Coronation Street has filmed the world’s first socially distanced stunt, after lockdown restrictions were lifted last month.
After the storyline was reworked to adhere to the new safety precautions, actors Mikey North and Tina O’Brien returned to the famous cobbled street to film the dramatic scenes that see Mikey’s character Gary Windass being mowed down by an on-coming car.
When Rick Neelan’s engraved watch is found in the woods, Sarah demands answers from Gary about his involvement in the loan shark’s disappearance and his web of lies unravel. Terrified by Gary’s admissions, Sarah runs away from him to call the police.
As Gary chases Sarah down the street, a car hurtles towards her and Gary dives into the path of danger, pushing her to safety and ultimately saving her life.
To avoid contact between the actors and to adhere to the UK’s social distancing guidelines, a mannequin was dressed in Sarah’s clothes and used in place of Tina O’Brien in certain shots.
The stunt was originally scheduled to be filmed on location, in the woods, but this was also amended in the interest of safety for the cast and crew.
“Because of social distancing, Mikey cannot touch Tina or push her away and that is integral to the stunt because his character has got to look heroic and that he has saved her,” says director David Kester.
“We are cheating it by using a mannequin from Underworld and if we shoot it in the right way, making it a tight shot and we do it very quickly, it will work and will still sell the idea that he has pushed her.”
Gary knows that Sarah could have easily taken his secret to the grave and he still risked himself to save her – but as her relationship with her husband Adam hangs in the balance, will she return the favour and keep Gary’s murderous secret quiet?
“This was the very first three episodes that I have filmed after lockdown,” said Mikey North.
“We have had to alter and change things but I don’t think it has lost any of its intention and hopefully it will be just as good as it would have been on location.
“I got to ride on the bonnet of the car and I was quite pleased to have the opportunity to do the stunt myself because I enjoy that part of the job but I have never done a car stunt like this before. I loved it.”
Tina O’Brien says she enjoyed being part of something so different.
“The mannequin is from the Underworld set but when I stood next to it, it was towering over me!” she says.
“We had to saw the bottom of the legs off to make it more realistic and more my height but we have a very talented director and post production team so no one will notice when it’s in the show.
“I am really looking forward to seeing how it looks on screen.”
The episodes will be broadcast on Wednesday 29th July.