They have never been Northern Ireland's closest couple, but Ma and Da from Give My Head Peace were keeping even more of a distance than usual as the cameras rolled on a very different new series of the BBC's longest-running local comedy.
This was more like Give My Head space as the cast and crew got to grips with the dramatic novel way of filming for television amid ultra-tight coronavirus restrictions which meant that all the old norms of recording went out the window.
Wearing my other hat as an actor, I got an insight into the making of the new four-part series as I joined the cast for one episode - not in the usual commodious BBC studios in the centre of Belfast, but in the middle of nowhere in a business park outside Carrickfergus.
Arriving on location it was obvious that this would be a shoot like no other.
As well as masks and hand sanitisers, there were temperature checks and detailed health questionnaires to be filled as well as the registration of contact numbers and addresses.
The make-up and costume departments with personnel wearing PPE were housed outside in trucks which swayed as the wind whipped in off Belfast Lough.
Inside, in a series of green rooms which had been sprayed with a disinfectant fogger, the cast, including Tim McGarry, Olivia Nash, Marty Reid, Michael McDowell and Alexandra Ford, were staying well apart. Individual meals, which had been ordered and prepared in advance in line with Covid regulations, were eaten at a distance too.
Damon Quinn, the GMHP producer who plays Cal in the series, said that Covid-19 had presented unprecedented challenges for the team, who had lengthy meetings with BBC executives and health and safety experts to finalise Covid protocols
"But the Beeb were great," added Damon. "It was quite a risk for them and a significant investment to go ahead with making the programmes in such tough times.
"We set aside four weeks for filming because we thought we might have to stop if someone got sick but thankfully that never happened and we were able to get everything in the can sooner than we expected."
The sets for the loyalist and nationalist characters were transported from storage and built in unit 13C at the Kilroot business park.
Obviously I don't want to give too much away about Dan, the character I was playing, but the clues are in the picture of me and Da, played by Tim McGarry.
It was my fourth role on GMHP, having previously played a loyalist thug, a republican heavy and at the other end of the scale, a priest.
Filming the show was a world away from the traditional style of making a production. With actors having to stay socially distant, it was impossible to film them in the customary two shots as is evident in soaps like Coronation Street.
"But thanks to camera tricks and shooting a lot of cut-aways of actors on their own, we have been able, in the editing, to give the illusion that the characters were nearer to each other than they actually were," said Damon.
Slap-stick humour, which has always been a feature of GMHP shows, had to go by the board because of the ban on physical contact.
"In the past we would rarely have got through an episode without Ma giving Da a dig in the bake. But we couldn't do that in the new series," said Damon.
Co-director Jim Creagh, who also operated one of the cameras, always had a two metre ruler by his side to ensure that no-one on set invaded anyone else's space.
On one occasion, as I took a few steps towards another actor to deliver a line, the balloon went up with a chorus of screams that maybe didn't go as far as recent Tom Cruise admonishments but still warned me to keep my place.
The crew numbers were a lot smaller than before and in between the action, members of the team were constantly cleaning and re-cleaning the set and there was a Covid compliance officer there too.
Kilroot was not my only port of call for GMHP and shortly afterwards I filmed another part of the episode in a locked-down Belfast bar that doubled for the Armalite and Ballot Box pub which was the setting for a wedding.
The cast were joined by a group of extras who had to sit two metres apart at all times as Pastor Begbie, played by Paddy Jenkins, performed a most bizarre ceremony, totally out of keeping with his dyed-in-the wool Protestant principles.
The absence of a studio audience left producers with a dilemma. But they got round it by screening all four episodes in a socially distanced cinema.
The pandemic didn't dominate proceedings in the GMHP episodes, said Damon, adding: "We reckoned that people view our shows as an escape. So that's what we aimed to give them."
The first episode of the new series of Give My Head Peace will be transmitted on BBC One NI on Sunday at 1030pm.