Actress, Danielle Harold, who plays Lola Pearce in the award-winning BBC soap EastEnders, is due to play the second character in soap history to ‘give birth’ in a live special, held for the Olympics next week.
In a seven-minute live segment the actress will take her character through the stages of labour, live whilst her grandfather, Billy Mitchell (Perry Fenwick) is carrying the Olympic torch across Albert Square.
Billy has spent months preparing for his part in the epic Olympic torch relay, which left Portsmouth this morning on day 54 of its journey, but manages to rush to his young granddaughters side after handing it over, according to the Daily Mirror newspaper.
A show source said: “Everyone thinks the live show is all about Billy with the torch, but arguably Lola will steal the show when she gives birth in the live segment.
“No one has tried anything like this on EastEnders live before so it is a real challenge to get the emotion of the situation right. It will be the toughest thing Danielle has done in her acting career.”
The first 23 minutes of the episode have been pre-recorded as usual, and include Lola getting her first contractions, but to allow for the Olympic torch to arrive at Elstree Studios, where the soap is filmed, the final seven minutes, including Lola’s full-blown labour, will be broadcast live so that the actual torch relay footage can be shown, making soap history.
Perry Fenwick, who plays Billy Mitchell, has expressed his concerns of falling over when carrying the iconic torch in the live scenes, due to be shown a week today, on Monday July 23rd.
He admitted: “When we did the live episode of EastEnders, it put a few million on the viewing figures obviously, because they’re going to watch it and they’re going to see if you’re going to mess up your lines.
“But the few million who’ll be joining this time will be seeing if he falls over. I’ve been running round the Square training and stuff like that. I’m looking for every pothole down the market that could be filled in.”
The father of Lola’s baby still remains a mystery, although fans of the show will remember that the youngster slept with Ben Mitchell (Joshua Pascoe) to help prove he was gay, so he may well be the likeliest suspect.
This will be the second baby born on live soap TV, with Coronation Street’s Fiz Stape (Jenny McAlpine) giving birth during the 50th anniversary live episode following the Tram crash back in 2010.
Watch Fiz giving birth live in the clip below:
Watch the drama a week today on BBC1/BBC1 HD.