The car park had black boards up around two sides of it and parked on it where several 90’s police cars, ambulances and a fire engine. It was rather quiet, but as the few crew members who were there weren’t packing up I decided to wait it out for a bit. Quite a few people walking past looked concerned that there had been an actual crime, despite the emergency vehicles clearly being out of date. I explained to a couple of people that it was the BBC filming a drama etc.
Again I decided to hang around and about 20 minutes later a people carrier pulled up and out stepped Liz White and Phil!! He entered the set and started chatting to producers as the scene was being set up. After having his make-up touched up he and Liz were stood around for about ten minutes, laughing and joking with each other to pass the time. At one point Phil started pointing something out to Liz – I wonder if it was from their time on Life on Mars.
Just before the scene began filming a police helicopter flew over, delaying the start by a couple of minutes and Philip was clearly very interested, looking up at the sky and wondering what was going on. Then they called action and Phil and Liz when from chatting and joking to in their characters in a matter of milliseconds. Quite a talent to have.
The scene was an aftermath scene, taking place shortly after the bomb detonates. Phil had his arm around Liz, who was dressed in a dark blue apron, and was leading her towards the paramedics. “Excuse me!” he called in his Mancunian accent, although it wasn’t as rough as Gene’s. “This lady’s been ’urt. Can someone take a look?” He hands Liz’s character over to a paramedic and then looks around that the ‘devastation’ (which I assume will be put in later via the wonders of CGI). He had his hand on the back of his neck as he surveyed the scene and looked quite shaken. He then spoke to another paramedic, but we couldn’t hear what was being said. From the look on Phil’s face though I assume he was told that it had been a bomb, rather than something like a gas explosion. He took another look around before being summoned back to Liz’s character. Then the director shouted cut! Great work from all involved. The extras for the scene included a couple in wedding attire, so not a good day for them in the show!
They moved a few vehicles around and shot the scene from a different angle. This angle took two goes to get right, but it wasn’t anything Phil/Liz had done wrong. Then a voice came over the crew’s walkie talkies to say that Liz was released and Phil needed to go and change for the next scene.
As he returned to his car, he walked right passed me but I was too star-struck to actually call out to him. Plus he was surrounded by crew etc. and I went a bit shy. I cursed myself as soon as the car drove off but resigned myself to the fact that that was it – at least I’d seen him and I got to see some filming.
I hung around for a bit more, watched them set up a scaffold for lighting etc. but it started to get dark and I was alone in the city, on the evening of the derby football match. There was already a heavy police presence indicating trouble so with one last wistful look at the set in front of me, I turned around and left.
We also have a selection of photos from Rachel (@thereadaftbear) who was lucky enough to see the morning shoot. Thanks for letting us use these Rachel!