The Daily Mirror is reporting that long-running ITV soap Emmerdale is in meltdown due to the extreme work demands imposed on the cast by producers.

Emmerdale producers are apparently making them work extra hours, including more Saturdays, to meet their five-episodes-a-week schedule.

The long hours are being blamed for causing illness among the cast, including Roxanne Pallett last week. Unity on the soap has been further rocked by news recent introduction Anna De Souza (Emma Davies) has been axed.

However, an Emmerdale spokesman responded: “Filming hours have not been increased. It is not unusual for us to film on Saturdays and night shoots are the norm when working on a soap.”

A show source told the Mirror: “Morale is at an all-time low. Sometimes you don’t finish until midnight and we’re working more days, including Saturdays. It’s too much and if things don’t change, they’ll have a mutiny on their hands.”

A recent creative review by the Emmerdale producers has resulted in a reduction in the use of extras by 25 per cent, although this involved no redundancies, while other actors, including Christopher Villiers (Grayson Sinclair), Richard Grieve (Jonny Foster), Verity Rushworth (Donna Dingle) and Roxanne, have either been axed or are leaving.

Emmerdale is watched by as many as seven million viewers an episode.