The Sunday Post (Inverness)

Alexandra is going to miss those frosty receptions on Svalbard

- By Bill Gibb

star Alexandra Moen says the hardy production crew were the heroes of the final series as they battled deadly conditions. Alexandra plays Norwegian pathologis­t and police officer Petra Bergen in the show which has just returned for a third and final series on Sky Atlantic.

Usually filming has been done in Iceland and London, but this last batch of episodes was filmed in the real location, the Norwegian Arctic island of Svalbard.

“It was extremely tough,” Alexandra told in10. “We were working in temperatur­es of minus 30 degrees some days.

“The actors had more of a bitty experience of it but the crew were out there for 12 hours a day. “We couldn’t see them at all. They didn’t have a single bit of their skin exposed.

“The whole time they were out there they had full face masks and goggles.”

But Alexandra says the cast had to be carefully looked after at all times, too. “We had a safety expert, an explorer who had spent a lot of time in extreme conditions, give us a lecture before we went out and then he’d stick with us all day, every day. “It was actually frostburn, not frostbite that was the main concern.

“We struggled with our guns. We had to wear under-gloves, which was the first time you had seen the characters wear that as it hadn’t been as cold in Iceland.

“And we all looked a lot colder – that’s not make-up you see, we were just red. “It’s the most challengin­g set I’ve worked on by a long way.”

The psychologi­cal thriller, also starring Games Of Thrones’ Richard Dormer and Sienna Guillory, and featuring a series of mysterious deaths on the isolated island, has kept viewers guessing from the first episode. And Alexandra says this shorter four-part series is intended to explain all.

“It is complex, with many elements,” admits Alexandra. “There’s the science element, the spiritual element that came into series two and now this third series which really combines the two. “You finally find out why everything has been happening and why everybody is in this heightened state.”

Alexandra in Doctor Who, with The Master, John Simm and, right, in Hotel Babylon. Alexandra formed a real bond with Mia Jexen, who plays fellow police officer, Ingrid Witrey, and the pair remain good friends.

But having spent good chunks of the past three years on the project, Alexandra says she can’t quite believe it has all come to an end.

“Petra is one of my all-time favourite characters,” she reveals. “I loved the fact that I was playing someone who wasn’t English and I’m very sad that I won’t be playing her again this year.

“I feel like it’s going to hit me come January or February which is usually when we start filming the series.” Mum-of-two Alexandra, like all working mums, has to fit in her acting commitment­s and being away for long shoots like Fortitude, with domestic life.

“I am away a lot so I absolutely love being at home with my kids,” says Alexandra.

“This is all they know and you just have to make it work.

“The bonus of being away on a job is that you can also be at home for a while in between jobs and I try and time it well with the school holidays.” Hotel Babylon, Death Comes To Pemberley, Luther and Doctor Who – for which she still gets attention – are just a few of the credits on her CV. And she has already been busy since finishing this last series of Fortitude.

She’s playing Elizabeth of York in The Spanish Princess, a US miniseries about Catherine of Aragon made by Starz, the network behind global smash Outlander.

“I am very proud of that,” adds Alexandra. “I’m sure it will bring me to an American audience.

“The previous series have been a big hit out there and the Americans certainly love historical drama. “I’ve spent a lot of time there in the past, I’ve got great friends and if the right project came along I’d be happy to go there.”

Fortitude, Sky Atlantic and Now TV, Thursday, 9pm.


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