Entertainment

Inside the terrifying world of real-life bomb disposal officers that inspired Vicky McClure’s new TV series Trigger Point

HAPPY takes a breath, Lucy Lewis scares the crew as she walks towards the bomb – knowing one wrong move would be the difference between life and death.

She has a few seconds to locate the large explosive, melt it, and save everyone in the nearby area.

Vicky McClure plays a troubled Afghanistan veteran - doing the same job as Lucy - in the new ITV blockbuster Trigger Point

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Vicky McClure plays a troubled Afghanistan veteran – doing the same job as Lucy – in the new ITV blockbuster Trigger PointCredit: ITV
Lucy Lewis becomes the first British woman to work as a bomb disposal expert

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Lucy Lewis becomes the first British woman to work as a bomb disposal expertCredit: Future Publishing

In the process, she became the first British woman to work as a bomb disposal specialist.

At 9pm tomorrow, audiences will see Vicky McClure play Afghanistan veteran Lana Washington – doing the same job as Lucy – in Jed Mercurio’s new ITV blockbuster Trigger Point.

Lucy is one of the bomb disposal officers – known as “expos” in London’s Met police, which specializes in explosives disposal in the capital – the Mercurio producer has worked on for the show.

And today, she reveals the heavy work pressures and startling similarities between her life and Vicky’s character Lana.

Speaking exclusively to The Sun, Lucy said: “In my first job, I remember the thrill of ‘hiking’ to the bombing and thinking, ‘This could be it. No adrenaline rush like it.

“As a bomb disposal officer, you have to think like a bomber. You must always be one step ahead.

“These bombs are complicated things now.

“They’ll have ropes that can fool you twice, ropes that are weight sensitive so they’ll kill a heavier man, not his wife.

“The stakes are so high. There’s no other job like it.”

The hotly-anticipated six-part series Trigger Point – Mercurio’s first since last year’s Line Of Duty – will follow up on the Lana show.

Vicky co-stars Adrian Lester as her colleague Joel Nutkins.

Mercurio said he hopes the film will attract more female bomb disposal experts.

Army Major Lucy said the woman was perfect for the role.

“Women can be more organized and calm,” she explains. There are some great men who do it but women are equally capable. “

But Lucy, 58, who served in the army from 1989 to 1997, revealed how difficult it was for her to break through the ranks.

In my first job, I recall the thrill of ‘hiking’ to the bomb and thinking, ‘Maybe it is. ‘There’s no adrenaline rush like it.

Lucy Lewis

“As women, we have the feeling that we are being set up to fail,” she said.

“Obstacles are for taller men and even that matters is that the Browning 9mm pistol is designed for big-handed men.”

After months of grueling training, Lucy and other soon-to-be officers are called to a meeting to find out what role they would take with the Army if they passed.

She was asked if she was stable – before being assigned as a bomb disposal officer in the 33rd EOD Engineer Regiment.

Lucy said: “I know if I do it wrong it will make it harder for any woman trying to be a bomb disposal officer in the future.”

She went on to receive further specialized training, where she and other recruits were taught how to stay calm in even the most terrifying circumstances.

Lucy said: “We were thrown in the boat, ‘explosives’ were thrown at us, people were shouting at us, it was getting dark.

“We are made to sprint then are expected to stay calm and detonate a bomb. It’s exciting. ”

Vicky stars alongside Adrian Lester as her colleague Joel Nutkins in the hot-anticipated six-part series Trigger Point

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Vicky stars alongside Adrian Lester as her colleague Joel Nutkins in the hot-anticipated six-part series Trigger PointCredit: ITV

Her career puts all of her training into practice – and more.

“I can defuse any type of bomb and am a battlefield expert in chemical weapons and how to locate buried mines,” she said.

“I can also erase improvised explosive devices (IEDs), terrorist bombs, by thinking like the bomber, ‘What do I want the victim to touch? Where will they stand How can I get them out? ‘

“It’s like a game of chess, how can I stay two steps ahead of the bomber?”

When Lucy got her first official call – clearing 18 40ft World War II unexploded mines at an airfield in Hampshire – her heart skipped a beat.

“The explosion risk was so high that six miles of nearby M27 were closed, trains diverted and 14 homes evacuated,” she said.

