Emmerdale airs its big autumn stunt on Tuesday 22nd October when the affair between Moira Dingle (Natalie J Robb) and hunky farm hand Nate Robinson (Jurell Carter) is finally discovered by Cain Dingle (Jeff Hordley), and the traumatised trio end up on an exploding boat.
Cain lures his wife and her lover to the lake claiming he’s booked a relaxing fishing trip, but the illicit lovers are the ones who are reeled in as the betrayed bad boy plans to confront them over their cheating.
Soon the men come to blows, Moira falls overboard and is trapped beneath the surface when she gets tangled in some weeds, and a leaking can of petrol causes the boat to blow…
You’d think that by now the cast would not bat an eyelid at being part of these high-octane stunt set pieces that have become one of Emmerdale’s trademarks, but Hordley and Robb confess to being particularly trepidatious as they embarked on the explosive climax to the controversial affair storyline.
“I was very anxious about the underwater sequence to begin with,” admits Hordley. “Once I had acclimatised to the surroundings and being in a water tank it was better. I love snorkelling when I’m on holiday but this was a bit different.
“What made the whole experience more difficult and challenging was doing the whole thing without goggles or a mask, so your visibility goes down to about 15 percent. I could literally only just see a hand if it was really near my face, so that was a bit daunting.”
“I am not going to lie, Jeff and I were apprehensive ahead of filming underwater,” confides Robb, whose character’s unfortunate tumble into the lake is the reason for the tricky sequence. “But we did a lot of training in a swimming pool, getting used to the diving regulators and what we needed to do. We both had buddies, divers who stay with you to make sure you always have access to air. They were so reassuring and gave us confidence.
“When you’re doing it for real the adrenalin builds, and actually I got quite nervous but needed to stay calm. That’s the trick, staying calm underwater and not to panic. The tank we filmed in was quite deep, really dark and murky and dressed with reeds and rocks.
“I loved getting out of my comfort zone, but it was much harder than the stuff we normally get to do on the show. It’s good to scare yourself sometimes!”
The ambitious centrepiece of the stunt in the hour-long episode is the huge explosion that rips through the boat, shot on location on a lake near Halifax.
“Everything was shot out of sequence on the location and the explosion was the first thing to be filmed,” Robb continues. “It was good to watch as it set the bar high and from then on we worked up to that moment, and shot all the before and aftermath.”
“It was spectacular,” marvels Hordley. “They shot the explosion from various angles and with a drone from above, which looks absolutely fantastic. As a whole sequence with all the stunts and the explosion cut together I think it’s going to be really exciting, dynamic and beautiful to watch.”
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