EMMERDALE will celebrate its 50th birthday celebrations with a month of gripping stories and "some of the most epic stunts you have ever seen."

The Yorkshire soap kicked off celebrations of the milestone anniversary with a Woolpack birthday cake.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: The Woolpack birthday cake The Woolpack birthday cake

The 50th anniversary is in October. Executive producer Jane Hudson said: "For five decades, Emmerdale has kept its audience entertained with incredible storylines and memorable characters.

"We want to make sure our 50th birthday month is a treat for all our loyal viewers and has them gripped to the edge of their seats as the stories unfold.

"We are very proud to be a jewel in Yorkshire's crown and want to make sure we celebrate our wonderful village and everyone who lives there. Across the month you will see stories which have you in tears, make you laugh out loud and of course, amaze you with some of the most epic stunts you will have ever seen.

"The Emmerdale team is a force to be reckoned with when it comes to creating drama as its very best, and never before has this been more true.”

Meanwhile, fans will see Emmerdale favourites Marlon Dingle and Rhona Goskirk tie the knot in a moving wedding ceremony to be screened next week.

Marlon, who suffered a stroke earlier this year, is determined to walk down the aisle - but a dramatic dash to hospital threatens the couple's big day.

At his stag do Marlon tries to get to his feet but his legs buckle and he falls to the ground. When best mate Paddy suggests that he gets checked out at hospital, a devastated Marlon is knocked for six when the doctor tells him he’ll have to stay overnight, due to high blood pressure.

On the morning of the wedding, Rhona is blissfully unaware that there's anything wrong, as Marlon is told he's not well enough to be discharged. But when Rhona starts to worry, a 'wedding wheelchair' bursts into the church and Paddy wheels Marlon in.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Marlon (Mark Charnock) starts to walk down the aisle to Rhona (Zoe Henry). Photo: Mark Bruce/ITVMarlon (Mark Charnock) starts to walk down the aisle to Rhona (Zoe Henry). Photo: Mark Bruce/ITV

"When I read the script I found it intensely moving," says Mark Charnock, who plays Marlon.

"We were both very emotional," added Zoe Henry (Rhona). "This episode had our biggest cast count and crew for two years and it was great to dress up."

Mark, who won Best Dramatic Performance at this year's British Soap Awards for his portrayal of Marlon's stroke, has worked closely with the Stroke Association and says the powerful storyline is a "big responsibility".

"It happens to so many people and each stroke is very different. This is bespoke to Marlon," said Mark. "It's been a fascinating journey, it is very well researched and I felt well prepared. The scripts are brilliant.

"The Stroke Association has been so helpful and we have an advisor on set, who helped with my walk down the aisle."

Said Zoe: "Stroke has affected my family, as it has many others. It's important that we see that there is some light."

Speaking about the future of Marlon and Rhona, Mark said their shared history - the couple first got together 20 years ago - means they're a "very solid couple".

Said Zoe: "They have a child too. When you have a couple rooted in history, it gives them gravitas."

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Marlon and Rhona exchange vows. Phot: Mark Bruce/ITVMarlon and Rhona exchange vows. Phot: Mark Bruce/ITV

Added Mark: "This wedding episode is everything soap is about - it has light and shade. It has Faith and Chas's heartbreaking storyline, but it has laughs too. It is intimate, romantic, funny, tearful - all that in 45 minutes. I feel very proud to be part of it.

"I used to watch Emmerdale with my nan when I was little. To be part of it now, as it turns 50-years-old, is incredible."

* Emmerdale is on ITV, Monday to Friday, 7.30pm.