Just about every TV production was affected by the coronavirus pandemic in some way or another during 2020 – and Jed Mercurio’s hit police thriller Line of Duty was no different.
The drama, which finally returns for its sixth series on Sunday, was hit by major delays and, even when filming was able to resume in September 2020, a few changes had to be made to allow for the safety of cast and crew.
Thankfully, though, it appears not too many compromises were made to the script, with Vicky McClure recently revealing that no major action scenes had to be sacrificed as a result of the restrictions.
“I actually don’t think Jed changed anything massively in terms of action and stunts that was originally in the scripts,’ she told press including RadioTimes.com. “Because there was a possibility that he was going to have to change certain things.”
Rather than changes to the script, it was the set itself that had to be altered, with extra ventilation needed in order for the show’s iconic interrogation scenes to go ahead as normal.
“The biggest changes for us was studio set,” McClure explained. “Say, like, the AC-12 interview room – that’s like a no-no for COVID-19 because it’s an enclosed space and this glass box, and we shoot it in the BT Tower in Belfast.
“We built that into a studio so there was no roof and it was ventilated and it’s much safer to do 20-minute, half an hour scenes in that environment. So things like that changed, but we were set into these cohorts and there was so much safety put in place that we were able to do the scenes.”
Meanwhile, Martin Compston said the biggest new challenge getting to grips with keeping a distance from other cast members, with the actor referencing one particular scene with AC-12 newcomer Chloe Bishop, played by Shalom Brune-Franklin.
“I have to shout at somebody and get in their face, but you can’t,” he said. “You have to film it from a distance and this weird… It was tough – it was bizarre because you want to feel it and be real but you’re shouting into thin air.”
If you’re a budding writer or a massive TV fan, you don’t want to miss our exclusive event, Script to Screen with Jed Mercurio. You can find out more information about the event, or you can purchase your tickets here.