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Emmerdale live review: Cast and crew were on top form
Emmerdale's Chas Dingle played by Lucy Pargeter. Image: ITV
Emmerdale might be a bit late to the whole live soap trend, but they've made up for it by pulling off an incredibly ambitious episode filled with more births, deaths and marriages than the local council's registry office.
It all went so smoothly that Sammy Winward's (Katie Sugden) fit of the giggles was almost a relief. Well, you could hardly blame her: she'd just had her face pushed into a wedding cake.
Nikhil's 'faint' while Gennie was giving birth in the Woolpack was a bit cheesy; they could have put it on toast and served it to the reception guests.
If you tuned into Emmerdale Live expecting things to go wrong, you would have been disappointed.
Instead of seeing people trying (and failing) to act in torrential Yorkshire rain (with random dog walkers straying into shot), we got an almost perfect episode of Emmerdale. In fact, viewers could hardly tell it was live.
Not only that, but several actors stepped up to the plate and did an even better job than usual.
"We got an almost perfect episode of Emmerdale"
Lucy Pargeter (Chastity Dingle) was a prime example. She had more airtime than anyone else as the plot centred on her wedding to sad-eyed, clown faced Dan, not to mention the fact she was being blackmailed by village baddie Carl King.
But did she wobble at any point during the hour long episode? No, not a chance. In fact, she was eye-flashingly, furiously perfect, despite having some very difficult scenes including a violent fight with Carl (possibly too violent for 7.30pm, but that's another discussion).
Goodbye to a cast member
And she wasn't the only one. Tom Lister (Carl) had an on-screen death to contend with (never easy at the best of times), but he staggered around and bled on things with consummate skill.
It's a shame to see him go. I'm sure I'm not the only one who winced when he was hit from behind by Cameron. Note to future baddies: it's never a good idea to shout 'I'm invincible!' when your back's turned to an attacker.
Before watching Emmerdale Live, I didn't really get the point of live soaps. If it goes well, it's just like a normal episode, but if it goes badly you're effectively watching a large number of people have a very bad day at work.
But with Emmerdale the fact that the stakes were so high seemed to enhance the performances, allowing the cast to shine and show us just how good they can be when they're put under pressure.
The live aspect acted as a magnifying glass for their already impressive abilities, meaning it was far more exciting, dramatic and passionate than a regular episode.
Which live soap episode is the best?
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- EastEnders (Bradley dies)
- Coronation Street (tram crash)
- 72 %Emmerdale (cradles to the grave)
It's hard to pick out individual performances when the entire cast were so brilliant, but Sian Reese-Williams (Gennie Walker) was particularly convincing with her wince-inducing birth on the floor of the B&B.
Charley Webb (Debbie Dingle) weeping over her newborn in the hospital brought a tear to my eye- and I don't even cry when I watch Bambi. Or Downton Abbey, for that matter.
Incidentally, it's not clear why Debbie got to have her baby in hospital while Gennie had to make do with the B&B. I suppose, as it's a rural area, there's a chance only one bed and one ambulance are available. Gennie should probably count herself lucky that she didn't have to give birth in a barn.
All in all, this was probably the finest live soap episode to date, and the perfect birthday celebration for a programme that's occasionally had to play second fiddle to EastEnders and Corrie.
Well done to all the cast; they definitely deserve a celebratory bottle of champers. Or possibly a pint of real ale in the Woolpack.
- Verdict: A superb hour of live soap; well crafted and acted
What other reviews say
Radio Times - "It was a surprisingly violent 60 minutes, it has to be said."
The Mirror: "Emmerdale Live gripped me from start to finish... and without so much as a hair out of place."
What people on Twitter said
@danwootton (Dan Wootton) - "The most impressive thing about #emmerdalelive is that you can't really tell that it is live."
@RikMakarem (Rik Makarem) - "Wow... Humbled. Honoured. Emotional. Thankful. #EmmerdaleLIVE Thank you for supporting us! x"
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