Tensions rise in a windswept spot for Emmerdale’s 50th anniversary

The spot celebrates 50 years since the British soap first appeared on TV, and teases a special hour-long episode that will coincide with the anniversary. Drawing inspiration from the storylines currently unfolding within the series, the spot takes viewers on a journey around a larger-than-life cake that depicts the village of Emmerdale in hyperreal style.

Viewers watch as a hurricane rips through, sweeping up a cast of life-like 3D figures – each modelled on a different character from the series. Soundtracked by Bronski Beat’s Smalltown Boy, the spot follows a tense, rhythmic pace, alluding to the drama that is due to take place in the episode.

Speaking on how the models were created, Amy Lord, production designer on the project and artistic director of Lord Whitney studio, tells CR: “The actors were captured using 3D-scanning software. The director Matt Rhodes worked with the costume, hair and makeup departments to pose the actors carefully for each scene, making it look as if they were in the midst of a hurricane. This involved their clothes and hair being hung on wires to create the effect, as well as them having to hold some pretty difficult poses.”

Scans of each of the actors were artworked by a 3D print team to create realistic models, which were then colour-printed in resin. Multiple sizes of each character were made to allow for shifts of perspective within the spot; for instance, the close-up shots were actually taken in separate sets to provide flexibility for the camera movements and featured larger 30cm models.

All photos by Nick Bennett @ Lumenetic

The smaller figures were used for the closing shots of the film, which show the violent gusts finally getting the better of the cake as the village begins to fall apart in spectacular fashion. Chocolate rooftops break, sugar glass shatters, and the characters come tumbling down and onto the floor, hinting at what should be a high-pressure episode.

Reflecting on the challenges and ultimate success of the project, Lord says, “There was a lot of creative problem-solving every step of the way and things were made quickly and adapted on the shoot to make it all work, but everything paid off.”

Agency: ITV Creative
ECD: Tony Pipes
Creative Director: Rachel King
Creatives: Jessica Mallet, Matt Legg
Director: Matt Rhodes
Director of Photography: Nicholas Bennett
Production Designers: Lord Whitney – Amy Lord, Rebekah Whitney
Cake designer: Michelle Wibowo @ Sugar Art
Editor: Nick Armstrong – Ten Three
Visual Effects: Coffee & TV