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Emmerdale's Kelvin Fletcher aims for Brands Hatch

One of Emmerdale's stars is about to swap his fictional role for real-life thrills as a racing driver.

Kelvin Fletcher has played Andy Sugden for 20 years, but has been racing competitively since 2012. He is now going to take part in the British Touring Car Championship.

It's a boyhood dream to race in the British Touring Cars. It's something I've watched as a spectator, as a fan, a big motor sports fan growing up so to get the opportunity now a little bit later in my adult life, I think it's absolutely fantastic.

– Kelvin Fletcher

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Red Arrows leave for overseas training

Preparing for take off Credit: RAF Red Arrows

Eleven jets from the Red Arrows aerobatic team have left their Lincolnshire base bound for the Squadron’s annual overseas training – known as Exercise Springhawk.

The Hawk aircraft took off from RAF Scampton and flew to Germany for refuelling, before continuing to Albania and staying overnight in Tirana this evening.

It is the first time the Squadron has formally visited the country and will provide a chance for the team to meet military officers and NATO partners in Albania. The aircraft will then complete the transit to Greece tomorrow.

Heading for overseas training Credit: RAF Red Arrows

For the next five weeks, the team – including pilots, engineers and other support personnel – will operate from Tanagra, an Helenic Air Force base, as they prepare for the 2016 season.

The annual training sees the Red Arrows fly three times a day, five days a week, to perfect their performance.

The overseas location provides the better weather which is essential to enable the team to practice and polish the 2016 display, which will be seen by millions of people this summer. It will be the Red Arrows’ 52nd display season since the first in 1965.

52nd display season Credit: RAF Red Arrows

Exercise Springhawk is the final part of the pre-season preparation and is also when senior Royal Air Force officers assess the team and decide whether to give approval for the Red Arrows to display in front of the public – known as Public Display Authority (PDA).

It is hoped the Red Arrows will attain PDA at the end of April before returning to the UK. Fore more information on the Red Arrows click here

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Memorial service for Emmerdale's Shirley Stelfox to take place

A memorial service for Emmerdale favourite Shirley Stelfox takes place at Leeds Minster this afternoon.

Shirley Stelfox has died aged 74 Credit: Press Association

The 74-year-old actress, who lived near Newark, played Edna Birch in the soap for fifteen years. Many of the cast and crew are expected to attend. She died in December after a short battle with cancer.

Emmerdale tour tickets go on sale

Tickets have gone on sale today to give soap fans the rare chance to explore behind the scenes at Emmerdale.

Explore behind the scenes at Emmerdale village Credit: ITV Yorkshire

From this spring, the live, working TV set located within the Harewood Estate in Leeds, will open its gates as cast and crew down scripts for the weekend and allow guests to tread the tarmac and indulge in a fully guided tour of the popular, fictional village.

Fans will be able to visit Home Farm, Bob's Cafe, The Woolpack and the Village Church as well as finding out fascinating facts and stories behind the making of the multi-award winning ITV soap.

The village set is a unique and special place and Emmerdale is excited to be able to show it off to a select number of visitors. I'm sure the public will enjoy seeing it as much as we enjoy working there.”

– John Whiston (Head of ITV North)

Tours will take place between Saturday 30 April – 31 October 2016.

For more information click here. To book a place e-mail: emmerdale@continuumattractions.com.

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