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Thursday, 8 November, 2001, 09:03 GMT
Emmerdale's Soapstars to stay
Soap stars
The new family was chosen from thousands of hopefuls
Emmerdale's Soapstars family have had their contracts with the programme extended for another three months - on the day of their TV debut.

The family, a group of five actors picked by an ITV talent programme, were originally given a three-month contract to work on the Yorkshire-based soap.

All five have worked extremely hard since joining Emmerdale

Steve Frost, Emmerdale producer
But immediately after watching their first appearance on Wednesday evening, the actors were told that they would be staying on for at least another three months' filming.

Producer Steve Frost said: "We are happy to announce that the actors who arrived with Emmerdale via Soapstars have been offered an extension on their contracts.

Talent show

"Both they and their characters have fitted well into the show and we are very pleased with their performances."

Dee Whitehead, Mark Jardine, Elspeth Brodie, Ruth Abram and Jason Hain were discovered by ITV1's Soapstars competition, a series modelled on the talent show Popstars.

Emmerdale is now broadcast every weekday
The winners were picked out of 6,000 hopefuls by drama producer Yvon Grace, casting director Paul de Freitas and Emmerdale scriptwriter Bill Lyons.

On Thursday the Daily Mirror's deputy show business editor Alun Palmer described the newcomers as "a credit to the soap".

"Let's hope they have time to settle into their roles," he wrote in the newspaper.

Dee Whitehead, 42, from Nottingham was chosen to be the family's mother.

She gave up hairdressing six years ago to become an actress and has had parts in Crossroads and Playing The Field.

Mark Jardine, 40, plays the father, after having been a professional actor for 15 years, mainly in the theatre.

Elspeth Brodie, 19, is a drama student from Edinburgh who has acted in commercials, a radio play and in the theatre.

Jason Hain, 21, studied drama at the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts and has appeared on stage in The Winslow Boy, The Tempest and Guys and Dolls.

Ruth Abram, 23, comes from Preston in Lancashire and graduated from the University of Central Lancashire with a performing arts degree.

"All five have worked extremely hard since joining Emmerdale and have fully justified being chosen for the roles," said Steve Frost.

See also:

08 Nov 01 | Reviews
Emmerdale: Your views
01 Oct 01 | TV and Radio
Emmerdale strike over Soapstars denied
05 Sep 01 | TV and Radio
Equity anger at Soapstars
03 Jul 00 | Entertainment
Emmerdale goes nightly
12 Mar 01 | Entertainment
Popstars spark fan fever
22 Oct 98 | Entertainment
Emmerdale ratings go with a bang
12 Sep 01 | TV and Radio
Driving ban for Emmerdale star
04 Feb 01 | Entertainment
Celebrations for winning Popstars
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