Coronation Street bosses have revealed they used a real life couple to film a kissing scene.
Friday’s episode of the ITV soap featured Tyrone Dobbs (Alan Halsall) and Alina Pop (Ruxandra Porojnicu), who are having an affair, sharing a secret kiss on a bench in Victoria Gardens.
Producers have now explained that to avoid contact between the actors and to adhere to the UK’s social distancing guidelines, regular extra Alex Mulvaney and his wife Hannah stepped in to film the scene.
The actors were never seated on the bench together and instead were filmed having the conversation separately and the footage was later composited together during post production to give the illusion that they were next to each other.
To make sure the actors had the correct eye line, Coronation Street’s design department taped a pair of sunglasses onto a telescopic radio aerial so the on-screen lovers could give the impression of looking into each other’s eyes.
The real-life husband and wife were then called in to kiss for real as the camera pulled back to see the couple in an embrace on the bench, with Hannah using hair colouring so she resembled the actress.
Mulvaney said: “My agent said that Coronation Street needed extras who were in a support bubble and because I used to be an extra three times a week and they knew half of my family had done extra work on the show it worked out perfectly.
“My partner, Hannah, hadn’t done any extra work before, but my agent knew she had dark hair like Alina’s so I asked her if she wanted to do it.
“Hannah was nervous at first, but she is a big Coronation Street fan. I had been on set many times before, and I was able to talk her through what to expect and she was a bit star-struck when she saw the actors.
“I thought it was a really inventive idea, especially the sunglasses on the car aerial to keep the actors’ eyeline.
“Given what is going on in the world this was the best way to do it safely.
“It was a really enjoyable day and it was clear that all the cast and staff follow Covid rules strictly. The organisation and care taken is second-to-none.”
Porojnicu added: “Filming the kissing scene under the Covid restrictions, where we had to keep two metres apart, was definitely a challenge, but one as an actress I really enjoyed.
“It was difficult not being able to look into each other’s eyes for the emotion of the scene but Coronation Street came up with a clever way to cheat that with sunglasses on an aerial.
“Everything that’s been said in the scene leads to the kiss which is very important for Alina because it is the first time that she has said out loud to Tyrone that she is falling for him.”
Producer Iain MacLeod continued: “For the most part, our brilliant writers, cast and crew have cleverly worked around the inability of our characters to get within two metres of each other.
“We have therefore told the same stories throughout the pandemic that we would have told in ‘normal’ times.
“But it just felt wrong to tell a story of an illicit liaison, where someone betrays their partner based on lust and sexual attraction, only for us not to see any of the chemistry and closeness. Hence the smoke and mirrors here!”