The Rig interview: Cast reveal how supernatural thriller was made and talk death-defying stunts - exclusive

Speaking to BT TV, Martin Compston, Emily Hampshire, Iain Glen and Rochenda Sandall reveal all about the making of The Rig in Scotland - and how Compston was set on fire!

By Sophia Moir Updated: 9 January 2023 - 12.01pm

Hit Play above to watch our exclusive video interview with the cast of The Rig

Take the thrilling, offshore drama of Vigil and add the supernatural element of Stranger Things and you’ve got something akin to The Rig, streaming now on Prime Video.

The epic, six-part series follows a crew aboard an oil rig, stationed off the Scottish coast in the dangerous waters of the North Sea.

But when they are due to return to the mainland, a mysterious and all-enveloping fog causes tremors on the rig - and cuts all their communication with the outside world.

The Rig boasts a cast including native Scots Martin Compston (Line of Duty), Iain Glen (Game of Thrones), and Mark Bonnar (Unforgotten), as well as Doctor Who’s Rochenda Sandall and Canadian actress Emily Hampshire (Schitt’s Creek).

The Amazon Original series was filmed at FirstStage Studios in Leith, Edinburgh, in the spring of 2021, with some offshore scenes shot in the nearby Port of Leith by drone cameras.

Speaking exclusively to BT TV, Compston, who plays Communications Officer Fulmer Hamilton, told us that he performed some of his own stunts on set - including one where he was actually set on fire.

Read more: The Rig cast talk mini Line of Duty reunion on set

Prime Video

“I got set on fire! That was a really interesting day,” Compston recalled. 

“Stunt people are incredible, they’re there to protect us, but when it’s big stunts, as soon as you cut to that wide shot, you go ‘oh, it’s not the actor anymore’. 

“And I think you lose a bit of that jeopardy, because they’re not going through it. So I think it adds something. It went a little bit awry. It was toasty. 

“We do a lot of sitting on our arses talking. So it’s nice to get up and about. I’m sporty and adventurous. When else can you get legally set on fire? I don’t get that opportunity much.”

Emily Hampshire added of her co-star’s death-defying stunt: “When people watch this [show], watch that moment, because Martin was set on fire, and they had to put it out!”

Cast member Iain Glen - who plays crew leader Magnus MacMillan, below - was also involved in a scary stunt, as he fell off a crane. He had a lucky escape as crew insisted he wear a harness.

Prime Video

He told us: “One [stunt] where it went disastrously wrong was when there was a crane arm, which was quite high off the ground. 

“I was like ‘I don’t need a harness, there’s padding there, I’ll be fine, I won’t fall off’.

"Eventually they forced me into it, and in the first take, I ran out to help Martin [Compston], who was in the scene, and I managed to topple off it, and I was left dangling from quite a height. 

“They were all gasping, because if I hadn't been wearing it, that could have been me with a broken limb or two, so I learnt my lesson.”

Compston agreed: “Iain did fall off [the crane]. I was facing the other way, and he was supposed to be above me, and then he was swinging below me! 

“I just had Iain stumble, go ‘oh f*ck!’ and then he was gone.”

Schitt’s Creek star Emily Hampshire, who was one of the few non-Scots on the set, plays Rose Mason - the scientist and oil company rep on-board the rig, below. 

The Canadian actress struggled to understand some of her castmates’ thick Scottish accents during filming - with the compulsory Covid-19 face masks not helping matters.

Prime Video

She told us: “For me, it was my first time in Scotland, I was the only American/Canadian in the cast, and crew, and so I didn’t understand anyone. 

“We were also shooting during the height of Covid. A lot of things weren’t open. We really bonded. What I loved about Scotland was the people.”

She says she learnt a lot about oil rigs by working on the series, especially from a geology expert who was advising her throughout.

“I knew nothing about rigs,” she confessed. “I kept calling it a ship. It’s not part of our industry in Canada and America. 

“I had a geologist helping me. She made me fall in love with the earth and what you can find out by digging into the earth. I actually stole some rocks!”

The Rig is streaming now on Prime Video.