Home and Away spoilers follow for UK viewers.
Home and Away's Mia Anderson features in dramatic and emotional scenes on UK screens this week as the recent car crash leads to tragedy.
Mia, Dean Thompson and Nikau Parata took centre stage in a huge cliffhanger last Friday as they were all involved in a terrible car crash.
In this week's tense scenes, Mia tries her best to get everyone out of the situation alive, but she privately fears the risk to her pregnancy. There's heartbreak to come when she later learns that she has lost her baby.
Anna Samson, who plays Mia, recently chatted to Digital Spy about the storyline.
How did you prepare for these ambitious episodes? Were you given much notice by the bosses?
"'Ambitious' is such a good word for this set of episodes, because they're bigger in scale than any of us are really used to on Home and Away. We generally have these 'event' episodes every now and again within a year.
"I received as much notice as you get for any of the episodes. You get your scripts, you read through them and then you get a rehearsal with the director.
"Arnie Custo, who is the director of these episodes, sat us down and said: 'This is going to be big'. He told me that it's the heroine's journey and this real display of Mia's bravery.
"I was also told that it'd be a big physical challenge for myself as a performer. Arnie said: 'I'm going to ask a lot from you and expect a lot from you, and you're going to be great'.
"So the preparation for this episode was bigger than most. You had to know not only the character's psychological motivation, but a great deal of physical performance had to be mapped out."
How long did it take to film?
"It felt like forever! We did the 'away' part of the shoot for a week. We filmed all of the exterior scenes out in a town called Yass.
"Then we came back and we did a lot of the car stuff in studio. We call that 'simulated travel' with LED screens – so it's screens in the studio that replicate the surroundings.
"It was a lot of work. There's a lot of hours that go into a short space of time for what you see on the screen."
Did it bring the cast and crew involved closer?
"Absolutely. I love the intensity and how it bonds you as a cast and crew. You feel like you've gone through something together – a battle! You feel a bit battle-worn after it and everyone can say: 'We survived the car crash episodes together!'
"Then you see that particular crew and cast in the studio and you're like: 'Hey you, we know each other a little better now!'
"I think that's one of the joys of it. You really feel like you're in the trenches of creating a story together."
How did it feel to watch the episodes back?
"We were all very proud. I felt really thrilled and proud to be part of these particular episodes and to be trusted with something so tricky. I think they're a great success.
"The episodes feel more cinematic than usual and it's so exciting to be part of something so epic. It felt like a spectacle.
"The crash aired as the Olympic cliffhanger in Australia, before the show went on a two-week break. The writers and the producers were aware that the Olympics are a big event which capture people's hearts and imaginations, take their breath away and bring people together, especially when we're all in lockdown.
"Home and Away had to not compete but complement the excitement of watching the Olympics and I think it did well."
How did you feel when you found out that Mia would lose the baby?
"You always want the best for your character, but you also want the most interesting thing to play as an actor. You read the scripts and your heart breaks for this human being that you invest your time, life and energy into.
"But the actor part of you goes: 'Oh, that's going to be meaty. That's going to be satisfying to try to understand and perform'.
"In terms of miscarriages and losing children, I think that's a very important storyline. It's something that so many women and men experience. So many people experience losing a baby before it's full-term.
"The responsibility in performing that, I found a great challenge and a really worthwhile responsibility to take on as a performer."
In the aftermath, Mia tells Ari that she doesn't want to try for a baby again after so many losses. Can you tell us about her decision?
"I think Mia is emotionally exhausted. The rise and fall of hope and loss has been experienced so many times. She's been on that rollercoaster more than most. She's really been through it.
"Mia really wants a rest from the hope of having babies because it's only ever caused her grief, other than with Chloe.
"That's not to say that things won't change and time could heal that wound. But in that moment, Mia wants to rest. She wants a rest from her own heart."
What was it like to film those scenes with Rob Kipa-Williams, who plays Ari?
"They are emotional scenes, but Rob and I have a great working relationship and a great trust, which makes things a lot easier. From the other cast and crew, there's a great respect given to any performer who has to show and reveal that level of emotion.
"There's a real reverence given to those types of storylines, because they happen often on Home and Away. It's a drama, so we see people at their most vulnerable quite often. The cast and crew know how to create those scenes and how to look after the performer.
"With Rob, there is a great comfort in having a scene partner that you can actually cry on the shoulder of in real life, so you can then translate that to screen much more easily. There's a level of vulnerability and trust."
What was it like to join the already-established Parata family?
"They were so welcoming. Those three Kiwi boys are delightful. The first word they taught me in Māori was whānau, which means family. I think that's indicative of how they think and feel.
"It was immediately welcoming and boisterous! I think maybe there was something good about a feminine energy entering this bachelor pad with these giant, 6-foot-and-then-some men! It was nice to have some women enter the house."
Have you bonded with Sam Barrett, who plays Mia, too?
"I love that woman and I've seen her grow, even over the year and a bit that we've been performing together. Sam has developed into this strong-willed, intelligent, no bullshit, kind young lady.
"I realise that I'm speaking about her like she's my actual daughter, but I do feel very protective and very proud of her, like a mum would. I do have some maternal instincts towards her, which is ridiculous because I'm not old enough to be her mum in real life!"
Do you hope everything works out for Mia and Ari in the end?
"I hope that all the characters find joy and happiness, because they become so familiar to us. On a long-running show like this, they feel more like real people than characters.
"That being said, I can't promise just happy things for Mia and Ari. In fact, there's quite a lot of tragedy, drama, heartbreak and joy about to hit your screens.
"I'd like to say the next chapter is going to be the happily-ever-after they've always hoped for, but in true Home and Away style, it's much more of a rollercoaster than that."
Home and Away airs weekdays at 1.15pm and 6pm on Channel 5 (UK), with first look screenings at 6.30pm on 5STAR.
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