Colin Farrell and Stephen Graham pictured taking dip in Arctic Ocean

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Behind-the-scenes pictures from new TV series The North Water show Colin Farrell and Stephen Graham braving Arctic waters as they take the “Polar Plunge”.

The pair star in the forthcoming BBC Two drama, which is an adaptation of Ian McGuire’s novel and documents the voyage of the ship Volunteer on a whaling mission to the Arctic.

Directed by Bafta-nominated Andrew Haigh, and also starring Skins’ Jack O’Connell as disgraced former army surgeon Patrick Sumner who joins as the ship’s doctor, much of the filming took place north of the Svalbard Archipelago, with the series cast and crew working offshore in the Arctic Ocean, the BBC said.

Stephen Graham and Philip Hill-Pearson brave the icy waters during a break in filming The North Water (BBC/PA)
Stephen Graham and Philip Hill-Pearson brave the icy waters during a break in filming The North Water (BBC/PA)

Line Of Duty and This Is England star Graham, 48, plays Captain Brownlee, with Farrell, 45, starring as harpooner Henry Drax in the five-part series.

Speaking about taking a dip in the Arctic, Graham said: “Being honest with you, it is the most exhilarating thing I have ever done in my life, and I have done skydiving, I’ve snorkel dived really deep, seen some magical things, but that was absolutely unbelievable. There was nothing like the feeling.

“It was great because quite a few of us did it together.

“A few wimped out but most of us did it, and, believe it or not, there was a massive jacuzzi on the boat, and it was boiling hot, so we ended up with almost third-degree burns after jumping in there and then going into a big hot jacuzzi, but it was great, a really lovely experience.

“I never thought I’d get to do something like that.”

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Irish star Farrell said of filming in the Arctic: “I did feel that death was just around the corner at any given time, that we were just one mistake away from someone falling into the Arctic sea and either very quickly getting hypothermia or sinking under the weight of the waterlogged costume.

“There were also polar bears around, who were beautiful and elegant and majestic but also apex predators. It was a very profound experience for us all to share.”

He said of the icy ocean dip: “That was lovely, one of those rites-of-passage things, the polar dip. God, it was cold, to state the obvious, a dip in the Arctic Ocean, it was terrifying.

“I only went in the once, but I think Jack O’ Connell went in a couple of times. He got the bit in his teeth. I was in and out fast. It was cold.”

Svalbard, a Norwegian archipelago in the Arctic, also features in Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials.

According to the Visit Svalbard website, average temperatures in the summer months, listed as mid-May to September, can range between 3C (37.4F) and 7C (44.6F), with temperatures in the winter months of October to May dipping to as low as minus 30C (minus 22F).

– The North Water airs on BBC Two on Friday September 10 at 9.30pm, with the full series box set on BBC iPlayer at the same time.

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