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Soap stars in N. Wales potholing horror...; ...but terrifying drama is all part of Hollyoaks plot.

Byline: David Powell

TV soap opera Hollyoaks is reaching new depths in North Wales.

Actors from the popular Chester-based series are in Snowdonia this week to film a dramatic new storyline about a potholing expedition that goes wrong.

Liverpool-based Mersey Television has sent six actors and 45 crew to the Gwydyr Forest, near Trefriw, in the Conwy Valley.

Spokeswoman Susan Wilks said: ``The characters decide to go on a potholing expedition, which goes wrong. The friends are trapped as the water rises. It's a life or death situation, and the tension and suspense will run high when the episodes are transmitted on November 12 to 18.''

The footage features Andy Somerville (Theo), Marcus Patric (Ben), Matt Littler (Max), Darren Jeffries (O.B.), Stefan Booth (Jamie) and Max Brown (new character, Kristian).

North Wales' rugged scenery is a popular location for film and TV makers.

The Hollyoaks cast and crew, who are in the region until tomorrow, arrived the day Angelina Jolie left, having filmed scenes for Lara Croft and the Cradle of Life: Tomb Raider 2 in Snowdonia.

Mersey TV's Location Co-ordinator Catherine Beanfield said: ``This place is the obvious place for the plot but we can't go into details. We like the beautiful scenery here and we've been lucky with the weather.''

The TV company has worked closely with the North Wales Film Commission.

Ms Beanfield said: ``The film commission has been brilliant. They were helping us as they were collecting a producer from Tomb Raider from the airport. They've been fantastic.''

North Wales Film Commission spokesman Carwyn Edwards was delighted to help.

``We are glad that North Wales appeals to television companies. This time it is the Conwy Valley which is getting the attention.''

Forest Enterprise recreation ranger Gareth Jones said: ``The TV company wanted to come and we had the location. Hopefully the economy will benefit and they will stay in local hotels.''

The crew have parked their trailers at a Gwydyr Forest car park, near Llyn Crafnant.

Hollyoaks is usually filmed at busy nightclub The Loft, Hollyoaks Community Centre, Drive `n' Buy convenience store the Deva cafe and the local pub The Dog in the Pond.

It centres on the lives of suburban characters such as the Davieses, Hunters and Cunninghams.

The man behind Hollyoaks soap is Brookside and Grange Hill founder Phil Redmond.

He has made Mersey TV into one of the most respected media organisations in the country and he has ensured local talent has been able to shine.

CAPTION(S):

ON SET: Above, left to right, Max Brown (Kristian), Darren Jeffries (OB) and Marcus Patric (Ben) in Trefriw yesterday. Below, fellow cast member Andy Somerville (Theo)
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Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUW
Date:Sep 26, 2002
Words:443
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