TEN QUESTIONS: Robin Vidgeon BSC FBKSTS & LFA Tutor talks 'A Touch of Frost'
How did it feel coming to the end of ‘A Touch of Frost’?
Having shot five episodes of 'Frost' – "a new boy on the show" – I was very sad to see the end of a much-watched and loved series. It is 18 years since the first show. Cast has come and gone, but I think under the leadership of Jack Frost, his best cohorts were DS Toolan and Superintendent Mullett. Their chemistry was brilliant and made for very enjoyable viewing.
How many series have you worked on in total?
I did the last five shows.
Why is it a show that you keep on coming back to?
Simple.... The executive producers asked me to take over the series after the sudden tragic death of Peter Jackson BSC [in 2006], who had been on the show from the very beginning. He was a great DoP and was a major part of the happy family that came together on all the shows. For me, to walk on to a 'Frost' set was a joy; it was like being on a film set in the old days, a happy atmosphere all round. I couldn't wait to arrive on set each day and see the crew and start work.
Can you explain a bit about the decision to film three different endings?
It was to keep the audience guessing to the end.
Is it true that you were kept in the dark about which one would actually be shown on TV?
Even though the unit knew it was the end of a TV drama classic, no one new until just before transmission which character would die in the car crash at the church.
Where was this finale of ‘Frost’ shot?
Leeds and the surrounding countryside. Yorkshire is a cameraman's dream to film.
Are you working on any other projects for ITV in the future?
Who knows? ITV is struggling financially as far as drama goes, but there is talk I might do something later in the year for the 2 Davids, David Jason and [producer] David Reynolds.
What are the differences between working on a popular drama series and a movie set?
Except for budget sizes, none at all. A cinematographer does the same on a film set, whether it be a £20 million show or a low-budget documentary.
Which equipment did you use to film ‘Frost’?
Arri Super 16mm SR3 and Kodak stock.
Nine million viewers tuned in to see this two-parter – how does it make you feel to know that that many people are riveted by something you shot?
I was proud to have shot the final episodes, but I was only a cog in the filmmaking process. One man, David Jason, was the reason that nine million viewers watched, and were entertained by a top-quality TV drama, but the entire team behind the show made it, as always, one of the top programmes on ITV.
Robin Vidgeon on the set of 'Frost'