Emmerdale‘s catastrophic stunt has finally been revealed in full for the first time.
After a week of tense cliffhangers, it’s been revealed that the show is planning a devastating car pile-up involving several of our favourite characters.
We’ve already seen Aaron Dingle and Robert Sugden about to crash their car in the road, after all the drama of a Robron proposal distracted their attention for a moment. And let’s not forget they also have troubled teen Lachlan White locked up in the boot.
Paddy Kirk and Rhona Goskirk have also been shown about to collide with a crashed car in the middle of the same road, as their decision to rush off in hot pursuit of Pierce Harris went horribly wrong.
Now James Barton has escaped the clutches of his unstable wife Emma after she held him captive, which has brought him to the Road of Doom (which seems to have a magnetic pull!).
Tonight’s double bill will see Ashley Thomas thrown into the mix as his dementia symptoms continue to worsen.
Believing he’s late for his daughter’s christening, Ashley heads off in the car that he hasn’t driven for months – which brings him to the site of the disaster too.
Without giving too much away, viewers are in for a treat as the scenes are pretty spectacular.
As well as involving big-name characters, they incorporate several other cars and vehicles on the road – making this one of Emmerdale’s biggest ever stunts with a huge scale.
Danny Miller and Ryan Hawley, who play Aaron and Robert, also filmed in a special underwater set at Pinewood Studios for dramatic scenes which see their car plunge into a lake as part of the drama.
John Middleton, who plays Ashley, told us recently: “What brings Ashley to this point is that it’s the day of Dotty’s christening, but Ashley has had another severe deterioration in his condition. We assume that he’s had a mini-stroke, so he wakes up on the day totally confused.
“He has to be constantly reminded of what’s going to happen, first of all by Arthur and then by Laurel, who helps him get dressed. He comes down wearing a suit but still wearing his pyjama bottoms, things like that.
“Then they go to the christening, where there’s a real moment of crisis because he forgets why he’s there and whose this baby is. It’s the first time we’ve seen Ashley not recognise a member of his own family.”
John added: “They get through that and he’s having a lie down. Then he wakes up in a panic. He knows that something important has got to happen on this day. He looks in his memory book and sees Dotty’s christening.
“So there’s no-one in the house, he rushes out, forgets he can’t drive and gets into the car. That’s what brings him to this awful moment we’ve been creating.
“So his dementia has taken a dive for the worse, but it’s now been put in this extraordinarily dramatic context.”
Film and television action specialists Bickers Action worked on the complicated stunt mechanics for this storyline – and they revealed juicy details of the scale involved when we was invited on a recent Emmerdale set visit.
“This is one of the largest TV soap stunts that we’ve done. It’s over 15 vehicles that we prepped for it, in different forms and different stunts,” the company explained.
“We worked on that in our workshop for over a month before coming on set. There was a lot of lead-up to it. We’ve put nearly four or five hundred hours’ worth of labour into prepping everything and meetings. In the scheme of things, the prep side is probably heavier than the work we do on set.
“A lot of the vehicles have doubles. So at a guess it’s about 12 cars involved in the actual collision, with all the background vehicles as well.”
Emmerdale fans don’t need to worry about the show scrimping on the budget either, as the scenes ahead are some of the most eye-catching and expensive that the show has ever produced.
Bickers Action added: “We’re not allowed to say how much money is involved, but in the grand scheme of things, it’s a lot of equipment and people involved so it’s at the higher end of the scale of television.
“It’s probably one of the bigger ones that we’ve worked on for many, many years. Probably the biggest, when you look at how much has gone into it.
“We’ve worked from TV, right through to film. Wherever we work, it’s always treated with the same respect. We had 12 years working with Top Gear, we went all over the world with them working on that.
“We also worked with James Bond. Everybody works in the same ways and it’s the same seriousness whether it’s James Bond or Emmerdale, really.
“With most of the main car stunts on here, it was one take. We had to get it right. So it’s a team effort with us, the stunt guys, the camera crew and everybody else. Everything has to come together, really.”
And is there ever a chance that something could go horribly wrong on set? Bickers Action told us: “You’ve always got to have it in mind. It’s not an exact science, but we try to make it as much of a science as we can.
“With some of the big car crashes you get to a point where the vehicle is prepped, you put a stunt driver in there and you hand it over to him at that point – to perform what needs to be done.”
We know at least one main character will die, but only in the final scene of the week will we find out who.
Emmerdale continues on Thursday (October 20) at 7pm and 8pm on ITV.