Home and Away star Patrick O’Connor has given whattowatch.com the inside story on the shocking car crash episodes that leave Dean Thompson, Mia Anderson and Nikau Parata in deadly danger.
When Dean overheard a pregnant Mia Anderson (Anna Thomson) offering to pick up Tane’s troubled nephew Nikau (Kawakawa Fox-Reo) – who is stranded in the countryside after trying to hitch out of the Bay – a concerned Dean offered to drive her.
On their way home with Nikau, a kangaroo jumped in the road, causing the car to swerve and flip down a steep slope.
“We filmed in a town called Yass, which is in the countryside, a bit to the south west of Sydney,” explained Patrick.
“The crew set up what was pretty much an air cannon that they put behind the back of Dean’s car and then aimed it off a cliff.
“I think the cannon pushed the car up to 50 kph. It ripped the whole back of the car off and it flipped down into a valley.”
In the dramatic scenes, Nikau is thrown clear of the car, but Dean and Mia are trapped inside, hanging by their seatbelts.
“The cliff edge was CGI but it was pretty wild filming it because we probably spent three or four days completely sideways!” Patrick commented.
“It was very strange when you get out of the car after being like that for eight hours.
“I had it pretty easy because I was in the driver’s seat and the car landed on its right side so I was leaning on my door, but Anna [Samson] was held up by a seatbelt which would have been so painful.
“But those away shoots where we get out of Summer Bay are the best! It’s good to change it up every now and again.”
Encountering a kangaroo seems a bit unusual to UK viewers, but Patrick explained that they're a big danger to drivers on Australian roads!
“If you’re driving out to the small Australian towns at night or early morning, you’ve got to be really careful because kangaroos are just hopping everywhere!
“When I was a kid, I did a road trip around Australia with my family. We were in the Northern Territory – which is the middle and North of Australia – and a kangaroo hit the back of our car.
“I was only a kid but it sounded like we were hit by something really big. Until you go to a zoo or see some kangaroos in the outback you don’t realise, but they are huge!"
The crash scenes also see the introduction of new paramedic, Logan Bennett played by former Neighbours' star Harley Bonner,
“I hadn’t met Harley before the away shoot,” reveals Patrick.
“We got to know each other pretty quick - it’s like a fast track in friendship! I suppose in a way these shoots, they either bring you closer or they break you!”
In a critical condition, Dean is rushed to hospital, prompting his ex Ziggy Astoni (Sophie Dillman) to realise she still has feelings for him after THAT kiss at Bella Nixon’s (Courtney Miller) recent exhibition.
The couple’s recent romantic entanglement has seen Patrick working closely with Sophie again, who is his real-life girlfriend.
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Cute couple Patrick O'Connor and Sophie Dillman are dating in real life as well as being romantically involved on screen!
“It’s always great working with Sophie and we’re very lucky because usually when our characters are together on screen we get the same timesheets!” he shared.
“We can plan time to go and do things together or go away out of Sydney which can be handy.
“But also it’s nice to work with other actors sometimes. Obviously while we love spending a lot of time with each other it’s good to mix it up!”
Could Dean’s battle to survive mean a more permanent on screen reunion for Dean and Ziggy?
“The car crash might shake things up...” he teased.
Home and Away airs weekdays at 1:15pm/6:00pm on Channel 5.
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Rachel is a soaps and TV writer for (opens in new tab)WhatToWatch (opens in new tab).com, soaps podcaster and resident soap expert for UK TV listings magazines What's On TV and TV Times. After graduating with an art and design degree from Birmingham City University, she found her true calling in all things soap and has been writing about them for magazines and websites for over 20 years. A self-confessed soap addict, she's always had a great love of all the UK and Aussie soaps and owns everything from a Neighbours 1990 Annual to a DVD box set of classic Corrie episodes to prove it.
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