Weddings, tragedies, kidnaps - and ratings

In the run-up to the National Television Awards on Tuesday, Suzanne McTaggart takes a look at the reasons why Emmerdale deserves to win this year's award for Most Popular Serial Drama.

BLAST HORROR: Dawn Woods and Noreen Bell (Julia Mallam and Jenny Tomasin) were killed when the King's new show home exploded and collapsed as they unveiled the impressive building during a grand opening ceremony.

Viewers saw Bob Hope (Tony Audenshaw) struggling to cope with the death of his beloved daughter Dawn, who had a young son, TJ.

It was later revealed that Sadie King (Patsy Kensit) had paid Cain Dingle (Jeff Hordley) to drive a JCB into the building, which ultimately caused the explosion.

The scenes, which were shown in July, thumped EastEnders in the ratings, scoring 6.6m viewers compared to the rival soap's 3.9m viewers.


KIDNAP DRAMA: Viewers were gripped when Cain Dingle (Jeff Hordley) kidnapped Tom and Sadie King (Ken Farrington and Patsy Kensit).

Both were tied up and threatened with guns during the violent scenes, before Cain bundled them into a car and drove over a cliff - but the car turned out to be empty.

It later transpired that Sadie and Cain were both involved in the plot and Sadie even had to fake her own death before the Kings handed over the ransom money.

However, Cain had the last laugh when he jetted away from Emmerdale on a private plane with all the cash, leaving Sadie stranded.

The hour-long episode drew in nine million viewers when it went head-to-head with EastEnders in September - double that of the BBC1 soap.


MARRIAGE BONDS: A chilling drama ensued when Steph Stokes (Lorraine Chase) was bound and gagged by her psycho husband, Dr Adam Forsythe (Richard Shelton).

Steph's brother Terence (Nick Brimble), who sexually abused her as a child, was killed by Adam during a violent fight and viewers saw the menacing medic struggle to keep Steph quiet about the incident.

He took her to Barbados but she was later sent to mental hospital after trying to blow the lid on the dark secret.

He turned on Steph when she searched through his belongings and knocked her unconscious during the scenes, shown back in July.

When she came round, she found herself bound, gagged and tied to the bed.

Lorraine, who plays Steph, will leave the show soon and Richard, who has already left, will return for a brief stint during Steph's final scenes.


HER LAST BATTLE: Tears flowed as Alice (Ursula Holden-Gill) lost her battle with Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma in July, just months after marrying Sam (James Hooton) and giving birth to baby Samson.

In a shocking twist, viewers saw Sam give his wife a lethal injection of morphine after she begged him to help her die.

The police stormed Alice's funeral and tried to arrest Sam on suspicion of murder - but his bad boy brother Cain (Jeff Hordley) ended up taking the rap.

Many charities, including Leukaemia Research, praised the show for its sensitive handling of the storyline and for raising awareness of Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma.

It has also won several top awards for the soap, including Best Storyline at last month's Inside Soap Awards, while Ursula Holden-Gill scooped the award for Best Soap Actress at the TV Quick and TV Choice Awards.


WEDDING FARCE: The Hope-Windsor double wedding descended into chaos as Viv and Bob and Donna and Marlon prepared to tie the knot back in February.

The drama began when bride -to-be Viv (Deena Payne) lashed out as Bob (Tony Audenshaw) failed to turn up at the church.

Furious Viv hunted him down before hurling her bouquet at him, sending him toppling into the river.

But she didn't know that Bob had been kidnapped by his ex wife Jean (Susan Penhaligon) who was determined to boycott the couple's big day.

Both couples made it happily down the aisle, despite Marlon (Mark Charnock) getting cold feet over the nuptials to his second wife Donna (Verity Rushworth).

The special double episode was watched by a whopping 8.7 million viewers, picking up an audience share of 40 per cent.