Doing her own stunts, being covered in blood, and emotional exhaustion. Amanda Mealing reveals the reality of filming Casualty’s explosive 30th anniversary episode...
You’re heavily involved in this episode. What have they had you doing?
“I spent a week covered in sticky blood crawling along the bottom of the ravine Connie’s car plunged into. I got cuts everywhere!”
With all the fake blood and cuts, you must be a continuity nightmare!
“If there’s any doubt, they just pour more blood on!”
Did you have to spend hours in make-up?
“It took about an hour. Under the blood are prosthetic cuts and scars, so it takes quite a while to do. My hair was in a disgusting wig! The make-up team are really clever.”
Seeing Connie and Grace plunge into the ravine has been quite a cliffhanger and a long four-week wait for Casualty fans…
“Yes, the end of series 30 is literally a cliffhanger! The long gap has been frustrating for people!”
What can you reveal about the top-secret anniversary episode?
“It’s really traumatic. Connie sees a shoe and thinks it’s her daughter Grace… and then the car explodes!”
How was it to perform those scenes?
“One of the producers said to me: ‘You know you’ve spent a week acting to an empty car?’ It’s possibly the best thing I’ve acted with – but don’t tell the others I’ve said that or I’ll be in real trouble!”
It’s highly emotional. Has that been exhausting for you?
“It was. Some actors can act pain, sadness, anxiety and anguish. I can’t do that. I think you have to be a genius to fake it. So I spent twelve hours a day, five days a week getting really upset. It was rough; I was exhausted and depressed! You get an emotional hangover.”
At least, for once, Connie’s very high-heels come off!
“Yes, there are no heels on. See, this is what happens when Connie takes her shoes off! I do think the shoes very much make Connie, she has a very strong posture, and they make me hold myself differently.”
Did you do the stunt driving sequences in the cliffhanger?
“Yes, I did all of them. I’m a little bit of a speed freak, so I did all the chase scenes. It was really interesting. Later in the studio we had the car up on a gimbal, tipped and with a green screen. It is fantastic what they can do! I got a real sense of how horrific it is, and I never want to experience it for real.”
You did say you wanted to do more stunts!
“Yes I did. I said I wanted to get out more and wanted to do more stunts. Shut your mouth, Amanda! Next time say you want to go to Barbados!”
We know there’s helicopter crashes at the hospital too. What can you reveal about that stunt?
“With the anniversary episode we tried to do as much as possible for real. I came in one Saturday and was told there was a parcel in my dressing room. So I went in and there was a helicopter swinging in front of me! They swung it for real into the back of the ambulance – in one take!”
You must be ready for a holiday after all that?
“Well, I start directing an episode soon, so I’ll be on the other side of the camera. It’s my first one and I’m looking forward to it. I’m going to put them all through their paces – blood and more blood!”
Find out what’s next for Connie and Grace with our episode reveal