TV

Colin Farrell feared he would die filming new BBC drama The North Water

Colin Farrell feared he was going to die while making new drama The North Water.

The BBC series, which focuses on a whaling expedition, was shot in treacherous conditions in the Arctic, where the temperature plunges to -35 degrees.

And that wasn’t the only worry – there was also the chance of being eaten by a polar bear.

Hollywood star Colin, 45, said: "I did feel death was just around the corner at any given time, that we were one mistake away from someone falling into the Arctic sea and either very quickly getting hypothermia or sinking under the weight of a waterlogged costume.

"There were also polar bears around, that are beautiful and elegant and majestic, but also apex predators!"

The cast and crew spent almost a month shooting in the Arctic for the show, set in 1859.

That meant being cut off from the real world.

Colin, a dad-of-two and star of In Bruges, plays harpooner Henry Drax.

He said: "It was a very profound experience for us all to share. None of us had been up to that part of the world. We were all seeing it with child’s eyes.

"We all went through whatever we went through individually, missing our children, our lovers, our wives or husbands, because we had no communication, no email.

"It’s only three or four weeks, but three or four weeks in a world in which we’re so used to having such accessibility at our fingertips. I found it really hard not to be able to be in contact with my guys."

It is unusual for a TV drama to be filmed in such tough conditions.

But director Andrew Haigh insisted they went all out, so chose the Svalbard archipelago near the North Pole.

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And Colin reckons it was the right decision because the surroundings have helped make the show top tier.

He said: "Andrew was insistent that we went up to Svalbard. Usually they would shoot this film in a tank.

"You might go out on to the Irish Sea, or maybe off the coast of England or Scotland, a little bit towards the North Sea, and you’d do a week or two out there and get grand vistas, but Andrew insisted that we went up there, up to the 82nd parallel.

"The environment did so much, it instantly created a sense of tension and pressure.

"Your body, physiologically, is responding in a way and with an aggression that my body has never responded to the environment with before, because it’s never been in an environment like that.

"Even that, instantly, whether you like it or not, removes you from what is familiar in your reality, my reality," he added.

The North Water starts on Friday at 9.30pm on BBC Two.

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