Survivors Series Two: Zoe Tapper is Dr Anya Raczynski

Anya finds herself trapped in the rubble with Al in the opening episode of the series as Tom races to rescue her.

As the series develops, Anya and Tom’s mutual attraction becomes an increasing dilemma for her – can she reconcile her feelings for him with her sexuality? And, if so, can she open and up and trust a man whose cold menace and hidden past frighten her?

What does your character get up to in the new series?

“My character is integral at the start of this new series. The first series ended with Greg (Paterson Joseph) being shot and Abby (Julie Graham) being taken away.

“Anya is the only one qualified to deal with Greg’s wound. She has to step up to the challenge, despite being scared herself, and what’s lovely about that is you start to see her in a more focused, stronger, more confident role which carries on throughout the new series.”

How easy or difficult was it to make the surgery on Greg look authentic?

“It was a real challenge, obviously we wanted to make sure it looked authentic and I was performing the operation as if I was an experienced doctor. There are no doctors in my family, and I think I would make a terrible doctor because I am so squeamish!

“We had this brilliant guy on set named Andrew Day, who is a real surgeon, to show me how to hold the equipment and sew up a wound. He was a real source of inspiration because he calmed me down, and helped me to relax so I felt more in control of the situation.

“The atmosphere during the filming of those scenes was fantastic and really electric; it actually felt like I was doing an operation! The prosthetics they used to create Greg’s chest wound was fantastic, it was oozing blood and the shrapnel was imbedded beneath the prosthetic skin which meant I could really have a good search around inside which added to the authenticity and tension of the storyline.”

Tell me about the explosive first episode and being buried beneath a mountain of rubble, dust and debris.

“In order to perform an operation on Greg to save his life, Anya needs the right equipment. She remembers a training hospital close by so she heads off there accompanied by Tom (Max Beesley) and Al (Phillip Rhys). When they arrive at the location the hospital is on fire but they decide to enter the building anyway. It quickly becomes a very dangerous situation as the building begins to collapse. Anya and Al are trapped inside beneath the rubble.

“The production built this set around us in this tiny area beneath an enormous pile of rubble in this dank basement which was uncomfortable but very realistic. From an actor’s point of view it was great because it set the scene, and the atmosphere was charged with a sense of claustrophobia and suffocation. The props guys also dropped dust, grit and water through the cracks on top of us.

“There was one particular instance when I had just been put into the rubble, trapped inside this narrow hole, on my back with my eyes closed; as the cameras turned over a heavy concrete prop suddenly fell about an inch away from my face and I let out this scream and began to panic a bit which fitted in with what was required! I hope they actually use that in the final edit of the film.”

How would you describe the new series?

“The new series is much darker than it was last year. In the first series the producers wanted the audience to perceive this little glimmer of hope at the end of each episode but, for series two, the writers have been a bit more daring this time, and it’s much more high impact. There’s more emotion, more romance and action. Everything has been heightened which makes for a really exciting, action adventure.”

Is there a romantic entanglement with Tom (Max Beesley) this series?

“The relationship between Tom and Anya is complex. It established itself in series one when she saved his life and he’s never forgotten that, and he develops an obsession with her. She doesn’t really understand it, but she’s aware there’s an intensity and passion between them. He personifies everything that she is not: he is violent, volatile and unpredictable but there is something between them and they do get closer!”

What did the cast get up to during breaks in filming to help you relax?

“We would go to the cinema and out for a drink to go over our lines for the next day sometimes. We just chilled out really because the schedule is pretty punishing. This is our second year together and we do kind of love each other and enjoy each other’s company which really helps.”

What are up to next?

“I am relaxing and enjoying my new house which I moved into recently and have been doing up.

“I have also just completed work on an independent film, The Baseline, with a producer friend of mine, Freddie Connor, who I went to drama school with. It’s about gang culture in London and also stars Jamie Foreman and Dexter Fletcher. It’s pretty hardcore and very violent – not something you would take your grandma to see!”

About the author

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