.

While the unlucky individual's identity is being kept secret, series producer Stuart Blackburn has said of the shock twist: "I think it will move people. It will change our characters' lives for a long, long time and then drive the show forward with new stories for the coming months."

Meanwhile, executive producer John Whiston recently teased: "All I want to say about this particular death is that the writers felt that the character had it coming from the soap gods."

Emmerdale 40th Anniversary death teaser

© ITV

Emmerdale road sign

© Rex Features / ITV



In total, Emmerdale Live will feature 61 cast members and 350 supporting artistes, while 70 crew members will be working on the night - almost double the number for a regular Emmerdale shooting day.

Tony Prescott, who was in charge of Coronation Street's live transmissions in 2000 and 2010, is the director of the special.

Unusually for a soap live episode, Emmerdale's broadcast will be filmed entirely on-location at the show's village base, leaving the team exposed to the elements on the night - and there is no plan B in place to keep the cast dry in the event of rain.

A number of cast members have expressed concern over the weather in recent weeks, while Blackburn has said: "A bit of wind and lots of rain, I'd be happy with that - it's the gale force that we're dreading."

As well as the broadcast itself tonight, dedicated fans can get extra insight online as a series of secret backstage webcams have been hidden in the village, allowing viewers to get a fully immersive experience of the live production.

An ITV2 backstage show will also air immediately after the episode, featuring exclusive reaction interviews with the cast.

Emmerdale Live airs tonight from 7pm on ITV1. Get the Inside Soap magazine on your iPhone or iPad

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