1. ITV Report

Yorkshire soap Emmerdale prepares for live episode

Emmerdale celebrates 40 years Photo: Calendar

Soap fans are due to be treated to high drama as Yorkshire soap Emmerdale celebrates its 40th birthday with a live episode which will have two weddings, two births and a mystery death - all packed into one hour.

Avid viewers will be hoping to see the joint wedding of Chas Dingle and Dan Spencer, and Katie Sugden and Declan Macey, but an air of uncertainty hangs over the joint nuptials.

As wedding bells dare to ring, elsewhere Debbie Dingle is set to give birth to a baby she hopes will save her daughter Sarah's life after she developed leukaemia. Joining Debbie in the Dales' equivalent of a neo-natal unit will be Gennie Walker who is dreading the experience due to her own mother's death during childbirth.

With the joys of weddings and babies will come a shocking death which show bosses say will have "major, far-reaching repercussions".

Fans of the soap will not discover who dies until they watch them perish during the live episode, but characters the fans fear may meet their end include bad boy Carl King, vet Paddy Kirk, old favourite Alan Turner or shrewd businessman Declan Macey.

The ITV soap is following in the footsteps of Coronation Street and EastEnders as each celebrated their 50th and 25th birthdays respectively with live episodes.

Tony Prescott, the episode's director, has already been in charge of two live episodes for Coronation Street, and believes one thing a live episode needs is "waves of good luck".

"There is so much out of my control with a live episode," he said. "At Corrie, 50% of it was set in studio so we were in controllable conditions.

"Whereas with Emmerdale, the majority of the action is set outside. What we basically have for the 40th birthday episode is a magnificent play, set on the world's biggest stage, in the middle of the Yorkshire wilderness. You can just imagine the problems that could be unleashed."

Emmerdale's live episode to celebrate 40 years on television will be on ITV1 at 7pm on Wednesday.