My cousin Louise, an avid fan of River Town, who has toured the set on a number of events, has one piece of recommendation. Do not devour the desserts, they are no longer actual.
The issue is that not anything is actual in River Town. The desserts, the Oyster Café, the pub, the subway. Even Shieldinch itself is only a fictional town suburb, in a soapy model of Scotland.
And but, returning to set after a five-month hiatus is each scarily actual, and surprisingly surreal.
What’s actual is the only means device, the decreased forged, the mask worn through group participants within the studios, the two-metre distancing all the time, which is precisely enforced through a member of body of workers with an extended pole.
What’s surreal is the social devices, constructed round fictional households, like Lenny and Alex Murdoch (performed through Frank Gallagher and Jordan Younger).
They paintings in combination, and movie in combination however they are able to’t sit down at the identical settee, or percentage the similar meal, even on set, as a result of they aren’t in point of fact similar.
So Frank has to movie his strains at the different facet of the room, and Jordan plays his to a tennis ball at the finish of a increase mic, and a few suave bod in publish manufacturing must make it appear to be they’ve spent the entire of lockdown in combination.
Somewhere else, they’ve needed to regulate the storylines to take care of demanding situations, like the truth that Scarlett’s store is simply too small for socially distanced filming, and that with handiest two extras in step with unit, considered one of them has in an effort to force a automotive to supply most worth.
The lined backlot is now not in use, however there’s a spot in Shieldinch Underground Station which is never used so a author is given a nudge to discover a reason why to set a scene there.
There’s every other surreal second after I spot a well-known red-haired girl, observing from a distance, and realise on nearer inspection, she is considered one of various mannequins, positioned across the set to lend a hand fill it up.
The whole thing takes just a little longer. Actors must do their very own hair and make-up. Every has just a little equipment which they convey across the set. Each and every so continuously, they’re going to step off set, and contact up their hair and make-up themselves, with a distanced assistant appearing as a reflect.
The largest drawback say the makeup artists, is if truth be told hair. With out a hairspray allowed on set, no hairdryers, and no duvet from the rain, it’ll be a problem.
A serum is helping stay it in position – and the sought-after glance is “lockdown informal” despite the fact that fortunately no-one is wearing a DIY hair reduce or color right here.
In addition to having a look after their very own hair, makeup and costumes, and no longer sharing dressing rooms, actors will have to take care of their very own props, whether or not that may be a cup or a automotive. After you have touched it, it’s your duty.
To make issues much more surreal, there may be every other programme on location within the Dumbarton studios, Vigil, which is a part set on a nuclear submarine.
With out a likelihood of social distancing on a submarine (even a fake one) all of the workforce are operating in a self contained unit, with common trying out. That is ceaselessly attention-grabbing for the workforce on River Town, who’re nonetheless attending to grips with their very own regime.
Covid looms huge over the entire location, and the comfort of being again in paintings in an trade which has been hit disproportionately arduous, is tempered through the working out that this can be a fragile association.
If all is going to devise, River Town shall be again on our monitors in October, to begin with for 30 minutes episodes handiest. A minimum of one persona gets the virus onscreen and the repercussions shall be the most important storyline.
With the exception of that, existence in Shieldinch, like Scotland, will proceed as standard. A brand new standard.