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Filming during COVID-19 has created numerous challenges for crews trying to keep everybody safe — but Coronation Street has an innovative approach to shooting intimate romantic moments.
The crew used a real-life couple as doubles for its first kissing scene of the pandemic, as they are allowed to get closer to each other than social distancing rules would otherwise allow.
ITV revealed the secret after Friday's episode of Corrie, in which viewers saw Tyrone (Alan Halsall) and Alina (Ruxandra Porojnicu) share a secret kiss on a bench.
The show drafted in regular extra Alex Mulvaney and his partner Hannah to double for the actors at the crucial moment.
A similar trick has been used on other soaps, with Holby City bringing in actor Rosie Marcel's husband to kiss her in place of co-star Ramin Karimloo during a romantic scene.
Watch: Uncover some Corrie secrets
"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," Mulvaney said.
He added: "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."
The scene was shot in the Victoria Gardens part of the set, with each actor filming their lines separately prior to being digitally composited together in post-production.
Each actor was able to judge the other's eye line thanks to a pair of sunglasses stuck to a radio aerial.
Tyrone and Alina!
We can't just have people going around kissing you know! Watch how we filmed Coronation Street's first socially distanced smooch! 😘
Find out more: https://t.co/HrECzSflF4#Corrie @itv @WeAreSTV @alanhalsall @RuxPorojnicu pic.twitter.com/mWq6G1AYCZ
— Coronation Street (@itvcorrie) March 19, 2021
Mulvaney said he thought the sunglasses trick was a "really inventive idea" and confirmed he always likes popping up on Coronation Street, which he and his family have done often in the past.
For Hannah, though, this was her first time in front of the cameras.
Mulvaney said: "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 starstruck when she saw the actors."
Having successfully executed its first kissing scene in the era of COVID-19, Coronation Street and other productions will continue to find clever ways to accommodate their storylines while maintaining cast and crew safety.
Watch: Corrie stars pay tribute to star Johnny Briggs