Ten of our Performing Arts students had a fab and groovy time, while gaining invaluable professional experience, playing 1960s art students in popular TV drama Heartbeat when the production filmed on location on Saturday 18th April.
A previous episode had been shot here in 2005 and so it was a very welcome return for the crew. Scenes were shot inside and outside the Lister Building and inside the Old Building. Our historic buildings can be easily used to create the right period charm. Production Designer, Andrew Sanderson, explained “This is the penultimate episode so it is almost the end of an era. If we don’t have the right locations we sometimes use CGI, as we have done recently to add a 1960s block to a Saltaire street, but this is an expensive option. This was a great location and one it was good to return to, as with some props, signs and very little interference, it can be transformed into Aidensfield College of Adult Education."
Without spoiling the amusing plot, the storyline centres around a comedy of errors involving a college life drawing class, and featuring characters PC Don Wetherby (played by actor Rupert Ward-Lewis), Oscar Blaketon (played by actor Derek Fowlds) and a very strict lecturer, Constance Manners (played by actress Elizabeth Rider) plus student extras: Gemma Barratt, Cain Connelly, Ashley Gobbi, Andrew Harney, Sophie Hirst, Paulina Jozwiak, Bethany Oswald, David Pizzey, Jade Smith and Sarah Yates.
Our students’ first task was hair and make up. The girls loved wearing the sixties fashions. Sophie reckoned “It gives you a feeling for the era and makes you feel like you are in the ‘60s.” David was less enthusiastic about his garish tank top and shirt, and found walking in tight trousers and heels a challenge!
All our aspiring actors dream of appearing in TV drama so the opportunity to gain direct experience was an occasion to make each heart beat a little faster. They had ample chance to see the discipline and efficient teamwork behind the glamour and realise that TV production is a very hard job, demanding patience, concentration and teamwork. Each episode takes ten days of fifteen hour days to shoot. They had anticipated lots of takes and waiting around but the intensity of filming, the amount of crew and equipment, the tight working spaces, heat from the lights and the need for silence could only be appreciated by experiencing them.
David admitted, “I was surprised what went into each scene, the rehearsals, shooting, doing exactly the same thing again and again so it can be filmed from different angles, and the long days.” Jade added, “It has been great working with the cameras and crew. Everyone has been so friendly and it has been really enjoyable.” Cain agreed, “It has been very exciting. At first I felt nervous when they were going for a take but I got the hang of quickly.” Sarah summed up the group’s feelings by declaring it “a once in a lifetime experience.”