Coronation Street has revealed it used a real-life couple as stand-ins for the secret kiss scene involving characters Tyrone and Alina on Friday night.
With the ITV soap being filmed under social distancing protocols, one of the show's extras, Alex Mulvaney, and his partner Hannah filmed the kiss instead of stars Alan Halsall, who plays Tyrone; and Ruxandra Porojnicu, who plays Alina.
Tyrone and Alina!— Coronation Street (@itvcorrie) March 19, 2021
We can't just have people going around kissing you know! Watch how we filmed Coronation Street's first socially distanced smooch! ??
Find out more: https://t.co/HrECzSflF4#Corrie @itv @WeAreSTV @alanhalsall @RuxPorojnicu pic.twitter.com/mWq6G1AYCZ
Alan Halsall and Ruxandra Porojnicu were never seated together during their scene in the soap's Victoria Gardens. Instead, they were filmed separately on a bench and composited in post-production.
Alex Mulvaney and his partner were then filmed for the embrace that fans saw on Friday night.
"My agent said that Coronation Street needed extras who were in a support bubble and because I used to be an extra three times a week - and they knew half of my family had done extra work on the show - it worked out perfectly," Alex Mulvaney told ITV.
"My partner, Hannah, hadn't done any extra work before, but my agent knew she had dark hair like Alina's so I asked her if she wanted to do it.
"Hannah was nervous at first, but she is a big Coronation Street fan. I had been on set many times before, and I was able to talk her through what to expect and she was a bit starstruck when she saw the actors."
"Given what is going on in the world, this was the best way to do it safely," he continued.
"It was a really enjoyable day and it was clear that all the cast and staff follow Covid rules strictly. The organisation and care taken is second-to-none."
Ruxandra Porojnicu, who plays Alina, added: "Filming the kissing scene under the Covid restrictions, where we had to keep two metres apart, was definitely a challenge, but one as an actress I really enjoyed.
"It was difficult not being able to look into each other's eyes for the emotion of the scene but Coronation Street came up with a clever way to cheat that with sunglasses on an aerial [to keep the characters' eyeline].
"Everything that's been said in the scene leads to the kiss, which is very important for Alina because it is the first time that she has said out loud to Tyrone that she is falling for him."
"For the most part, our brilliant writers, cast and crew have cleverly worked around the inability of our characters to get within two metres of each other," said producer Iain MacLeod.
"We have therefore told the same stories throughout the pandemic that we would have told in 'normal' times.
"But it just felt wrong to tell a story of an illicit liaison, where someone betrays their partner based on lust and sexual attraction, only for us not to see any of the chemistry and closeness. Hence the smoke and mirrors here!"
Coronation Street airs on ITV1 and Virgin Media One on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.