While we do see some gorgeous drone footage of gunman Andrew Newton (Blake Harrison) driving his old rental car across Exmoor, the actual attempted assassination was not filmed on location. Instead, the production team re-created the scene at Bulstrode Park, a disused country estate on the outskirts of London.
The shooting of Rinka is one of the defining moments of the series. In fear of the mysterious “man from Canada,” Norman Scott (Ben Whishaw) agrees to get in the car with Newton. But he insists on bringing Rinka with him – not knowing that Newton is his would-be killer, and is also deathly afraid of dogs.
At a lay-by in the pouring rain and the fog, the two men (and one dog) clamber out of the car, ostensibly to switch drivers. In a nail-biting moment, Newton shoots the dog to death – but fails to kill Scott.
The scene was filmed across three nights in a muddy field with the help of a rain machine.
“It was incredibly cold, but apart from this, conditions were perfect for providing our own rain,” producer Dan Winch tells RadioTimes.com.
Did they use a real dog in the filming?
Yes – more than one.
Four or five “Rinkas” were used in the process of filming, and in that scene alone, three different canine actors were used, Winch says. The production team also had two dummy dogs: a “fake dog standing” and a “fake dog lying”.
“There were varying degrees of tactics required when working with the dogs,” Winch says. “From filming our scene without rain so it wouldn’t put the dog off, and then adding rain in post-production, to keeping the dog on a lead, so that our animal handler could help guide it in the correct direction!
““We’re always careful when working with animals, whether it be dogs, horses or any other animal. It can often require a lot of patience.
“This particular scene was scheduled over two nights, but we actually ended up needing a third night to complete all the work. And to make sure that we didn’t do anything too pressurising on the dog’s performance…”
The final episode of A Very English Scandal will air on Sunday 3rd June at 9pm on BBC1
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