Plans to bring back the ghosts of Emmerdale past for a Halloween special are dead in the water.
Talk TV can reveal how writers on the soap pitched the idea of resurrecting some of the deceased characters – but were spooked by high production costs.
Bosses were given the fright of their lives when they counted up the number who had died – more than 100.
John Whiston, ITV’s managing editor of continuing drama, says: “The writers pitched the idea of all the ghosts of Emmerdale coming out for Halloween, but we wouldn’t have been able to afford it because there are so many dead people around the village.”
Emmerdale is known for its frequent and dramatic deaths. A plane crash in 1993 saw Mark Hughes, Elizabeth Pollard, Archie Brooks and Leonard Kempinski killed off. The shocking scenes were watched by 17 million.
Other deaths include Sarah Sugden in a barn fire, Chris Tate poisoning himself and Donna Windsor throwing herself off a multi-storey car park.
In the past two years alone, there was a helicopter crash at the wedding of Pete Barton and Debbie Dingle, which killed three, and the Hotten Bypass crash, in which James Barton died.
Emmerdale is known for pushing the boundaries, scooping numerous awards in the process.
John explains: “We’ve been known to have an experimental streak. Going back a bit, we heard the voices in Zoe Tate’s head as she burned down the church. More recently, we’ve seen the world through Ashley’s eyes as his dementia took hold.
“Our audience go with us, but only when they feel we’ve earned the right to take them on a particular journey.”