Crossfire, BBC drama from Dancing Ledge Productions and Spanish broadcaster TVE, was created by Louise Doughty who also acted as executive producer.
Can you tell us a bit about your writing background?
Well, this is my first drama for television, it’s very exciting. I’m actually a novelist and I’ve published nine novels. The most well-known of which is Apple Tree Yard, my 7th book, which was adapted for television by Amanda Coe for BBC One in January 2017 and that’s how I got introduced to the wonderful world of television.
Can you give us an overview of what the story Crossfire is about and what inspired it?
Well, I got the idea for Crossfire when I was on holiday with my family in Tenerife. I love the Canary Islands, I’ve been many, many times as it’s one of our favourite holiday spots. I was lying on a sun lounger one day in a hotel complex; my family were scattered around the complex. I had one child was in the pool and one had wandered off somewhere and I couldn’t help thinking what if some sort of gun attack happened on the resort at this particular moment. I thought ‘What would I do?’
Of course we would all like to think we would behave heroically; the truth is not all of us would. Which child would I go for? They were both separated. Would I help the people around me; would I only save myself? How would I actually behave? That was the idea for Crossfire. I wanted to write about an ordinary group of people; ordinary holidaymakers from Britain, in a resort hotel like this when such an attack occurs. I wanted to write about the human choices that we all make under pressure and of course the consequences of those decisions that reverberate for years to come.
Can you talk about some of the characters we will see in Crossfire?
I was very keen to create a whole cast of characters, all of whom make the different sorts of choices that are available in such an instant. Because the truth is, none of us know how we would behave when we’re acting impulsively, when we are in fear for our lives and in fear for our children’s lives. Everybody wants to believe they would behave heroically and the truth is, very few of us are in an emergency situation. I know that I’m not and I have been tested in such a situation.
So, I decided I would have three families. There is our main character Jo Cross who is there with her teenage daughter from her first marriage, her husband and the two children from that marriage. Her husband Jason’s best friend from school, Chinar and his wife Abhi and their three children. Then there is a childless couple, Ben and Miriam. At the point where the attack occurs, all three of these family units are spread across the complex. Crucially they are all separated from their own family members. So, each of the cast have to make their own individual choice. It’s not giving anything away to say that some behave more heroically than others and some characters who do act more heroically are perhaps the characters that you wouldn’t necessarily expect to behave that way. Some are able to think things through calmly and others behave very impulsively.I’m really hoping that everybody sitting at home on their sofa when they watch this series will be forced to think: what choice would I make and would I be capable of choice or would I behave entirely on impulse? My absolute aim for this is that after watching it, somebody brushing their teeth in the mirror that night will pause with the toothbrush lifted and look in the mirror and think ‘What would I do if that happened to me?
Violence is present in the narrative but not the main focus, why is this important?
It was really important for me to set such a horrible, traumatic and violent incident within the context of ordinary people’s ordinary lives because the truth is – things as horrific as this do happen to ordinary people. They happen to people who go home afterwards and do the school run or queue in the supermarket or go to the pub with their friends and I wanted to really explore that. I think it’s really tempting to not to take on board that victims that actually people just like anybody else that have to go back to being people just like anybody else even after this appalling thing has happened. I think after something like this, it must be very hard to return to ‘normal life’. To know how quickly the story moves on for everybody else, how quickly everybody else forgets about what happens to you, and certainly how quickly the news headlines move on. Of course, for people who have been through something like this, it doesn’t fade quickly, it’s a life-changing event. That’s what I really wanted to explore.
What aspects of the story do you think audiences will relate to?
I hope that what people watching relate to is the sense that this event happened during the course of something that for many people is very ordinary and often a treat. Many people have been on holiday to resorts such as these. There’s a sense that when you are on holiday you let your hair down because you’re being pampered a bit. Somebody else is making your bed, somebody else is cleaning your shower, somebody else is laying out food and your children can help themselves from the buffet. Quite often you’re in your swimwear. It’s not often we walk around in our underwear, certainly not in the UK! On holiday you relax, you lie by a pool. So for something to happen at a time when you are so unguarded, I think it must be so horrific. I think people at home will be able to relate that at your most relaxed, at your most unguarded and this thing strikes and how would I behave if it happened to me?
How would you describe Crossfire in one sentence?
Crossfire is a drama about ordinary people caught up in an extraordinary situation and how they behave.
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