THE TV industry has spent the best part of two years coming up with foolproof ways to keep shows on the road amid a global pandemic.
Social distancing, masks, daily testing — you name it.
But that all goes to pot when basic human error sneaks in — as the bosses of Bridgerton found out last week.
I’m told that the Netflix show temporarily ground to a halt because someone managed to muddle up the cast and crew’s Covid tests, meaning they had no idea whose was whose.
And to make matters worse, in the initial tests there was at least one positive case — meaning bosses on location in High Wycombe, Bucks had to retest the lot and wait for results.
A source said: “Nothing can account for mistakes, sadly, and producers cannot take any chances, given it could quickly tear through cast and crew and shut production down for a while.
“The tests were cross-contaminated, meaning they all had to be done again.
“Ironically, when they came back a second time the positives were negatives so maybe they could have ploughed on regardless.
“They had to revise and shift the shooting schedule slightly but it hasn’t caused any delays to shooting thankfully. It could’ve been a lot worse.”
Shooting of the second series of the hit period drama is well underway despite a few Covid delays en route.
Filming had already been halted twice due to fresh cases, before getting back on location after the incidents in mid-July.
The second series will see breakout star PHOEBE DYNEVOR — daughter of Corrie legend SALLY — return but leading man REGÉ-JEAN PAGE will be noticeably absent.
The Brit said he always planned to appear for just one series, and is now off chasing other roles including that of James Bond.
If he manages to pull off the 007 gig, I imagine the role will last a bit longer.
Mingle bell Sophia
MEET Sophia Maria, who is going to help fill the Love Island void in all our lives.
Sophia is the central character in new ITV2 series Ready To Mingle, which begins on Monday hosted by Katherine Ryan.
Sophia will live with 12 blokes competing for her affections and a share of a £50,000 prize.
But there’s a twist in the series. Some of the guys are already in relationships – and their partners are close by watching their every move.
On receiving the news she was going to be on the show, Sophia said: “The day before, I’d called things off with a guy I’d been seeing for a few months, so it was weird timing.
“I got a message from ITV that evening and was like, ‘This is amazing’.”
Farrell: My relief cast are all alive
COLIN Farrell has spent most of his career playing a heart-throb – but his new role is poles apart from that.
The Irish actor plays whale harpooner Henry Drax in new BBC2 series The North Water, and had to pile on the pounds.
He said: “It was clear when I was reading the book . . . there was a certain power to his body, the way he fills space, the way he moves. A certain brute strength he had.
“I just lifted weights and ate. I wouldn’t advise it though. It was one of two times in my life where you couldn’t take off the costume.”
He spent weeks filming in the Arctic Circle alongside Stephen Graham and Jack O’Connell.
He added that it was director Andrew Haigh who decided “that we all ended in the f**g ahole of nowhere. In a place where, when they said after five weeks that we’re heading back south, I’ll never forget the relief that nobody died!”
Talking to Radio Times, Jack added: “Steve and I were strolling back to set when our piece of ice started floating away.
“We couldn’t step on it then we couldn’t jump it. I couldn’t see a happy ending to the scenario, so while we were laughing, we were panicking a bit as well. They had to put a pontoon across, secure it, then walk us back.”
Grim job for Greg
GREG Davies always looked like a man who could kill someone. Now his latest role, in BBC1 comedy The Cleaner, sees him mop up the “horrible aftermath” of crime scenes.
Greg, who plays Wicky, managed to rope in Helena Bonham Carter, David Mitchell and Jo Hartley as episode guest stars for the series, which starts at 9.30pm on September 10.
Greg said: “Each week he meets a new character associated with whatever had happened. Each episode is totally different. It’s very silly at times and, I hope, funny.”
Morse is No1 tune
OUR favourite TV theme tune is Inspector Morse, according to a poll of more than 20,000 Classic FM listeners and Radio Times readers.
The dark, hypnotic soundtrack to the detective series was composed by Australian-born Barrington Pheloung, who died in 2019.
At number two was Aram Khachaturian’s Adagio of Spartacus and Phrygia – the theme for 1970s drama The Onedin Line.
Downton Abbey, Game of Thrones and Wolf Hall also made the top five.
Kerry says SAS was ‘like therapy’
KERRY Katona has revealed Celebrity SAS: Who Dares Wins was like “therapy” and helped her grieve.
Kerry lost her ex-husband George Kay last year. The former rugby league player died after crushing a ball of cocaine and eating it at a Holiday Inn in Cheshire.
Speaking ahead of the series launch of Celebrity SAS on C4, Kerry said: “I’ve got a lot of closure doing the show.
“I wanted to prove something to everybody – that I’ve turned my life around.”
This Morning cast under the weather
ALISON Hammond dropped out of covering as This Morning host this week – after Vernon Kay had to do the same.
Stand-in Eamonn Holmes said he also wasn’t feeling well – after former Family Fortunes man Vernon tested positive for Covid.