Trigger Point: 20 Behind-The-Scenes Secrets From The Set

Vicky McClure on the set of Trigger Point

Over the last five weeks, Trigger Point has had fans on the edge of their seats, as Lana Washington and her team try to find out who is behind a series of co-ordinated terror attacks in London.

Undoubtedly one of ITV’s most ambitious thrillers in recent times, it has featured stunts, explosions and some seriously technical props and costumes. 

With the final episode now upon us, we’re taking a look behind the scenes of the hit drama to uncover all the secrets from set...

1. Trigger Point was conceived after the writer fell down a YouTube hole

Writer Daniel Brierley was inspired after coming across a 1970s BBC documentary called The Long Walk about bomb disposal operatives in Northern Ireland. 

He only found it after letting YouTube automatically choose which videos to play for him – something he credits with being too tired looking after two young children to select his own. 

Admitting he’d been “obsessed” with YouTube, he said he’d reached “the stage now where I’m too tired to decide what I’m going to watch, so I let it choose for me”. 

Speaking of how The Long Walk inspired him, he added: “I’ve always been fascinated by the mindset of people approaching danger, the people who run towards the problem rather than run away from it, because that’s counter to all our human instincts…  I thought that was a really fascinating jumping off point for a drama.”

2. A real expo who worked on Bodyguard helped the writer get inside their world

The writer was surprised at just how much time real expos spend sitting around waiting for a call 

Executive producer Jed Mercruio gave Daniel the number of an expo who had previously been an advisor on his hit BBC drama Bodyguard to get an insight into the technical elements of the job. 

Daniel got to spend time with him in a secret base in London, and explained that he got to understand “who they were and how they did their job” including the pressures on them, the shifts they worked and how they would often sleep on the sofas in the locker room. 

He added: “The surprising thing for me was that the prospect of a bomb was so banal to them because they’ve been training their entire life for this. And it’s juxtaposed with the extreme boredom of sitting and waiting - these guys aren’t called out of their office unless there is extreme danger.”

3. There was a very good reason why he didn’t get to go out on any active operations though

Daniel explained that the insurance for him to do so “would have been crazy”.

4 The expos were there to help Daniel “draft after draft” when he was writing the script

“It was really challenging to write a script with so many technicalities in it, because it’s not my world,” Daniel admitted. 

The experts’ willingness to help meant that Daniel could “really just let my imagination flow and then come back to the experts and ask if certain things could really happen”. 

5. Accuracy was really important to Jed Mercurio too

Line Of Duty, which Jed is famed for creating and writing, is rooted in procedure and process, and he was keen to ensure Trigger Point followed in similar fashion. 

“Certainly on Line of Duty, we’ve always tried to follow procedure to the letter of the law, to coin a phrase! When I spoke to Daniel about developing Trigger Point, he was also really keen that we at least attempted to represent what would happen in the real world,” he explained. 

6. If you’d wondered why the expos always remove their helmets when they approach a device, there’s a very good reason for that

Lana is always seen removing her goggles and helmet as she approaches a live device

Vicky admitted that it seemed like “madness” for her character to take off part of her protective gear as Lana would approach a device to neutralise it. 

However, this is what real expos actually do. 

“They explained to me that it could impair your vision, or it could knock the device if it slipped, all these logical things, so you need to take it off to actually work properly around the device,” she said. 

7. Vicky was always in the frame to play lead character Lana Washington

Vicky McClure as Lana Washington

Of course, she has history with exec producer Jed Mercurio thanks to her role as DI Kate Fleming on Line Of Duty, but it was other people on the team who asked him to put in a call to her. 

Jed said: “Her name came up in the very first conversation about casting. Everybody said, ‘Vicky McClure would be great’ and then they all just looked at me! So I just asked her and she said she’d love to read the script. 

“We were incredibly fortunate that she responded to Daniel’s writing and the ambitions for the series.”

8. Vicky did many of her own stunts in the show

While Vicky said she was determined to do as many of the action scenes as possible, she admitted that she hadn’t expected it to be “quite as challenging as it was”. 

“I got through it and I did most of it myself. I was really game,” she said. “I felt really safe with incredible support and amazing professionals with me at all times.”

9. But there was one in particular that she wasn’t allowed to do due to Covid restrictions

She said: “The few things that I didn’t do are mainly scenes with erratic driving because of Covid restrictions, even though I always say, “Didn’t you see me in Top Gear? I know what I’m doing!.”

