By Duncan Lindsay, Soaps Editor and Assistant Communities Editor.
Tuesday 9 Jan 2018 1:04 pm
Only in the world of soap would it be considered an important work day out to go and watch a lorry smash into a car. When Emmerdale invited Metro.co.uk to join them for their exclusive top secret location shoot of the Whites’ deadly car crash, we of course leaped at the chance.
The dramatic scenes will likely spell the deaths of at least one but potentially more characters as the lives of Lawrence, Chrissie, Rebecca and Lachlan are left hanging in the balance. The story is that the family have flogged Home Farm to Joseph Tate and are now planning a secret getaway, snatching Seb away from Robert Sugden.
However, their plan has a number of flaws. Firstly, it’s downright out of order and even though Rebecca has been manipulated into thinking Robert is more of a danger than he is to the son that he loves, the actions of the clan are cruel. Secondly, lachlan doesn’t want to join them – and Chrissie’s decision to make Belle Dingle dump the troubled youngster will backfire massively. And thirdly, Robert is onto them!
After getting a private investigator involved, Robert gets wind of the plans and determines to stop them. With Victoria acting as a distraction, Robert snatches Seb back and speeds off with the family in hot pursuit. Rebecca has been made to believe that Robert is unhinged and out for revenge mostly due to Lachlan’s recent sly behaviour so she is genuinely frightened of what will become of her son.
Meanwhile, Lachlan is getting angrier and angrier at his mum who is in the driving seat. This leads to him snapping – an argument explodes and Lachlan swerves the wheel, sending the car into the path of an oncoming lorry.
Who will live and who will die? Well we would never ruin that for you – but we can certainly spill what we got up to on the location set as well as unveiling some exclusive pictures for your enjoyment.
The start was early and the impact of the lorry on the car could naturally only be done once. Dummies were placed inside the car and the lorry was being driven by a stunt person. Directed by Duncan Foster, the crash went exactly to plan apparently – and it looked insane.
The resulting car wreck was a pretty frightening sight to behold. As the busy crew started setting out the next stage, we caught some time to chat to Ryan Hawley first. He hadn’t been due to film this part as Robert isn’t directly involved in the crash but he couldn’t resist coming to watch it all unfold.
Ryan Hawley says:
‘Seeing the crash filmed was quite something! I was quite far back but I’ve never seen anything like it – you don’t want to be on the road when something like that happens. The car just went straight into the lorry then went right up and over the hedge; the sound of it was just deafening.
‘This starts with a chase sequence; Robert is trying to get away from the Whites who, he has discovered, have come up with a plan to take Seb and move to Australia so that Robert can never see him again. Robert is desperate and has gone to kidnap Seb and get him away and stop this from happening. Unfortunately, it leads to this. It remains to be seen who walks away from the incident. It’s definitely going to change everything.
‘I actually started the show with John (Bowe) and Louise (Marwood) just over three years ago. We’re like a little family group so if any of them were to go, it’ll be very different personally. I don’t want to give too much away but there are people – or a person – I am going to miss. There’s high drama and devastating consequences! Tune in to find out!’
After we spoke to Ryan, we managed to also chase down Thomas Atkinson to see what he makes of it all.
Thomas Atkinson says:
‘Watching the crash was amazing – it looked really good. It’s probably the biggest stunt I’ve done – I haven’t done many others in the show except for the one with me and Aaron hanging over a cliff. It’s really fun to film the big dramatic stuff.
‘Leading up to this, Belle’s broken up with him so he is heartbroken and upset at this point. He’s not in a good place, mentally. Everyone has found out he was spying on them in the attic so everyone is very upset with him. I have been reading the scripts and they’re really good. I’m very happy with it.
‘There is pressure when doing stories like this but it’s a good pressure. At first, when I first came to the show I felt it a bit more – doing the Alicia storyline was terrifying. But now it’s just exciting. You learn your lines a lot easier because you’re interested in it. It’s a lot of fun to do.
‘I do understand Lachlan a bit more now – a few months ago, the stuff he was doing was weird for even him. That stuff is difficult to sympathise with but with everything that has happened and Robert trying to take the business and hurt his family, I do have some sympathy for him – he feels no love from any of his family.
‘But in terms of these episodes, expect the unexpected!’
