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Emmerdale Tandem Skydive

Date posted: 
Friday, 6 May, 2011

Skydive Hibaldstow recently welcomed the cast and crew of Yorkshires very own Emmerdale to film an episode featuring a UK tandem skydive.

The dropzone not only has a long track record of working with television and film but also enables  those with disabilities and limited mobility  to try tandem parachuting. So when ITV soap drama, Emmerdale wanted to film a disabled skydiving scene, we leapt at the chance.

The scenes were shot at Hibaldstow Airfield (located in Linclnshire near to Lincoln and Hull) over two days in March and involved three characters - Jackson Walsh, the skydiver who is paraplegic (played by Marc Silcock), Aaron Livesy his partner (played by Danny Miller), and Jackson’s mother, Hazel Rhodes (played by well known actress, Pauline Quirke).


The Filming of Emmerdale

Day 1
One Thursday morning, a whole fleet of vehicles, equipment crew appeared at at the centre to begin shooting the Emmerdale skydiving scenes. They ranged from lighting technitions, cameras, tracks, outside broadcast trucks, caters and catering trucks, makeup artists, sound guys, directors and of course the actors.

Due to unexpectedly strong winds filming was focused on the ground during Day 1 and some of our staff members spent an exciting day on set as extras.  

Day 2
Having looked at the forecast it was decided that the best window of opportunity for the Emmerdale skydive was first thing in the morning and so after some last minute rehearsals the plane took off at 9am with Jackson (Marc Silcock) on board.

Our resident Chief Centre Instructor, Noel Purcell was selected to be the actual tandem instructor who would take Marc in freefall. For the purposes of authenticity, Marc’s ankles and legs were strapped together for the freefall as they would with any person with a real paralysis.

Group shot

The pair were also accompanied by professional skydiving cameraman Andy Ford whose job it was to capture every second of Jacksons exhilarating freefall from 15,000ft.

On board our Dornier G92 15-place aircraft, the crew consisted of:

  • 1 camera man and his tandem instructor - Andy Wesley
  • 1 sound man and his tandem instructor - Olly Burgin
  • A safety coordinator - Paul Hollow
  • An external freefall camera man – Andy Ford
  • Marc Silcock and his tandem instructor Noel Purcell

The jump went perfectly to plan and considering Marc was making his first tandem skydive with his legs bound, he did a brilliant job. After the actual jump, the aircraft returned to the skies for some additional in-air shots and the crew filmed the remaining ground footage for the scene.

Support crew

Ground shots


Making your own tandem parachute jump
tandem sky diving in the UKIf you enjoyed watching the soap opera skydiving scenes on TV, why not make your own tandem jump. You can do it for fun or as a charity skydive. And for those who fancy more of a challenge, we also offer solo training courses.

Skydive Hibaldstow jumps from 15,000ft which is the highest skydiving altitude in the UK and our airfield is open 7 days a week in the Summer.

Read more about our tandem skydiving course.

Request a Free Brochure & DVD.


Jumping With a Disability
Noel Purcell talks about his experiences as a freefall instructor who takes limited mobility people for jumps.

  • 5000 jumps (started March 1993)
  • 2000 tandems (instructor since in March 2003)
  • Also an AFF and Static Line Instructor, Cameraman, Advanced Instructor and Rigger.

“It is great to see the amount of pleasure that someone with limited mobility gets when they are able to go skydiving. The process to get into free fall though is more complex than jumping with an able bodied person and nothing can be overlooked.”

“We always like to do a personal assessment before agreeing to take someone with any impairment on a jump. We need to consider body shape, mobility and many factors. This is important because we need to be in a good position on exit and in free fall which won't affect the safety of the instructor and jumper, or is likely to cause injury to the jumper. We have a strict 12 stone weight limit and the weight ideally needs to be in proportion to their height. Unfortunately we sometimes do have to say no to people.”

“Once someone has been assessed and we think the jump can go ahead the next stage is to get the Tandem Student Declaration of Fitness signed and stamped by the jumper's GP or consultant (this form can be downloaded from our website or we can post one out, we cannot accept a letter from a GP). When we jump from 15000ft we are entering a low oxygen environment and with a natural increase in adrenalin this can affect people differently. Once a jumper has the medical signed and stamped we can book a date.”

“We have more stringent conditions in which we can jump someone with limited mobility. A constant 10-15mph wind without gusts is necessary to enable us to do a stand-up landing. This allows the instructor to put their feet down first and then we have a couple of experienced ‘catchers’ who help scoop the jumpers legs up so that the jumpers weight is supported and we can gently lower ourselves to the ground.”

“The stunt we did for Emmerdale was coordinated exactly the same as a limited mobility jumper. Marc who plays Jackson was fully briefed and trained as normal, but we made sure the jump was as realistic as possible. We used straps especially manufactured by our rigger to help keep Marc's legs together and a special wrap on the chest strap to help keep Marc's arms across his chest. (We have a range of straps and wraps we use to help keep people with limited mobility in the correct position for exit.)”

“The jumping conditions were exactly as required on the day of filming and the catchers did their job as briefed.”

camera tracks

Kitted up ready to go

For more information on jumping with a disability please contact our Booking Office on 01132 505600.