Emmerdale has featured strong female characters from the moment it began on 16 October 1972. Remember original matriarch Annie Sugden?
Since then the ITV soap has featured the likes of Natasha Wylde, Sadie King, Kim Tate, Viv Hope, Charity Dingle, Laurel Thomas and Zoe Tate all making their mark on the village.
So to celebrate International Women's Day on Friday 8 March, the female characters take centre stage in an episode that has also been written, produced and directed by a female-led crew.
- Paddy meets his long-lost dad Bear in Emmerdale
- Jacob plots to sabotage David and Maya's romantic getaway in Emmerdale
- Rhona dumps Pete after baby bombshell in Emmerdale
"Charity is on a mission in this episode and although I can’t give anything away her scenes will have a significant impact going forward," teases Emma Atkins who plays Charity. "I really enjoyed filming these scenes, they were beautifully written and I was honoured to play a role in this episode. We work with a fabulous team day in day out on Emmerdale so it was interesting they pooled all the female crew and cast into one team."
Elsewhere in the village Chas Dingle (played by Lucy Pargeter) and Laurel Thomas (Charlotte Bellamy) bond over some secret news.
"The episode essentially deals with female stories across different ages from little April upwards," explains Lucy Pargeter who plays Chas. "My character Chas bonds with Laurel over some news she has, they are not two characters who normally make time for each other so it was lovely working with Charlotte."
Meanwhile, up at Butler's Farm, Moira Dingle (Natalie J Robb) stumbles upon an intruder. Who is it?
And Rhona Goskirk (Zoe Henry) finds herself with an unlikely confidante.
"In a TV programme such as Emmerdale with a large core cast, many of the characters never meet. Rhona and Diane’s paths, for example, have never really crossed," reveals Elizabeth. "The episode sees the two characters meet. For the first time I worked with Zoe Henry and what a pleasure that was, it remains my most enduring memory of the episode."
Emmerdale producer Kate Brooks adds, "Our International Women’s Day episode is not only a celebration of women in the broadest sense of the word, but also a showcase for the female talent we have in the television industry. We wanted the episode to be character driven and story led, exploring all aspects of what it’s like to be a women in 2019”.
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