As fans of Emmerdale will know, newlywed Katie Macey is about to face a life and death struggle after she falls down a disused mineshaft…
And while talking about the dramatic scenes, actress Sammy Winward – who’s played the role of Katie since 2001 – has revealed that her character will suffer dreadful injuries, including a “shattered” pelvis during her ordeal.
But first, she explained that Katie’s fall happens after she follows new husband Declan (Jason Merrells) onto Home Farm estate after he storms off during a row.
Clambering onto quad bikes, the two roar off into the fields, and that’s when Katie – bike and all – falls down the abandoned mine.
Sammy began by saying, “Just before she falls down the mineshaft, she’s had a huge argument with Declan…
“Even though they’ve only just got married, he’s not sure how he feels about her anymore and vice versa.
“So Katie is already feeling horrendous about that when she falls down the mineshaft.”
She continued, “At first, Katie thinks there’s a possibility of getting out because Declan throws a rope down and also tries to pull her up with his coat.
“But Declan’s attempts to rescue her don’t work and then she actually falls deep down into the mine.
“After that, Katie realises that she doesn’t have much hope of getting out unless she takes action herself.”
Digital Spy reports that Sammy was then asked, “How bad are Katie’s injuries?” to which she replied, “Her injuries are really bad…
“The first time she falls, she knocks herself out and ends up with head injuries. When she falls for the second time, it’s quite a big fall and she shatters her pelvis.
“That means she can’t walk and she basically feels like she’s been split in two.”
Meanwhile, Declan has of course called in help, and initially, Katie’s relieved when she can hear the rescuers above.
Sammy said, “Initially Katie can hear Declan, Andy and Moira who are trying to rescue her – that’s when she’s on the first ledge.
“She can’t see them, it’s just hearing their voices because she’s already deep down in the mine.
“It’s when she falls down again that she can’t see or hear anybody…
“Initially Katie has a source of light because the quad bike she was riding on at the time of the accident has also fallen down into the mine and its headlights are on.
“But then the battery goes out and Katie is left in darkness. The only source of light she has after that is her phone.
“She’s hoping desperately that she’s going to have a signal, but unfortunately she doesn’t.”
Sammy added, “She’s lying on the floor but then debris starts to fall from above, so she knows that she has to move.
“Because of her injuries, she has to crawl through the tunnel using her arms to pull herself forward. She’s in absolutely excruciating pain, and to make matters worse she’s crawling over debris and barbed wire.
“But she knows that she has to do it to get out. It’s pretty much the tunnel from there on in and she’s continuously crawling from that point forward…
“From then on, what’s behind her is blocked anyway so she has to keep going forward…”
Katie’s fate is of course being kept a secret so as not to spoil the storyline for fans, however, Sammy did discuss what it had been like filming such desperate scenes.
She said, “Most of the scenes were filmed at our studios in Leeds on a purpose-built set. They built three different parts for the scenes I had to do…
“There was the initial drop where Katie falls, the part where she has to lie with a shattered pelvis, and then the third bit was the tunnel. So it was fantastic, really!
“It was an amazing design and it’s definitely the most dramatic storyline that I’ve done.”
However, Sammy added, “I’ve never felt so grotty in all my life. I had four layers of clothing on, including a wet suit.
“They were sodden and all covered in wet mud. I also had to have gravel rubbed into my hair, wet mud on the top and then dried blood around my face. I was pretty much covered from head to toe.
“I was filming the scenes for three or four days, and they didn’t want me to wash my hair or clean my nails at the end of each day as they wanted to make it look realistic.
“On the last day in the tunnel, absolutely – it was freezing cold. We did have heaters and they gave me hot water bottles, but it was so difficult to get in and out of the clothes that I just had to stay in the wet clothes the whole time.
“The water being pumped in to the tunnel was freezing.”
Katie’s life or death struggle begins on Thursday, but for now, here’s a reminder of her wedding to Declan, which of course aired during the soap’s 40th anniversary in October…