Soap sets move quickly and the actors and stunt crew were being prepared to do some of the driving scenes. These would involve the whole White family, with Louise Marwood pretending to drive while an actual stunt driver pulled the car along.
There was an air of excitement about the scenes and the cast and crew were very much enjoying the experience. Although it is incredibly hard work – the filming was going on for the week and it’s difficult to imagine without actually seeing everything set up how much work, time and effort goes into a sequence that will last a single episode at most.
We are guaranteed to find that it will be worth it though! As Louise headed to take her place, we talked with her as she walked – as is the way you have to in these situations!
Louise Marwood says:
‘I’ve just seen the crash; that car looks really bad doesn’t it? We’re now about to do the driving bit – which is me pretending to drive while a lorry in front actually drives, which I’ve never done before. It’s all fun stuff and different.
‘Tomorrow we have a thing called a gimble which is a metal frame where they put the vehicle in and spin us around. That’s going to be really fun. But you can see all of the work that can go into it.
‘The Whites want a fresh start, they want to get away from here and have a clean slate. It’s time to move on. They’re hoping there’s a happy ending – but I’ve read the scripts! It’s so well written and brilliantly done! I have never been able to do any stunts before this! I usually just watch from the sidelines so this is great.’
Sadly we didn’t have time to grab John Bowe, but nevertheless, there was plenty to see as the next stage of the work got underway. As the cast and crew broke for lunch, dedicated director Duncan was one of the last on set and he was more than happy to speak to us about how his vision was coming together.
Duncan Foster says
‘This is massive sequence for the start of New Year in Emmerdale. It’s very complicated as we have a head on collision which is clearly very dangerous so we had to break the stunt done. My idea for it was that we sell a lot of it from inside the car – so we do a lot of it from the actors’ point of view. Therefore we only see the impact straight after the lorry has hit the car. What we have been filming this morning has been exactly that – the lorry hitting the car.
‘Up until that, it’s a very complicated sequence for us with green screens and various different things which joins together afterwards. We really want to sell the fear of the stunt from their point of view as opposed to it being just a camera outside a vehicle looking in. It’s key for me that we are in the crash with them. That’s the best sell because it’s the characters we care about – not the car or the lorry. We have been planning it a good few months and with storyboards, we have broken it down into all of the frames that we need.
‘I’m very pleased with the crash because it did exactly what I wanted it to do! There’s been a lot of discussion and working out the physics of where the car needs to hit the lorry in order to get it to where it needs to be for the next part of the sequence. It was exactly how we planned it, which was brilliant.
‘Filming these stunts takes you out of your comfort zone. We’ve done so many year on year so it’s important that we learn from them each time. We did the Hotten bypass crash last year which was massive and we learned so much about crashing vehicles and how to both shoot inside vehicles and to shoot quickly. So in terms of what we do this week, for me I am just revisiting old ground and tweaking.’
After we sat with the team for some well earned lunch (mostly on their part, but let’s not lie – we earned our scran too!), we just managed to squeeze in a chat with the always amiable Emily Head, who filled in some more details for us before we headed on our merry way.
Emily Head says:
‘I think you will spend a lot of time wondering if anyone can actually survive this. Maybe they can if people get there quick enough but initially it will pose more questions than it answers. I’ve not been involved in anything like this before so it’s very different for me. It’s not real but it’s still quite scary. I’m quite apprehensive to be spun in the car but they said it’s just like a fairground ride which I’m okay with. It’s very exciting and nerve-racking all at the same time.
‘We have to wear harnesses because the seatbelts won’t lock in like they would in a real crash as we’re going more slowly. We’re tied to all kinds of things!
‘When Robert takes Seb, I think Rebecca is just in pure panic mode – she fully believes that this is going to be it and she is never going to see her son again. There are a few things that happen in the lead up to this where the Whites really begin to question Robert moreso than they ever have done before. She is just in absolute fear and in protective mother bear mode. All she wants is to get her son back and she is worried that this won’t happen if they don’t get there quick enough.
‘In her mind, she finds Robert to be a very dangerous person – she found out about the Rug Tree Bond stuff and his lies around Lawrence. Then he has an altercation with Lachlan that Rebecca fully believes is Robert’s fault so I think she thinks he is going to be a destructive part of her son’s life.’
Emmerdale airs the crash episodes on Thursday 11th September at 7pm and 8pm on ITV. You can vote all things Emmerdale at the NTAs by heading to the website.