It’s a damp November night, and in the bowels of an abandoned industrial building somewhere outside Shotts something strange is happening. The gates of hell have opened and demons are stalking Scotland. Clad mostly in black, they’re a ragtag bunch of strange, grubby creatures, shuffling through an eternity of torture that looks suspiciously like the worst office job ever.
But it isn’t Satan who’s condemned these poor souls. They have found themselves imprisoned in the Good Omens-verse – a realm first dreamed up by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman in their 1990 novel, and now about to begin its second series as a TV show.
For decades, Good Omens has been among my favourite comfort books. Set in the Earth as depicted in the Bible, it’s both very funny and a deceptively deep examination of good and evil, free will, and what it means to be human. Delightfully adapted for TV in 2019 – with Michael Sheen as the angel Aziraphale and David Tennant as his adversary-turned-friend Crowley, an “angel who did not so much fall as saunter vaguely downwards” – it shows humans stopping the apocalypse by being neither good nor evil but, oh, so very human. For obvious reasons, it only gained relevance during the pandemic.
And so, when a casting call went out for demon extras to populate Good Omens 2, I channelled my best evil face and bagged myself a place at the side of Beelzebub (in this case Shelley Conn, almost unrecognisable from her role as Lady Mary Sharma in Bridgerton).
Descending into the abyss commences with a train journey to Bathgate, where this servant of Satan is fitted for an evil afterlife. From among an eye-popping selection of props and costumes, I emerge in black plastic leggings, biker boots, a cape and a bra covered in black-painted rubber gloves that I will later christen the “Harvey Weinstein top” for its disturbingly handsy appearance. Then to hair and makeup, where I acquire even more eyeliner than normal but discover that my hair is “already demonic enough”.
A couple of weeks later, the hair and makeup crew have their work cut out for them with dozens of ordinary Scots to transform into hordes of the damned. To make everything more complicated, it’s 2021 and Covid protocols remain in force, with daily testing and masks to be worn at all times when not actually being filmed.