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Series 2: Shoot Day 23

Updated: Jun 13, 2022

Production Diary Day 24 Sunday September 18th 2016 Somerset House, Merthyr Tydfil

So it's back up to Merthyr to complete filming for Episode 2. Again, a massive thanks to Gary and Linda James for allowing us to invade their home to film.

We had the list of scenes to shoot and we were able to work through them in order, so the first shot of the day was Steph and Jake arriving for the dinner party. Luckily, we had a nice dry and intermittently sunny day (a real contrast to our first day filming there where it was drizzly, overcast and generally a bit miserable) but this was not without its issues- shadow and glare. At one point, Luke even needed a jacket over his head to be able to see through the camera properly.

From this, we then filmed a short scene between Mal (Steph's stepfather) and the couple in the hallway. It was an absolute joy to have Andrew Ford on set with us- he'd been unable to make the previous shoot due to a family illness. I always had the idea of Mal as an easygoing and friendly guy and Andrew fits the bill.

After this scene, we moved into the dining room where the rest of the scenes were due to be shot. Due to coverage issues, we had to reshoot the start of a scene we'd done previously but it really works and sells the uncomfortableness of the situation. We were then able to move into the rest of the scene, which also involves the first full reveal of the formidable Glenys.

By this point in the day, we'd already been filming for a few hours so it was with no small amount of relish that we then moved on to the dinner party itself, which meant... food. And there was lots of it. Several cast members even polished off a plate of the starter (pate with chutney and bread) before the cameras even started rolling. The first scene really lays out the dynamics of the family and the relationships between them, and it was a joy to see how the six actors played off against each other as the scene progressed. This also gave rise to some lovely bits of business which have made the final edit. All our actors were absolutely on top game, and all absorbed into the scene. There's a particularly wonderful bit in the latter half of the scene where Victoria starts mouthing the word Steph wants Glenys to say which I didn't see on the day but was just superb. Victoria always gives her all and is always reacting to the scene which is always brilliant to watch.

After we were happy with the scene with the starters, we were able to move on to the other big scene of the day which was... the main course. I'd spent the day before chopping, preparing and cooking and rolled up with a massive casserole dish full of roasted vegetable pasta. This was the main course and we were definitely in no danger of running out. This scene is a bit later on in the evening when a few drinks have been consumed and things start to come out. Here I have to highlight the amazing performance by Amy Rowlands who stayed to the right side of 'drunk acting' and didn't devolve into a caricature or a comedy turn, which can be a tricky thing to do. I also love her interactions with Victoria: the two of them together make for an eminently watchable combination.

The last few scenes of the day were very short and showed the end of a scene we'd previously filmed as well as Steph and Jake leaving the house. We wrapped filming just before 7pm, having been at it since 10am. We also then had to derig and I wanted to make sure we left the kitchen tidy.

I am amazingly proud of the hard work of the cast and crew, not just on this day but on our day back in July, to help bring this episode to fruition. It's been a stressful journey with one thing and another but, as Glenys says in the episode, I'm sure you'll agree all the effort was worth it.

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