[N]ick Tilsley is struggling to get out of the quicksand. The only thing between him and certain death is a phone call to the Coastguard.
Step forward Steve Macdonald to make that 999 call while Peter Barlow keeps talking to Nick in a bid to prevent him from giving in and going under.
It was a dramatic moment from ITV’s Coronation Street and it was thanks to HM Coastguard that the rescue scenes had a realistic edge to them. Months before the scene was shown on television, Danny Jamson, a senior coastal operations officer had been working with Coronation Street’s producers to find an ideal place to portray the story.
Danny said: “I was working closely with the scriptwriters to produce a factually accurate version of the incident including someone calling 999 and asking for the Coastguard.
“We knew that there would be some camera trickery needed as we couldn’t risk Ben Price – who is the actor playing Nick Tilsley – getting caught for real. The best place for the rescue to take place was going to be New Barns, Arnside in Cumbria.”
Danny and fellow senior coastal operations officer Adam Bradbury worked together with CRTs from Knott End, Arnside and Furness. As well as providing the rescuers onscreen, there were also Coastguard rescue officers standing by to act as safety cover.
It was an eye-opening few days of filming up at Arnside as the TV crew worked hard within the restrictions of the tidal times and the elements to film the scenes of Nick getting stuck.
Danny said: “It was hard work getting the scenes just right. But it was a good opportunity for us both to showcase the work of HM Coastguard on primetime television and to put in some ‘live’ training.”
The scenes were shot in April but finally shown at the end of May. Adam admits the hardest thing was keeping quiet about the storyline.
“People knew we’d been involved because of the media coverage,” he said. “And some of my friends were pushing me to tell me whether Nick survived or not. I didn’t crack.”
After the episode aired, Danny and Adam visited Coronation Street studios to handover a HM Coastguard plaque to three of the Coronation Street actors – Chris Gasgoyne, Jane Danson and Georgia Taylor.
Danny said: “It was amazing to be there and walk down those famous cobbles and visit the Rovers Return. The crew was so friendly and welcoming and above all, were really supportive of HM Coastguard and all that we do. We’re very grateful to them for giving us the opportunity to show how we work to keep people safe at the coast.”