How did ITV film ‘Isolation Stories’ while socially distancing?

4 May 2020, 20:08 | Updated: 4 May 2020, 20:11

How was Isolation Stories filmed?
How was Isolation Stories filmed? Picture: ITV

Where was Isolation Stories filmed? Who filmed it? And did they adhere to social distancing rules? Here's what we need to know...

While most TV and film production has been suspended around the world, ITV has managed to film and produce a brand new drama series called ‘Isolation Stories’.

The mini series is made up of short 15 minute episodes which tell the stories of different people coping with COVID-19 while being confined to their homes.

Sheridan Smith is the star of the first episode, and plays Mel, an expectant single mother that is isolating alone during the lockdown.

But how were the episodes filmed?

Sheridan Smith has filmed Isolation Stories from her home
Sheridan Smith has filmed Isolation Stories from her home. Picture: ITV

How did ITV film ‘Isolation Stories’?

In order to make the four dramas, the actors had to be filmed in their own homes.

This means the equipment, cameras and lights were sterilised and then delivered to the pavements outside.

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Their families, who mostly had no experience of TV work, had to provide all the filming, lighting and sound.

Directors would then remotely instruct the actors on camera angles and scene composition.

It was less than a month from the idea of the drama to it coming onto our screen, with producer Jeff Pope revealing: "We thought if it’s not as polished and perfect as a normal drama, people would give us a break because we gave it a go."

Speaking on This Morning, Jeff went on to reveal that everything was done remotely, including the make up.

Actor Robert Glenister plays a coronavirus sufferer being looked after by his son in one episode, with Jeff explaining: "We had a zoom screen and we'd all be feeding in instructions, we had a make up artist to advise Robin on how best to get that 'ill' look.

"He used a thin sheen of vaseline gets that sweaty look."

Jamie was incredible, Sheridan is about to give birth in a couple of weeks, he had to make lunch, film everything.

Actors filmed their own scenes
Actors filmed their own scenes. Picture: ITV

Louise Hooper, who has directed dramas such as Cheat and Flesh and Blood, said: "The biggest challenge was having to be reliant on just those people in the house to create a film when normally you have a crew of 50 or 60 people.”

"In the same breath you're saying, 'Move that picture, change the position of some object, can you sort out your hair properly, here are the notes for the direction, can you move the camera?'"

She added: "We had a complete laugh with it."

In one episode - starring actor Eddie Marsan - his wife Janine, a make up artist, had to sort the props and camera.

The sons in the drama were played by his real life sons in between doing their home schooling, while sister Tilly filmed behind the scenes for a documentary about the making of the series set to air next Thursday.

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