LTiH 2 – Visiting Nicola on set in Manchester, August 2013

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

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The owners of Hoghton Tower twitted earlier in the week that Last Tango in Halifax would be filming there for the week. Since Ruth lives in Manchester, she went to Hoghton Tower on Tuesday in the hope of catching the cast and crew in action. However, when Ruth got there, Nicola and the other cast members were nowhere to be seen. She then overheard one of the producers on the phone to other crew members, asking about Smithills Hall. Since Ruth was going to pass by that location on her way home, she immediately headed over there.

On arrival at Smithills Hall when she was walking along the path on the way to the main house, Ruth ran into Nicola who was on the phone just less than 50 yards away! Right behind Nicola was Derek Jacobi, who was sitting in a chair reading a book. A large number of other cast members was also in the vicinity. They were all dressed in wedding outfits. Ruth stood waiting for Nicola, trying hard not to look creepy or stalker-ish, until Nicola looked up. Ruth gave a smile and a little wave and Nicola smiled back. Whilst Ruth hung around waiting for Nicola to finish her phone call,she chatted with some other members of the public who were wondering which programme was being filmed. Ruth duly explained the situation to them. By the time Ruth had done that, Nicola was off the phone and walking towards her.

Nicola obviously remembered Ruth from previous meetings and seemed really happy to see her.

“Hello! How are you?” said Nicola as she gave Ruth a hug.

“I’m fine. How are you?”

“I’m good. How did you know we were here?”

“Ah, the wonders of the internet.”

Nicola laughed. “I thought it was in the local paper so thats why some people might come down and say hello.”

“Will you be here all week?”


“Some of my friends, who you’ve met before, were hoping to come up later in the week to visit.”

“That would be great. Do that, and we’ll have a cup of tea.”

Nicola then spotted Derek Jacobi reading his book away from everyone. “I have to take his photo because he’s funny – always going off and reading. We all annoy him,” Nicola joked. Then she took a picture of Derek with her iPhone.

“We’ve got a female director now,” Nicola told Ruth as they got back to talking about Last Tango in Halifax. “Euros Lyn [who directed the first three episodes of Series 2] has left and we’re taking him out to dinner tomorrow. Having a female director is different but good. It’s gone really quickly and we’ve only got 5 weeks of filming left. My character, Gillian’s, storyline gets quite dark. I was quite surprised when I read the scripts.”

“It looks like you’re filming the wedding [between Alan and Celia].”

“Yes. Sarah Lancashire looks really smart in her outfit [blue dress with a little silvery/white cardigan] whereas I only get to wear an outfit from Marks and Spencers. I don’t like it. When I was given the outfit, I went, ‘You are joking? Really?’ The dress is flowery and the shoes, which are awful, are pink.”

[Ed : In the photo above, you can just about see Sarah Lancashire in the top right hand corner, in her smart outfit.]

At one point Nicola and Ruth were interrupted by Anne Reid who needed to pass a message to Nicola about their dinner plans for the next evening. She was in her wedding outfit but had a coat over the top and trainers on her feet! The bits which Ruth could see looked ivory and very classic. Anne was nice and said “hi” to Ruth.

Nicola remembered that Ruth had mentioned previously that she is a teacher and so she asked, “how is the job? How long do you have off school?”

“Not long now. For the new academic year, I’ll be teaching a lower year than the year I had been teaching.”

“Don’t worry, change always seemed scary but it’s almost always okay in the end. My son [Harry] preferred Reception. When he first started Year One, he complained, ‘we don’t get to play anymore’.”

A crew member then shouted to Nicola and she said, “I’d be there in a minute.”

“Is there was someone who could take a photo of us?”

Nicola looked around and wondered, “Shall we ask Derek?”

“No, no, he seems to be engrossed in his book.”

“OK, let’s try it ourselves.”

Nicola took the camera and held it out in front of her and asked Ruth, “can you check the screen to see if I’m in the right zone?”

“Yeah, you are.”

“Quick!” Nicola shouted so Ruth got into position and Nicola clicked the camera. Ruth’s camera doesn’t make a shutter sound, so Nicola asked, “has that done it?”

“I think so.”

They checked the camera and Nicola’s reaction was, “see, it’s perfect!” You can judge for yourselves here.

“What time do you think would be best for us to visit on Thursday?”

“Hummed … ahhed, what time is it now?”

“Quarter to Three.”

“Probably the same time. Between half two and three. I’ll meet you here. We get breaks so if I’m here, you could wait and I’d come out to see you.”

Nicola really did have to go then because a crew member was sent to physically escort her back to the set for filming.

“See you on Thursday,” Nicola said and gave Ruth a hug as she left!

Whilst Ruth was there, she also overheard crew members talking about transmission dates for the show. Someone mentioned that the last episode will be aired on Christmas Eve so, assuming that there would be 6 episodes like Series 1, that would mean that the first episode of Series 2 will be aired on Tuesday 19th November 2013!

After Ruth arrived home from the set on Tuesday, she had this exchange of Tweets with Dean Andrews.

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Nicola looks lovely in the above photo, as always. She must have acquired her tan during the short holiday she took, with her family, in Portugal recently after they finished filming the first 3 episodes of Series 2 and everyone was given a short break. Someone had reported on Tumblr a couple of weeks ago that Nicola was sighted at a hotel in Portugal.

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Order the Series 1 (Regions 2 and 4 compatible) DVD from Amazon UK.


Turn the page to find out what happened two days later.

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