THE casts of Emmerdale and EastEnders always deny there is any rivalry between the two soaps.
They are all actors doing a job – even when the shows go head-to-head in the schedules.
But Emmerdale executive producer Keith Richardson doesn’t have to be so diplomatic.
An hour-long special to mark the ITV1 soap’s 35th birthday was launched today.
To be screened later this month, it features Jack Sugden, played by Clive Hornby (pictured), at the centre of some explosive action.
And, yet again, the second half hour of the extended episode is likely to compete directly with the Queen Vic regulars.
Speaking at ITV Network Centre in London this afternoon, series producer Kathleen Beedles played down talk of soap ratings rivalry.
“I can genuinely say, honestly, it’s about, for me, what we get and what the viewers think of the episode.
“You can’t start thinking, ‘Well, if we do this we’ll screw the opposition.’ It’s not about that.
“It’s about – is this a good episode, is it worth watching an hour of?
“It’s just an accident of our scheduling that means that when we do an hour it has to come up against EastEnders.
“So, at the end of the day, as long as our viewers are enjoying it and stay with us, we reward the viewers – that’s what gives me satisfaction.”
Keith then added: “But it’s enormously satisfying when we screw them.”
BBC bosses will certainly have their own views on the soap clash.
Emmerdale now regularly beats EastEnders in the ratings when they go head-to-head.