“DON’T lean on the pillar. It’s not real,” warns producer Matthew Bird.
Set visits are often surreal affairs, whether in a studio or out on location.
The mix of reality and make-believe can be striking when you’re standing behind the cameras.
As witnessed yet again back in February when I travelled to Salford to interview the cast of new BBC2 drama Worried About The Boy.
The one-off film – screened this Sunday – tells the story of the young Boy George from school days to Top Of The Pops.
As you can read in today’s MEN TV feature here.
In my humble opinion, it’s a marvellous piece of television – written, filmed and post-produced in a terrifyingly short amount of time.
Which, perhaps, just adds to the freshness and originality of the end product, directed by Julian Jarrold.
Another triumph for Manchester’s Red Production Company, introducing newcomer Douglas Booth as George.
It was absolutely freezing when I visited the production, based for three days in the car park of the Racecourse Hotel.
If you watch the alleyway scene in the drama, where George and Jon Moss (Mathew Horne) are talking, you can just make out the light snow falling in the background.
Which explains why all concerned were glad to get back inside the pub, part of which had been transformed into the Blitz Club, complete with false pillars.
Filled with actors dressed and made-up as New Romantics from the early 1980s.
Quite a sight on the catering bus.
As was Hustle star Marc Warren (Steve Strange), who turned up for our chat wearing a never-to-be-forgotten black wig.
The finished drama, also filmed in Manchester and Liverpool, contains a wonderful cameo appearance by Mark Gatiss as the late Malcolm McLaren.
And Freddie Fox giving a simply delicious performance as Marilyn.
Not forgetting rising teenage star Douglas.
As Mathew – fresh from Gavin and Stacey – told me:
“For a part like George, it’s really important that it’s not a recognisable actor because that would inherently come with some baggage.
“So it was good that they cast somebody who is unfamiliar to the audience.
“He’s really working hard and has this real wide-eyed passion for what he’s doing.
“Rather than the more experienced actors who may be enthused with a bit of cynicism about working on a film set in freezing cold Manchester!”
*Worried About The Boy is on BBC2 at 9pm on Sunday (May 16)
Boy George: What I Thought Of Worried About The Boy
Boy George Official Website (With instant background audio)
Follow Mathew Horne on Twitter