10. Most of the explosions you see on the show are real 

The team had just one chance to film this explosio

Producers were as keen to film as many of the explosions on camera as possible, rather than edit them in in post-production. 

Producer Julia Stannard explained: “The first explosion of the series was one where we knew we only had one take. But we tested it, we’d seen it, and by the end I wasn’t worried, because our special effects team was so professional, we knew it would work.”

However, “some things” did have to be done in the edit as production couldn’t risk damage to certain buildings.

11. Producers had to create the illusion that the story was set in a heatwave after the British weather let them down

While filming originally began when it was hot, the summer of 2021 went on to be a bit of a letdown temperature-wise, meaning that the team had to create the illusion of a heatwave during the majority of the shoot. 

Vicky explained: “That didn’t go in our favour, but luckily we had incredible people around us that could make it feel like a boiling hot summer’s day when it wasn’t - that’s film-making!”

12. Shooting on location in London proved to be incredibly challenging 

Trigger Point filmed scenes in central London

Jed explained: “Getting access to film in London is always hard because it’s a big bustling city, and then on top of that, when we say we want to blow things up there’s an incredible amount of paperwork.”

13. Most of the residents on the West Haven estate in episode one were real 

Filming took place at a north London housing estate

And they got paid for their involvement too, according to Adrian Lester. 

“All of episode one was shot on an estate in North London. Lots of the residents who live there were paid by the company to help and take part in the scenes. It’s a huge amount of disruption for them but they were very good about it,” he said. 

Producers also hired somebody to spend a week there beforehand befriending people. 

14. There was a nice outcome of filming there too

According to producer Julia, at the end of filming quite a few of the residents said it had been “such a positive experience because they’d met their neighbours for the first time and made new friends”.

15. The level of details in the costumes proved a nightmare for continuity

Vicky has her make-up touched up during filming

Adrian Lester, who played expo Nut in the first episode, said that the costume team had rather a lot to contend with. 

“Continuity was tough to keep track of,” he said. |Helmets, gloves, vests, visors, ear-pieces, backpacks all going on and coming off at various stages as we moved from one scene to the next. And of course we shot the whole thing out of order.”

16. The huge bomb suit Lana wore in episode two weighed more than Vicky herself

Vicky McClure donned this outfit for a particular scene in episode two

When Lana is called to a suspected bomb on a London bus in the second episode of the series, she dons a almost scuba-like outfit as protection. 

This was actually a real suit that was lent to the production, and proved a tough (and heavy) wear for Vicky. 

She said: “It weighs more than I do, but we made a choice not to take the weight out of it - it’s insane, but I wanted to feel it, and I’m making a TV show, I have the option to take it off when we’re not shooting.”

17. The robots used were the real deal too

The robots have been frequently used during the series

Production were able to book the real robots expos use in a situation where they are investigating a suspicious package, along with someone to operate them. 

“We wanted to portray this world properly and people are so savvy nowadays, everybody’s googling everything, so if a prop like that isn’t right then people will catch you out very quickly. All of those things have massive budget implications, but we had to get all of that equipment right,” producer Julie explained. 

18. Vicky McClure ‘lived like a nun’ during filming

Vicky was concerned about catching Covid and shutting down the production

Because of the strict Covid protocols in place on the film and TV industry at the time Trigger Point was filmed, Vicky admitted she was “really nervous” about contracting the virus and shutting down the production that she barely went out during the shoot. 

“I was determined not to shut the show down or disrupt filming. It’s impossible to avoid coronavirus as we all know, so basically my weekends were spent indoors,” she said.

“I was really careful to not be out and about, but I did go to the GQ Awards, because I had to have one night out while I was in London. That was followed by five days of anxiety worrying I had caught it, but I hadn’t. 

“It’s a lot of responsibility when you can’t be replaced, so I lived like a nun!”

19. Vicky and Jed made sure their Line Of Duty co-stars didn’t miss them too much

“I’d be lying if I said we didn’t send Martin [Compston] and Adrian [Dunbar, who play DI Steve Arnott and Superintendent Ted Hastings respectively ] a few selfies on set together, saying hi!” Vicky joked. 

20. Vicky organised the tastiest of surprises to celebrate the end of filming 

The actor asked Greggs if they would help her out with a surprise to help thank the cast and crew, and the popular bakery ended up sending a van full of sausage rolls and doughnuts down to feed them all. 

But this was no standard delivery, as the goods came in a specially branded ‘Greggs disposal unit’ van, which Vicky shared a photo of on social media. 

Trigger Point concludes on Sunday at 9pm on ITV.

Older Post Newer Post