Soap fans were treated to high drama as 'Emmerdale' celebrated its 40th birthday with a live episode in which Carl King (Tom Lister) was battered to death with a brick.

The bad boy of the Dales suffered a blow to the head at the hands of his love rival Cameron Murray (Dominic Power) - but a death was not the only big event to happen in the hour-long episode.

The live show was a display of some of the soap world's traditionally favourite occasions and was completed with two weddings and two births.

Avid viewers watched as Chas Dingle's (Lucy Pargeter) wedded bliss to Dan Spencer (Liam Fox) lasted no more than the first 30 minutes, while Katie Sugden (Sammy Winward) enjoyed a marquee reception with new husband Declan Macey (Jason Merrells).

emmerdaleJimmy King (Nick Miles), boiling with fury, confronts Carl King (Tom Lister) about selling his share of the business to Charity.

Elsewhere, Debbie Dingle (Charley Webb) gave birth to the baby boy she hopes will save her daughter Sarah's life after she developed leukaemia.

Joining Debbie in her labour pains was Gennie Walker (Sian Reese-Williams) who gave birth to a baby girl on the floor at Chas and Dan's wedding reception.

With the emotions of weddings and babies running high, the episode culminated in the shocking death of Carl which show bosses say will have have "major, far-reaching repercussions".

emmerdaleChas Dingle's (Lucy Pargeter) nerves are in tatters as her wedding to Dan Spencer (Liam Fox) begins.

Fans of the soap were left to speculate about the death, which was kept secret until tonight.

Viewers feared Carl may meet his demise but other characters fans thought faced playing out their final scenes live included vet Paddy Kirk (Dominic Brunt), old favourite Alan Turner (Richard Thorp) and shrewd businessman Declan Macey.

The ITV soap has followed in the footsteps of 'Coronation Street' and 'EastEnders' as each celebrated their 50th and 25th birthdays respectively with live episodes.

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  • 20. Coronation Street 1997: Sally slaps Natalie for revenge on her affair

  • 19. Brookside 1994: Beth and Margaret's lesbian kiss

  • 18. EastEnders 1998: Tiffany is run over and killed

  • 17. Coronation Street 1996: Raquel leaves the Street

  • 16. Emmerdale 2011: Aaron helps Jackson end his life

  • 12. EastEnders 2005: Den is murdered by Chrissie

  • 15. Coronation Street 2006: Mike Baldwin dies

  • 14. EastEnders 2009: Sonia gives birth not knowing she's pregnant

  • 13. Emmerdale 2003: Chris poisons himself and then proceeds to frame Charity

  • 11. Hollyoaks 2008: Niall's explosive revenge on the McQueen family

  • 10. EastEnders 2007: Stacy and Max's affair is revealed

  • 9. Emmerdale 1997: Kim lets Frank die

  • 8. Coronation Street 2003: Tricky Dickie drives the Platts into the canal

  • 7. EastEnders 2009: Danielle dies in Ronnie's arms

  • 6. Brookside 1995: The body under the patio is dug

  • 5. Emmerdale 1993: The plane crash

  • 4. Coronation Street 1998: Deirdre is sent down

  • 3. EastEnders 2001: Kat tells Zoe she's her mum

  • 2. Coronation Street 2010: The tram crash

  • 1. EastEnders 1994: Sharongate