“Things go through my head like, ‘What if this happens?’ I also know that this is the first time a woman has done this, which is very groundbreaking.

“I miss the long walk. I was very stressed. But when I defused the bomb, I felt as excited as nothing else. I am proud that that moment has led the way for other women.”

Bomb disposal officers are a target for terrorists, so I would change my daily commute, anything to break a predictable pattern. And I always check under my car.

Lucy Lewis

Her career is full of moments – and one calling for unexploded bombs in Shoeburyness, Essex, was almost a spell disaster after she caused a small explosion and bounced back.

Lucy said: “I counted down – ‘five, four, three, two one’ – over and over and nothing happened.

“We were at a long distance. I looked through the binoculars hoping to see a small plume of smoke, but instead I saw this huge smoke building.

“My heart sank. I closed my mouth, my mouth was open.

“The explosion would have blown my filling and tooth if I hadn’t. I was wrong.

“It shows that even if you’ve done these hundreds of things before, it can always come back to bite you.”

In the summer of 1990, the Gulf War began. The IRA is also plotting more and more attacks.

“I’m constantly reminded that we can never escape the deadly side of work,” Lucy said.

“During the Falklands War, the casualty rate for bomb disposal officers was 100%.

“My attitude is one of blind denial: It won’t happen to me. I joke to myself that if the worst happens, death will be immediate and painless.

“Bomb disposal officers are also a high-value target for terrorists. I have put in place safety measures, such as changing the way I go to work every day, changing the time of departure. Anything to break a pattern.

“I checked the undercarriage carefully and always used different routes when I was out and about.”

Everything was going through my head like, ‘What if this happens?’ I also know that this is the first time a woman has done this, which is very groundbreaking.

Lucy Lewis

Lucy then transferred to the British Military Police, where she toured Germany and Northern Ireland.

She served for eight years until 1998 and became a major before retiring to start a family.

But old habits are hard to die. “Because of what happened to my co-worker, I instinctively got too close to the car in front of me so I couldn’t get out and go,” she said.

“When I visit a restaurant or a pub, I still won’t sit with my back to the door. I also open all parcels standing up, as it saves your feet. And do not place it on a flat surface as it deflects the airflow towards your face. “

Viewers tomorrow will see Vicky McClure’s character confronting debilitating flashbacks – and Lucy has recounted how she went through the same thing.

“I still get them, and have trouble sleeping,” she said. The smallest thing can bring me back to an explosion and other people’s wounds.”

She said the death of Lisa Head, the first British female bomb disposal expert to be killed while working in Afghanistan, had a huge impact on her and the bomb disposal community and served as a reminder of the failure. expectations of everyone in this role.

She hopes Mercurio’s TV series stays true to her old profession – but understand that TV doesn’t always nail the head.

Lucy said: “Jed is much better than most at attention to detail. But in the show’s trailer, I saw a lot of countdown timers. You don’t get that luxury in real work.

“I saw Vicky looking under the car with a torch. But you can send a robot to check today. Bombs can be very small and covered with a mud-like substance, so they look like the dirty underside of a car.

“But Vicky seems like a great fit for a strong female role.

“As the first woman to do this work in the UK, I’m so glad it’s her.”

  • Additional reporting by Ben Griffiths.
  • Lighting The Fuse, by Lucy Lewis, (Trapeze) now out, £18.99 in hardcover.
Lucy said:'I'm constantly reminded that we can never escape the deadly side of work'

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Lucy said: ‘I’m constantly reminded that we can never escape the deadly side of work’
ITV drama Trigger Point - Jed Mercurio's first since last year's Line of Duty - will follow up on exhibit Lana, played by Vicky McClure

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ITV drama Trigger Point – Jed Mercurio’s first since last year’s Line of Duty – will follow up on exhibit Lana, played by Vicky McClureCredit: ITV
Trigger Point Trailer: Vicky McClure Returns In New ITV Counter Terror Drama Appears In Met Police Bomb Squad

https://www.thesun.ie/tv/8245948/trigger-point-itv-bomb-disposal-officers/ Inside the terrifying world of real-life bomb disposal officers that inspired Vicky McClure’s new TV series Trigger Point

Fry Electronics Team

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