Kissing under Covid-19 restrictions: Holby City reveals how it's done
How do you film a kissing scene when you're under Covid-19 precautions? In the case of Holby City, it involves two very patient actors, a sheet of perspex, and a mystery man.
The BBC One medical drama this week saw two surgeons, Jac (Rosie Marcel) and Kian (Ramin Karimloo) share a kiss as they sat together on a sofa.
It proved perplexing for some viewers, who asked on social media how the scene was possible when actors and crew on BBC soaps are subject to social distancing restrictions.
In a behind-the-scenes video, the pair explained how it was done.
The prop team installed a sheet of perspex, made to measure so that it perfectly fit the sofa dimensions. Viewers were unable to see it in the final edit, but it allowed the actors to sit within a metre of one another.
“I had to make sure I didn’t sit too quickly or too abruptly on the couch because it would have moved the perspex. So there wasn’t much room for error,” Mr Karimloo said.
Leaning into the kiss itself was one of the trickiest shots, according to Mr Karimloo, as the camera crew had to ensure there were no reflections visible in the perspex.
And for the moment of the kiss itself, Mr Karimloo was replaced by Ms Marcel’s real-life husband, Ben Stacey, a gym owner who has a similar colouring, build and beard to Mr Karimloo.
Ms Marcel said: “We needed to do a kiss and it’s very difficult with the perspex and things like that. So my lovely husband came in to do a little kiss with me, which is really nice, and really weird.”
Her husband described the experience as “really strange”.
Deborah Sathe, senior head of content production for Holby City, said: “We at BBC Studios are so proud of the output our teams are producing under the current restrictions. With safety as our priority, everyone at Holby City is working exceptionally hard to create tantalising scenes like this in new and creative ways.”
Other scenes on the show give the impression that cast members are close together, but the actors have been superimposed on to a previously shot background.