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Emmerdale actor Matthew Wolfenden set for live episode
Emmerdale actor Matthew Wolfenden is drawing on his experience of ice-skating to prepare for a special live episode celebrating the soap’s 40th anniversary.
Matthew, from Wyke , said it was an honour to appear in the Yorkshire soap’s first ever live episode, the highlight of a dramatic week of Emmerdale to be broadcast next month.
The special hour-long episode – filmed entirely on location at the village set on the Harewood estate – will feature two weddings, two births and the death of a well-loved character. The date has not yet been revealed.
Matthew’s character, David Metcalfe, features in the week of “must see” episodes, as well as the live one.
He said: “A lot of the older members of the crew have done live television so we’re in very experienced hands. It’s nerve-wracking but really exciting.
“We’re filming it on location in October, so the weather could be an issue. There will be cameras hidden in bushes all over the place. It will be a great experience.”
The actor, who went to Brighouse High School, won ITV’s Dancing on Ice this year, after training at Bradford Ice Arena.
“Even though I was skating live on the show every week, live telly still scares me,” he said. “I’m not a professional ice skater, so if I fell over it didn’t matter so much. But acting is my job so there’s more pressure.”
The special week of episodes will also include a music festival, featuring acts such as The Proclaimers and Scouting for Girls.
Matthew said the soap had evolved over its 40-year history to reflect the more contemporary aspects of life in the countryside and its economy.
“It’s relevant and modern, with a new generation of actors taking central roles, but there’s still room for the traditional aspect too. It strikes that balance well,” he said.
His partner is Emmerdale actress Charley Webb, whose character Debbie Dingle has a central role in the live episode, giving birth to the child she hopes will save her sick daughter, Sarah.
“Debbie and David’s paths don’t tend to cross that often, which works well for us,” said Matthew.
Series producer Stuart Blackburn said the live episode would take viewers “on a whirlwind journey, encompassing every life experience from the cradle to the grave, with love, hate and betrayal along the way.”
He said: “We want to avoid speculation as to which character dies but suffice to say it will have major, far-reaching repercussions.”
The Emmerdale cast also includes Kitty McGeever, of Wyke, who plays Lizzie Lakely, and Natalie Anderson, of Guiseley , who plays Alicia Gallagher.