Keeley Hawes reveals Finding Alice filming nightmare

Finding Alice's Keeley Hawes has opened up about the impact of Covid-19 on filming

LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 12: Keeley Hawes attends the "Summer Of Rockets" preview during the BFI & Radio Times Television Festival 2019 at BFI Southbank on April 12, 2019 in London, England
(Image credit: John Phillips/Stringer/Getty)

Keeley Hawes has opened up about the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on Finding Alice's filming. 

Production on the comedy-drama, which will kick off its pilot episode on ITV this Sunday, came to a grinding halt when the government enforced a national first lockdown last March. 

The show, which was shot at various sites in London and Surrey, sought to explore the complexities of sudden death and grief through the perspective of grieving wife, Alice. But just two months into filming, fears began to grow that Finding Alice might never make it to our screens. 

Hawes, who plays the newly-widowed Alice, has spoken candidly to the Daily Star about how the pandemic disrupted the show. 

“There was a very strange atmosphere by then,” the 44-year-old actress recalled. “No one was on the roads. People were scared.” 

When restrictions were eased in May, the cast and crew knew they would have to take extra precautions. 

“Long before people were talking about them, we were all in a bubble,” Hawes revealed. “We stayed safe, no one was going out. We were just coming to work and going back home again."

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As executive producer, Hawes was particularly concerned about the show’s production. “Having Covid – the dreaded Covid – thrown into the middle of the development process was a huge learning curve,” she told the Metro UK. 

While some TV shows decided to weave the pandemic into their narrative, Finding Alice had no plans to uproot its original plot. 

"We couldn't introduce Covid into the story because we were so far into filming,” Hawes explained. “And nor would we want to, really."

By adhering to rigid social distancing practices, Finding Alice managed to wrap up filming last autumn. Hawes reassured fans of the show’s future with a Twitter post in October, praising her colleagues for their commitment to the project. 

“So grateful to be working with such amazing people – everyone is working so hard to keep each other safe on set and beyond…Happy Friday!” she wrote, alongside a teaser photo of her character donning a veil and wedding dress. 

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The six-part series promises to give viewers an ‘authentic’ portrayal of death, by documenting the strangeness of the mourning process. Hawes has revealed her hopes that others will relate to the show’s brutal honesty and derive comfort from her character’s experience of grief. 

The reception of the show remains to be seen, but if its trailer is anything to go by, it looks like the hard work to stay safe on Finding Alice has finally paid off.