Christmas Special Production Diaries Part 2
Updated: Jun 13, 2022
Day 33 - 29/10/2016 Today is the nuts and bolts of the drama in the Christmas episode, filming with Andrew Machin (Liam) and Hannah Celyn Griffiths (Jen). We needed somewhere for Jen’s flat and, having used up all of our friends, family, friends of friends’ homes (continuity is brutal and unforgiving), we were running out of options (Jen was going to be living in a cardboard box by the Taff, at this rate). Luckily, Matthew Ford’s partner, Caroline, stepped in and let us take over her flat for the morning.
This shoot is the first time Liam and Jen see each other since their break-up in the second series. It’s funny, but there’s a sting in its tail. Just as Jen has got over Liam, he is back, and Jen is hurt, angry. Hannah, dependable as ever, played this perfectly. No re-takes, no several hour shoots. All done and dusted. Richard Burnett was welcomed into the Whovians fold, with his first day on set. It would be ruining things to say who Richard plays, but he does a great job and will produce a good few laughs when you watch his scenes. Both Richard and Hannah worked well together, this being the fallout after Liam turns up to see Jen. It’s awkward to watch, but in a good way.
We’ve been lucky on Whovians that our cast and crew have given up their lives, their day jobs, and their loved ones to help get the series made. Sometimes, our luck runs out: Andrew had to be called in to work. The plan was to film the remainder of the scenes in the hallway outside Caroline’s flat, once it got dark. With Andrew needing to be away by 12:00, plus the hallway is basically one massive greenhouse, no bricks or walls anywhere, there was no way we were going to get away with making it look like night time. There’s been the odd miracle on Whovians, but this is a Christmas miracle too far! The remainder of the scenes would be filmed on another evening, when life doesn’t get in the way.
Day 34 - 11/11/16
Today's filming was a heart-to-heart between Jen and Ellie, so we welcomed back Lilibeth Langford for the evening. We also have to say a massive thank you to Adrian Smith and Vicki Davies for allowing us to film at their flat (with an extra-special thank you to Vicki for loaning Lilibeth the very fetching penguin onesie.)
The scene is beautifully written, with Jen coming to Ellie in quite a state and Ellie giving Jen some good advice. The rapport between Hannah and Lilibeth is lovely (you can really believe that they're long term friends) and the scene plays out really well.
Once this scene was completed, we were able to completely wrap Hannah - the first of the main cast to be series wrapped. A very bittersweet moment.
Day 35 - 13/11/16
So this was an absolute doozy of a day. But... the first shoot of the day is secret. Like, properly secret. We shot a scene that contains a massive spoiler for the Christmas episode so I'm not going to discuss it. At all. All I can say is thank you to our actors for a truly brilliant scene and a huge thank you to the Black & White Cafe in Grangetown for allowing us to film there.
Once it got dark, we travelled up to Rumney to film a short scene at Jen's flat, involving Richard Burnett and Andrew Machin, and then some guerilla-style filming for a very quick scene at Cardiff's Winter Wonderland, which looks lovely on camera. This was a day in which Andrew ended up doing a lot of running around- all in the name of art, of course.
Day 36 - 21/11/16
Back to the Heathcock pub in Llandaff, who have been great supporters of our project from the get-go, to film a few short scenes showing Bradley (Rob D. Mealins) on a series of dates- some of which don't go as well as planned. Sarah Burrow, Isabelle Burman and Amber Pullen were all fantastic as the various dates, Rob was on top form as always and the scenes (which play like Family Guy-style cutaway gags) play really well.