Most explosive soap stunts – 12 car pile-up, pub fire and River Thames crash

Christmas is set to go up in flames over in Emmerdale – as an inferno rips through the Woolpack pub.

As revealed earlier this week, it spells a typically gloomy festive season for current owners Chas and Marlon Dingle (Lucy Pargeter and Mark Charnock).

The Woolpack has previously faced disaster when a jet smashed into it during the famous 1993 plane crash.

Proving that sensational soap stunts pull in viewers, that crash – which killed nine villagers and left Chris Tate paralysed – gave Emmerdale its highest-ever audience of 18million and helped it graduate to a major prime time soap.

Since then our favourite soaps have competed to outdo each other with bigger and better explosive stunts.

Here Daily Star's Nadine Linge and Kim Carr round up some of the most dramatic…

Hollyoaks – Niall blows up the church

In December 2007, hairdresser Niall Rafferty, played by Barry Sloane, walked into Chester’s most dangerous village.

The following year, it was revealed he was Myra McQueen’s illegitimate son she had given up at birth.

He took his revenge on the McQueen family by holding them hostage in a church and blowing it up.

After Myra (Nicole Barber-Lane) was forced to choose which of her children lived or died, brainy Tina McQueen (Leah Hackett) was killed anyway by falling rubble.

Niall later perished falling off a cliff while Liverpool-born actor Sloane has become a successful TV actor Stateside.

Hollyoaks – End of the Line

Both transport and weddings can be dangerous activities in soapland – and this stunt in November 2014 combined both.

It saw the disaster-prone McQueen family and others in the village boarding a party train for the wedding bash of Porsche McQueen (Twinnie Lee Moore) and Lockie Campbell (Nick Rhys).

But the train crashed into a car, derailed and exploded.

Several regulars were injured but Sonny Valentine (Aaron Fontaine) and long-running character Carmel McQueen (Gemma Merna) were killed off.

Merna is now a yoga teacher.

Coronation Street – Tram crash

To mark Corrie’s 50th anniversary, bosses came up with a dramatic tram crash – and then decided to do a one-off live episode.

It was broadcast across a week in December 2010 and the bumper special effects made the episodes the most expensive in ITV history at the time.

A gas explosion during Peter Barlow’s stag do at the Joinery restaurant destroyed the viaduct above, and the blast caused a tram to plummet onto the cobbles.

Corrie favourite Ashley Peacock (Steven Arnold) died as did Molly Dobbs (Vicky Binns), while Charlotte Hoyle (Becky Hindley) was then murdered by evil John Stape (Graeme Hawley).

EastEnders – Queen Vic Fire

This stunt was written especially to mark the departure of Barbara Windsor as matriarch Peggy Mitchell in September 2010.

It kicked off when landlady Peggy trapped crack cocaine-addicted son Phil (Steve McFadden) in the pub, forcing him to go cold turkey.

But Phil escaped and set the boozer on fire.

Stacey Slater (Lacey Turner) and her baby were trapped inside but rescued in the nick of time.

Up to 10million tuned in but several implausible elements were pointed out, such as the lack of fire alarms and sprinklers in the pub.

Emmerdale – Hotton bypass crash

Never cross a woman scorned… Emma Barton (Gillian Kearney) set off a spiral of events after locking up her husband James Barton (Bill Ward) in a jealous rage.

After he escaped they tussled on a bridge over the bypass, she pushed him and he fell into traffic causing a 12 car pile-up.

The 2016 episode was the most expensive stunt ever at the time and key characters were injured with vicar Ashley Thomas (John Middleton) and vet Rhona Goskirk (Zoe Henry) ending up in hospital and James not pulling through.

Coronation Street – Pants on fire

When knicker factory Underworld went up in flames the stunt was anything but pants.

Alison King’s character Carla Conner’s ex-husband came back on the scene and a shooting between the pair of them wasn’t enough of a nail biter for the script writers.

Tony Gordon (Gray O’Brien) soaked Carla’s factory with petrol in a bid to end their lives together but the feisty woman wasn’t going to down in a puff of smoke.

Fighting back she escaped to the fresh air of the cobbles as he stood in the doorframe looking pensive before the building exploded and collapsed.

Wilder than any flaming sambuca the Rovers could have served up.

EastEnders – Had his Phil of trouble

Steve McFadden has played his part in many stunts over the years as his character Phil Mitchell is like a magnet when it comes to disaster.

Two of the best include watching Steve Owen (Martin Kemp) get burned to a crisp after speeding away with Phil’s daughter Louise in the back of his car as he tried to help her mum Lisa Fowler (Lucy Benjamin) flee the country.

His tyre burst, he slammed into a barrel of petrol and got jammed against a wall, leaving him unable to open his car door.

Passing Louise through a crack in the window, Steve begged Phil to save him but the car exploded before he had the chance.

Phil also ended up in the River Thames with brother Grant (Ross Kemp) when they had a row over gunpoint and the motor ended up in the water.

He should take the Tube in future.

Coronation Street – Over the hill and into the canal

Undoubtably one of the Street’s best ever baddies, when Richard Hillman (Brian Capron) tried to kill the Platt family, including wife Gail (Helen Worth) in 2003 the episode pulled out all the stops.

First he tried to gas them with car fumes, then when that failed he drove Gail, daughter Sarah (Tina O’Brien), son David (Jack P Shepherd) and granddaughter Bethany (Amy and Emily Walton) into the canal.

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