With only three weeks to go until the annual Shortland Street cliffhanger, producer Oliver Driver reveals how the series kept churning out episodes within their bubble.
"Filming under level 3 restrictions meant we had to rethink how we went about the end-of-year episodes without compromising the drama. It can feel overwhelming when you look at it as a whole but it was all about dividing and conquering, breaking it down into areas that felt achievable under the restrictions," Driver tells Spy.
"With actors socially distanced, we had to come up with different ways to shoot," he says. "We now have an arsenal of tricks to shoot the show safely and keep things looking real for our loyal audience."
One of those tricks includes a "Kissing Screen", which enabled the production to reintroduce more passionate moments instead of just suggesting it through the use of camera angles and longing looks.
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"Looking at how other productions were shooting around the world revealed that some were using glass screens. It enabled us to show two actors closer than they were and give the illusion they were being intimate. I'm sure as an actor it feels really silly – but it definitely works."
This year the production once again was stood down from filming due to the pandemic and the cast and crew have been on a roller-coaster ride of catch-up since resuming. This includes the dramatic end-of-year episodes, which normally film in October, but are currently being shot at the Auckland studios.
Driver remains tight-lipped but it seems the year may finish with a runaway wedding, as it's clear to us that Dr Tom Griffiths, played by Mattias Inwood, and Tess Hutchinson, played by Rebecca McEwan, are headed down the aisle.
Spy did, however, get Driver to reveal that a familiar face will return, there will be two devastating exits, and you can expect a shock revelation that someone is not who they seem.