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Camera, action: One Lane Bridge actors Dominic Ona-Ariki, left, and Joel Tobeck with crew filming on the Queenstown lakefront last month. PICTURE: GREAT SOUTHERN TV/JACKIE GAY

By PHILIP CHANDLER

Downtown Queenstown’s set to feature more in the second series of TV crime thriller One Lane Bridge, which wrapped up two months’ shooting yesterdat.

‘‘Whilst I’m never going to be grateful for Covid, and nobody in Queenstown will be, either, the lower visitor numbers have made some things possible I can’t really picture we would have been able to do very easily when Queenstown is in peak season,’’ co-producer Lisa Chatfield says.

While the plot for the first series, which aired on TVNZ 1 last April/May, had a high country
focus, ‘‘series two is much more about a clash between an eco-activist group who are wanting to protect a river, and a development that wants to be able to access the water in the river’’.

‘‘And that’s partly what brings us much more into town.’’

One day last month involved shooting protest scenes on the waterfront including smoke bombs and someone abseiling down Eichardt’s.

‘‘I was hoping the day would be really hot and summery-looking but, no, it was a puffer jacket day,’’ Chatfield says.

However, despite some high winds on the ‘one lane bridge’, over Glenorchy’s Dart River, ‘‘we’ve been super-lucky with the weather’’.

Third series in the works: One Lane Bridge co-producer Lisa Chatfield

Recent filming at a Man Street house that, as in series one, serves as a police station was challenging due to roadworks.

‘‘We brought a bunch of sound-baffling blankets down from Christchurch, but in fairness the roadworking people have been amazing, and the noise hasn’t been as bad as we  feared.’’

Chatfield says they were delighted they could employ so many locals as extras.

‘‘We’ve had a couple of days where, between the crew and the extras, we’ve had up to 120-130 people on set.’’

It was estimated beforehand half the budget of up to $8 million would be spent locally.

‘‘We’re really looking forward to getting into the edit suite and cutting it.

‘‘The performances are great, the story’s really exciting and the scenery is beautiful.’’

Chatfield expects the series — again produced by Queenstown-based Great Southern Television — will air before the end of winter.

She confirms development work’s underway for a third series but doesn’t expect any funding green light for three to five months.

NZ On Air’s been a major funder to date.

scoop@scene.co.nz