Ever wanted to see how a scene is planned? Then why not take a look at these Rocket Man story boards?
Simone Lahbib admits that she would find it hard to cope with the hectic lifestyle of WIRE IN THE BLOOD cop DI Alex Fielding.
“Although we are both mums with busy jobs, our lives are very different and I have it so easy in comparison with Alex. I can’t imagine the constant stress of a life like hers. For a start she’s a single mum whereas I’m so lucky to have a supportive family and husband.
“Alex has a constant tension at home because she’s worried about doing the right thing for her son, then having to go back and deal with her job, for which she has to be in a state of control and very together. It can be at times quite traumatic for her, but it’s also great stuff for me as an actress to play.”
Simone was delighted to be back as Alex after joining the hit series last year.
“It’s great to be back. I enjoyed it even more this time around. There were occasions last year when Alex was a little green in some areas but now she’s beginning to be able to work alongside Tony more. They are very different but there’s an understanding there that wasn’t there before.
“She still doesn’t compromise where she stands on things. Most of the time she trusts Tony’s opinion but she is coming from the police side and she needs the facts and the evidence to do her job and catch the serial killer. It’s good to have a profile but she needs to get to the next stage.”
Just as Tony and Alex have formed a strong partnership, Simone has enjoyed working with Robson Green and the rest of the Coastal Productions team.
“Robson is a joy to work with. He can carry a show and he is a great leading man. When we are shooting such heavy subject matter, with Robson there, you don’t feel you are taking it home with you. He gets the balance right and I am just so fond of him.
“I know he calls me a good audience but I love his sense of humour and he makes me laugh. But that’s no good when you have to go for a second take! Also, the cast and crew that Coastal pull together for each episode are so strong. They don’t have huge egos but huge personalities, and that makes such a difference when you go to work.”
Filming WIRE IN THE BLOOD was non-stop drama for Emma Handy, when her character becomes a victim of voodoo and falls dangerously ill.
She explains: “Paula is ‘voodooed’ when a suggestion that she cannot breathe is planted in her subconscious. This manifests itself as an asthma attack and she is rushed to hospital, put on steroids and undergoes all sorts of tests. Her state worsens and next of kin are informed which means doctors think she is going to die!
“I had to play her having difficulty breathing and then lie in bed for hours, with ‘almost dead’ make-up, hooked up to all the machines with my face trussed up in a nebuliser. It was very hot! It made me feel slightly removed from the rest of the room and the other people in it. Everyone acts around you and it’s like being in a Perspex cocoon-like cage.”
Emma studied Paula’s symptoms before filming began.
“I do research even if it doesn’t directly help the piece. I find it interesting. I did some research on asthma and what happens to you physically when you have an attack and also when you are being medicated for it. This was essential for me in playing the scenes where I have difficulty breathing. It means you can be more specific in the acting and it will usually be more believable to watch.
“We also had a wonderful senior ICU nurse on set advising us on which parts of my body should be hooked up to the machines for the various stages of the illness. She helped me a great deal with the breathing, too.”
Emma believes black magic can affect people.
“I believe in the power of suggestion as demonstrated by Derren Brown. When you hear of cases like these then there is no question that they affect everyone involved. But I believe black magic and voodoo are an excuse for the expression of sick minds. They can be very dangerous in the wrong hands. When I was a teenager I went out with someone who was into black magic. He was slightly twisted in some ways but of no harm to anyone but himself.”
Adds Emma: “My mother’s family are superstitious so I have grown up learning never to put shoes on the table, never to send red and white flowers or walk under a ladder. Also, if you give something with a blade as a present, then the recipient must give back a coin, and when you remove a piece of stray cotton from someone’s clothes it means they are going to get a contract. I don’t really take it seriously although I do live by all of them!”
Emma was delighted to be back filming the fifth series of WIRE IN THE BLOOD.
“It’s unusual and lovely to begin a job knowing almost everyone you’ll be working with.
We have become a big family unit. The scripts were good and my character had more to do and say than she has before. Having scenes to play rather than just delivering information means you are more involved, with more to get your teeth into. Bring it on!”
The drama has seen the relationships develop between Paula and her colleagues Dr Tony Hill (Robson Green). DI Alex Fielding (Simone Lahbib) and DS Kevin Geoffries (Mark Letheren).
Says Emma: “A strong trust has built up between Paula and Tony from when Tony saved Paula’s life after she was kidnapped in an earlier series. You see it again when she falls victim to voodoo. Having a history to the characters makes the scripts richer.
“Paula is like Alex’s PA. Alex knows she can rely on Paula and Paula has a huge amount of respect for her boss. Alex is very good at delegating, which makes for a great team. Paula also has a great working relationship with Kevin. They have shared many dangerous and difficult times as well as having the same sense of humour, which means they are also good friends.”
A graduate of LAMDA, Emma appeared in the Olivier Award winning play Vincent in Brixton in the Royal National Theatre and the West End. Her other work includes Hear The Silence, William and Mary, The Bill, Black Cab, Velvet Goldmine, Silent Witness and Beneath the Skin.