Published: 08:13, 11 December 2020
| Updated: 10:59, 11 December 2020
The Sheppey Way and Kingsferry Bridge on the Isle of Sheppey will be closed again this weekend as a film company returns to finish shooting.
Production company Snowed In created its own real-life drama last month after stranding a number of cyclists when it closed the road to film scenes for the new ITV thriller Too Close starring Emily Watson.
After working in Sittingbourne, Sheerness dad Sobhy Ghareb was forced to ride home over the Sheppey Crossing, against the law, at night and in heavy wind because staff wouldn't allow him over the Kingsferry Bridge.
He said at the time: “I thought I was going to die.”
The film crew, which was supposed to have allowed pedestrians and cyclists to continue using the bridge, was rapped over the knuckles by the Kent Film Office and had to apologise.
The same crew is returning this weekend from 7am tomorrow (Saturday) to noon on Sunday. The Kingsferry Bridge will be kept in the 'up' position between 1.30am and 6am to film a stunt. It had been hoped to complete filming last month but work was delayed because of bad weather.
Location manager Matthew Lane promised: "This time while the bridge is up there will be a mini-bus at either side to assist anyone needing to get across.
"Snowed In has addressed the problems from the previous weekend shoot where a number of people were not able to get across Kingsferry Bridge due to the filming and equipment."
He said producers had been in touch with those affected last time to apologise and added: "We have also been in constant talk with the councillors and the Film Office to make sure that everything is in place for our return visit and that all concerned are happy to grant permission for Snowed In to continue with filming to take place on this date."
Most motorists will be diverted across the Sheppey Crossing but some categories such as pedestrians, cyclists and moped riders are banned from using that route. The Kingsferry Bridge links the Isle of Sheppey to the mainland and carries Southeastern trains. Replacement buses may be running between Sittingbourne and Sheerness.
Dad-of-two Mr Ghareb, 28, from Marine Parade, Sheerness, had tried to get home from his car wash job in Sittingbourne. On the first night he returned to the Asda supermarket and spent the night shivering on the floor of an unheated portable office. The second night, determined to see his wife Gemma and sons Hakeen, three, and Rida, two, he took the gamble of riding over the Sheppey Crossing.
He recalled: “I thought I was going to die. Cars kept beeping at me as they sped past. It was terrifying.”
Swale Cllr Cameron Beart (Con, Queenborough and Halfway) said at the time: “Clearly over the weekend the correct procedures were not followed by the production company and they did not adhere to the closure agreements they made with Kent County Council."
Actress Emily Watson was recently on screen in The Third Day and is known for her work in the Sky drama Chernobyl, BBC1’s Apple Tree Yard and the Bafta-winning drama Appropriate Adult for ITV. She co-stars with Denise Gough.
Too Close is a three-part psychological thriller about the "compelling and dangerous relationship" between forensic psychiatrist Dr Emma Robertson (Emily Watson) and Connie Mortensen (Denise Gough) who has been accused of a "heinous crime" but claims she can’t remember a thing. It is based on a novel by Clara Salaman.
The programme is being filmed on a "closed set" because of coronavirus restrictions in the film industry so no visitors are allowed.
There is regular Covid-testing of cast and crew and temperature checking before filming. Social distancing is adhered to by crew members and the actors and production teams will observe closed cohort guidelines which limits contact with other individuals. Covid supervisors have been employed on set to ensure health and safety protocols are adhered to.
Camera and sound equipment must be fully sanitised at the end of each filming day and make-up will be applied by technicians wearing full PPE.
Hand sanitisation facilities will be installed for frequent hand-washing and crews will wear masks throughout filming.
Snowed-In Productions was founded in 2014 to work alongside Brontë Film and Television on non J.K. Rowling projects.
A source said: "The Kingsferry Bridge was selected for the stunt because despite its challenges it was the best option to film on compared to what the options were in London."