I was the British Army’s first female bomb disposal expert. Here’s what Trigger Point gets ‘horribly wrong’

Trigger Point returns to screens this weekend (Picture: Adele Jakeman)

When Lucy Lewis settled in to watch the first season of Trigger Point, she knew more than most about being a bomb disposal expert.

It’s a high stakes career explored in the ITV drama, which returns for its second season this weekend, starring Vicky McClure as Lana Washington, an ex-military bomb disposal operative and Afghan War veteran who heads a Metropolitan Police bomb squad, using her skills to counter terrorist threats.

As Britain’s first female ‘expo’, Lucy was tasked with leading teams as they identified explosive devices and then set to work diffusing them.

After watching the first season of Trigger Point Lucy was impressed with the series, which was created and written by Daniel Brierley and executive produced by Line of Duty’s Jed Mercurio.

However, she did have several bugbears.

‘There were times I spat my tea everywhere and threw things at the telly and started shouting because some details were horribly wrong, but they’re not allowed to put things that are more accurate,’ she said.

Lucy Lewis was Britain’s first female bomb disposal expert (Picture: Supplied by Lucy Lewis)

‘In the first episode they didn’t use a digital countdown clock or snipping red wire rubbish which I’ve seen on other movies and shows, and I thought “thank God, at last”.’

However, the clocks soon became a feature on future episodes which drove her, and fellow expos, slightly crazy.

‘None of us have ever seen a digital countdown clock. It is just not a thing,’ she said.

But, as Lucy explained, bomb disposal is ‘not a spectator sport’ and drama associated with the high-intensity career was internal.

‘It is very difficult to get that drama across and there are some things that they’ve got completely wrong at times but it’s obvious they also don’t want to put in all the information.’

‘It’s a very difficult job to be an advisor on some of these things (shows) because you’ve got this conflict between what’s good drama and what’s accurate.’

Lucy originally had some issues when tuning into the crime drama (Picture: X)

Throughout her career serving with the army, which began in 1989, Lucy worked to diffuse explosives including grenades, mines and shells, with her first ever job involving removing 18 volatile World War II pipe mines that had been discovered buried at an airport in Southampton.

Although Lucy was not a high-risk operator like Lana, she did have to come to terms with the fact her job might prove fatal.

‘You do have to have a conversation with yourself about that quite early on and have to get over it and get it out of your head because otherwise you would be forever worrying,’ she recalled.

‘We were always told that you can make as many mistakes as you like so long as you don’t make the mistake. So, you know, get on with it basically.’

During her time in the army, Lucy said they weren’t even allowed to explain what a controlled explosion was to civilians.

Meanwhile, the series had been able to draw upon the experts to explain details of the work to viewers.

Vicky McClure stars in the series as ‘expo’ Lana Washington (Picture: Adele Jakeman)

‘In the first season the characters joked that EOD stands for everyone divorced and that’s very true,’ she laughed remembering one plot point that stood out.

The Felix the Cat tattoos on expos are also accurate, with Lucy explaining how cats are the symbol of bomb disposal because ‘a cat has nine lives and so much of this is luck you’re going to need nine lives’.

Despite some people having issue with something that unfolded in the first batch of episodes, Lucy defended what was seen.

‘One of the criticisms of the first season was when Lana took her helmet off to look under a car looking for a bomb and everyone said, “oh, how ridiculous”.’

‘People were saying expos would never take their helmets off, but of course they do.

‘It’s a car bomb. It’s going to vaporise you. A helmet is not going to help you.’

Lucy has described some of the details the series has got spot on (Picture: ITV)

Although Lana and other expos are seen in bomb suits, Lucy said she rarely used them, one of the main problems being they didn’t actually fit women.

‘It was so long that I couldn’t bend over and at times I couldn’t move my arms and legs,’ she shared.

‘It was pointless to use them and none of us really wore them, especially because it was only designed to protect you from a grenade at point blank range.’

She added: ‘Anything bigger than that and it just keeps your body together and you can be buried in a shoe box instead of a match box.’

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Looking to the star of the series, Lucy said Vicky was ‘perfect’ for the role.

‘She’s very credible as a woman that’s got enough grit to be able to do it,’ she said.

‘I’ve been a huge fan of hers through Line of Duty, so I was very pleased to see that she’s a very credible EOD officer.’

She added: ‘This is one of the better series (about bomb disposals) and I think they’ve done incredibly well with it.’

Lucy later transferred to the British Military Police, where she did tours in Germany and Northern Ireland, serving for eight years until 1998 after which she retired.

Vicky and Kerry Godliman in a scene from the upcoming season (Picture: ITV)

Around six months after the first season was released, Lucy released her memoir, Lighting the Fuse: Stories from Britain’s first female bomb disposal expert, the success of which she also credited to the interest that Trigger Point had generated.

The first season of the series ended with Lana’s lover, Karl Maguire (Warren Brown), exposed as the architect behind a bombing campaign that claimed the life of her brother, Billy (Ewan Mitchell) and numerous other innocent people.

This time around, she returns from secondment training Ukrainian bomb disposal teams, but has not returned to active duty.

However soon after, a bomb attack in the heart of London leaves her questioning if she is ready to take the task on.

Trigger Point season 2 starts tonight at 9pm on ITV1.

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