Leeds Bridge ‘suicide’ sparks 999 alert

Leeds Bridge.
Leeds Bridge.
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A NEW TV drama sparked a real-life drama when night-time filming for scenes featuring a man getting ready to throw himself off a bridge led to panicked calls to the police.

Motorists driving on the A58 inner ring road westbound were stunned to see a man standing on the outside railing of the footbridge, looking “pale” and “ready to jump”.

But it was all for the waiting cameras for new Channel 4 comedy drama Naked Apes – and the actor was attached to the railing by a harness.

A police spokeswoman confirmed several members of the public had phoned police to report “concerns” about a would-be suicide jumper on Wednesday evening.

Witness Khalida Ashrafi was driving towards Bradford when she spotted the drama.

She said: “I was just approaching the bridge and happened to look up, and I saw a man standing on the outside of the railing.

“One of the lanes had been closed off with traffic cones but I didn’t see any warning signs.

“The man looked very pale, as if he was really going to jump.

“It was quite scary and distressing and I was worried about it when I got home.”

Another witness said: “The man looked ashen-faced and ready to jump. I could see people milling around him and thought they were trying to talk him out of jumping.

“I really thought it was real and he could fall any second.”

A Channel 4 spokeswoman said: “The programme makers made contact with West Yorkshire Police prior to filming and ensured all correct safety procedures were in place.”

A West Yorkshire Police spokeswoman said: “We did receive a number of calls from concerned members of the public about activity on the bridge.

“Officers reassured callers that what they saw was staged for a programme and thanked callers for raising their concerns.”

She said the film crew had agreed to place signs in the vicinity to inform motorists and pedestrians that filming was taking place.

Naked Apes, inspired by the book Blood, Sweat and Tea by Tom Reynolds, is about a team of jaded Leeds-based paramedics.

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