BBC Drama boss recommends actors ‘kiss through perspex’ in order to film intimate scenes during the pandemic

Putting cast and crew in 'bubbles' was an alternative method put forward

Annabel Nugent
Monday 24 August 2020 16:38
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In a bid to make shooting intimate scenes safe during the pandemic, BBC Drama’s boss has recommended “kissing through a sheet of perspex”.

Speaking today (24 August) at the Edinburgh TV festival, Piers Wenger, the BBC’s Drama Controller, praised series including EastEnders and The Pursuit of Love for finding “ingenious” methods of navigating pandemic-related filming restrictions.

TV and film sets initially shut down in March as the UK went into coronavirus lockdown, but with measures now loosening, filming has started to resume on a number of projects.

Questions have arisen regarding the logistics of shooting intimate scenes while still complying with social distancing guidelines.

Wenger suggested, “Kissing through a sheet of perspex, which is then taken out in post-production” so that the sheet is not visible.

He also put forward an alternative measure of having cast and crew put in “bubbles” to avoid having to socially distance.

Daisy Edgar-Jones and Paul Mescal in ‘Normal People’, which was filmed before lockdown

It was recently reported that the 120 cast and crew members of The Great British Bake Off lived in a self-contained biosphere for six weeks during the shooting of this year’s season.

A new set of guidelines was published last week by Directors UK, an organisation representing 7,500 screen directors, for filming scenes of intimacy during the pandemic.

The suggestions for directors include reviewing scripts to see whether physical interaction is necessary or could be replaced with “emotional intimacy” instead.

The document also questions whether performers’ real-life partners could be used when contact cannot be avoided, which is a method being used on the set of US soap opera The Bold and the Beautiful.

In Australia, long-running soap Neighbours was one of the first to resume filming, with actors required to stand 1.5 metres apart at all times and kissing banned.

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