"I was a Lip Service extra"
With the second series set to air this Friday, Eleanor Capaldi recounts her brief moment in the lesbian limelight
BBC3 / Lip Service
One weekend in May last year I got a call. 'The second series of Lip Service is currently filming,' said the voice on the line. 'Would you like to go on set today?'
'Today?!' I spluttered, in disbelief. I gathered myself and tried to sound cool about it. 'Yeah, sure...'
Flyers advertising for extras had been left across gay establishments in Glasgow in the previous months, in an attempt to attract more 'real-life-looking lesbians' into the show, perhaps. Wanting to be part of the experience, and considering myself a fair example of the genuine article, I called. A few forms and a positive answer to the 'Would you be willing to kiss a girl on camera' question later, I was on the list.
Almost as quickly as I arrived on set there was a confidentiality agreement to sign. 'What happens on Lip Service, stays on Lip Service,' the production assistant told me, looking strict. While detracting from the prospect of giggling with friends over a drink afterwards, the secrecy added something to the allure. Gossip would have to wait, Lip Service rules came first.
Then, it was showtime. As Ruta Gedmintas (Frankie) sauntered into shot behind me I had to try and contain the urge to casually glance over my shoulder. Meanwhile, Heather Peace (Sam) was delivering a more measured performance in front.
There was location-change in the air. Whispers had gone round set earlier in the day: 'Where are we going?' 'Are we going to ------------?' (See? The secrecy clause is still in place.) The flutter of excitement was palpable. Soon we were ushered onto a fleet of mini-buses. Upon arrival we found ourselves in a leafier part of the city.
Heather Peace rehearsed a scene in which she whips out her police badge (calm down). There followed two hours of being eaten by midges and horse-flies, their bigger, meaner cousins, and trying not to be entirely in the shadow of a very tall actor. For the lucky extras, there was a cuppa and a Penguin biscuit on offer just prior to the end of filming. Everything's on a budget these days.
The next day we were filming at a Georgian-style house in the city's West End. Here, I was practically tripping over the likes of Jay, Tess, Judy and Heather. Except that wouldn't have been the best idea as I had to walk past them all and not trip up. Suddenly walking in a straight line becomes a task. After my first take, Heather winked at me. She understood the pressure.
Many of the crew members wore sweatshirts adorned with the infamous phrase uttered by Cat's mum Judy in series one: 'We're all a little bit gay, dear.' Later, after filming had finished, Phyllis Logan told me I had swished 'elegantly' through shot. Oh my! I may only have had to walk a few steps, but at least I managed it in said fashion. Later I giddily recounted the compliment to my mum, who was beside herself at the thought.
What happened on set only stays secret til this Friday 20 April, 9pm. Then you can see for yourselves. As for me, blink and you might miss my moment in the Lip Service limelight. However, I'll be keeping an eye out for my scene-stealing sashay around episode three... Hello mum!
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