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Emmerdale Will Feature Women-Only Cast and Crew in Special One-Off Episode

By Lin Taylor

LONDON, Oct 3 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - A popular British drama will feature an all-female cast and crew, which its producer says is the first time that women have taken over a TV soap both on and off screen.

Emmerdale, set in a quaint northern English village in the Yorkshire Dales, will see three female producers lead the one-off episode.

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Women will also write and direct the episode, slated to mark International Women's Day on March 8, according to broadcaster ITV, which has aired the drama for more than 40 years.

"It's the first time a soap has had an all-women team," said Emmerdale's executive producer Jane Hudson at a press launch.

"It is International Women's Day, so what we want to do for that episode is to have it produced by a female, written by a female, directed by a female, and the entire cast will be female," Hudson said on Tuesday.

An increasing number of women in television and film, boosted by the #MeToo movement, are starting to exert influence behind the camera and to break on-screen stereotypes.

But while #MeToo prompted women to share experiences of sexual harassment and stoked discussion about equality, the number of women behind the camera has yet to increase.

In the 2016-17 U.S. TV season, women filled just 28% of behind-the-scenes roles such as creators, directors, writers and producers, according to San Diego State University's Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film.

Females filled 42% of speaking roles.

Both figures are roughly unchanged from four years earlier.

(Reporting by Lin Taylor @linnytayls, Editing by Lyndsay Griffiths; Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters that covers humanitarian issues, conflicts, land and property rights, modern slavery and human trafficking, gender equality, climate change and resilience. Visit to see more stories)