Emmerdale star reveals what she misses most about pre-lockdown filming – and it might surprise you…

(Image credit: ITV)

Mornings just aren’t the same…

The cast and crew of Emmerdale may be back filming, but health and safety guidelines issued as a result of the coronavirus pandemic mean that it’s far from business as usual.

A strict two metre distance rule is in force, meaning kissing and fighting scenes are a no-no, while other changes include actors taking responsibility for their own props, so that they’re not touched by anyone else.

But for Karen Blick, who plays Lydia Dingle, it’s alterations to the canteen that she has felt the most. The 46 year old, who, on Monday, stars with James Hooton (Sam) in the first of the soap’s six special lockdown episodes, says that when she filmed the two-hander, the thing she missed the most was…the coffee machine!

She tells us: “The first thing I do every morning is get a cappuccino, but the machine has been switched off for safety reasons. And the canteen is all spaced out – the booths have all gone.

“My morning routine used to be coffee, then a chat in the corridors, and then into the relaxation of the lovely make up room.”

Lydia Dingle Emmerdale ITV

Lydia and Sam's Spring wedding, filmed in the days when actors were allowed to touch each other...

Of course, it’s not just her regular caffeine fix that Karen has been lamenting. The star adds that she also missed “hugging people” and that social distancing meant the Emmerdale building was without its usual hair and make-up team, meaning she had to take drastic action and do something that would strike fear into most women – cut her own hair!

“Having no makeup artist is very different,” she says. ‘Thankfully, Lydia is not awfully glamorous, so luckily I’m not having to recreate some fantastic look which would be hard to do myself.

“Ahead of filming, the head of make-up, Jess, called me and asked how my hair was looking, and she talked me through cutting my own fringe. So I have now cut my own fringe!

“It went well, and I was more nervous about cutting my fringe than recording the episode. It had to be out of my eyes as you need to show your eyes when acting. I’ve also covered my greys, and tried to look as much like Lydia did eight or nine weeks ago.”

Alison Slade
Soaps Editor
Alison Slade has over 20 years of experience as a TV journalist and has spent the vast majority of that time as Soap Editor of TV Times magazine.  She is passionate about the ability of soaps to change the world by presenting important, issue-based stories about real people in a relatable way. There are few soap actors that she hasn’t interviewed over the years, and her expertise in the genre means she has been called upon as a judge numerous times for The British Soap Awards and the BAFTA TV Awards.

When she is not writing about soaps, watching soaps, or interviewing people who are in soaps, she loves going to the theatre, taking a long walk or pottering about at home, obsessing over Farrow and Ball paint.