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Work on BBC crime thriller Bloodlands set in NI ongoing, says writer Jed Mercurio

Bloodlands

Bloodlands writer Jed Mercurio has said post-production is ongoing on the Northern Ireland-based drama, despite the coronavirus crisis.

The four-part series, which is due to air on BBC One later this year, follows police detective Tom Brannick, played by Colersaine actor James Nesbitt, and his hunt for a legendary assassin.

It kicks off with a possible suicide note being pulled out of Strangford Lough, which Brannick quickly connects to an infamous cold case with huge personal significance.

Bloodlands was shot in locations across Northern Ireland and filming concluded just before the virus forced productions to shut down.

Mercurio says producers have had to come up with new ways of handling post-production amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

“We were able to start working at the beginning of the year and only had a 10-week schedule,” he told World Screen.

“We wrapped a week before a lot of other productions were forced to shut down. We are endeavoring to conclude post-production while respecting the lockdown and social distancing, which has thrown up a number of challenges.

“Fundamentally, things just take a little bit longer, and for that reason, we have agreed to an extended post-production period with the BBC,” the Bodyguard creator continued.

“They have been very supportive and sympathetic to the fact that people can’t work in the way they were accustomed to. We can’t all get in a room and watch a cut and talk it through.

“The extension to the post-production schedule won’t affect the quality; it’s purely that the workflow can’t be the same.”

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Adrian Dunbar, Martin Compston and Line of Duty creator Jed Mercurio.

Adrian Dunbar, Martin Compston and Line of Duty creator Jed Mercurio.

Photopress Belfast

Adrian Dunbar, Martin Compston and Line of Duty creator Jed Mercurio.

Production on season six of Mercurio’s BBC cop drama Line of Duty, on the other hand, has been halted “indefinitely” after filming began in Belfast in February.

“We shot for four weeks and then we were forced to shut down just a few days after Bloodlands wrapped,” explained Mercurio.

“We are on an indefinite hiatus. We’re mainly concerned about the health of our cast and crew.”

Across Northern Ireland, 25 local factual and entertainment productions have been suspended as a result of the virus, including documentaries, comedies, dramas and Hollywood blokbusters.

Among the postponed productions is Viking revenge film The Northman, starring Nicole Kidman, which was forced to abandon filming on the north coast of Antrim in March due to fears over the coronavirus outbreak.

The Hollywood motion picture is also expected to star brothers Alexander and Bill Skarsgard and Emma actress Anya Taylor-Joy.

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17/02/20.. The site where a film set is being erected on Torr Head County Antrim, a remote area of Northern Ireland.Pic Steven McAuley/McAuley Multimedia

17/02/20.. The site where a film set is being erected on Torr Head County Antrim, a remote area of Northern Ireland.Pic Steven McAuley/McAuley Multimedia

17/02/20.. The site where a film set is being erected on Torr Head County Antrim, a remote area of Northern Ireland.Pic Steven McAuley/McAuley Multimedia

A film set had already been built in the scenic and remote location of Torr Head.

The third series of Lisa McGee’s nostalgic hit TV show Derry Girls, which was due to begin filming at the beginning of May.

Nicola Cloughan, who plays Clare Devlin in the series, said the cast and crew don’t know when they will be able to start work on the latest series.

“Filming has been put on hold for now which sucks, and we’re all really excited to go back and start again and see the scripts because we actually haven’t,” she said.

“We made the second series back in 2018, so it’s been a long time since we’ve been together filming.

“There’s tentative dates when we hope to go back but we don’t really know at the minute.”

The second series attracted 3.2 million viewers for its first episode, making it Channel 4’s biggest UK comedy launch for 15 years.

Belfast Telegraph