As six bonus episodes of The Walking Dead arrive, Georgia Humphreys hears about life behind the scenes from stars Norman Reedus and Melissa McBride.

Norman Reedus had no idea what he was getting himself into when he first read the script for The Walking Dead.

The first series (which premiered on Halloween in 2010) followed a police officer Rick Grimes, played by Andrew Lincoln, trying to find his family, after a zombie apocalypse spread across the US.

Over 10 years and 10 seasons later, it has become one of the world’s most successful TV shows. And while many major stars have left, including Lincoln, Florida-born Reedus, who plays Daryl Dixon, still remains a linchpin of the cast.

“We went through a stage on this show where people were dying like every week on the show, and it was like Survivor or something,” quips the candid 52-year-old motorcycle enthusiast, who also has his own travel series, Ride With Norman Reedus

“You were like, ‘Tune in this week, see who gets eaten!’ And I thought, ‘Oh, that’s not the direction I feel like this show should go’.

“But it’s had so many peaks and valleys and twists and turns. It’s been quite the ride.”

Season 11, which will see the main Walking Dead storyline finish, is delayed until next year, but in the meantime, we are getting a batch of six new episodes to round out the 10th season, which aired in 2020.

The Walking Dead 10C follows the survivors picking themselves back up after the end of the Whisperers War.

After years of struggling, the trauma some of the core characters are dealing with will come to light.

Discussing where we find Carol Peletier in these episodes, 55-year-old star Melissa McBride – who has portrayed her since series one – says: “What she’s done, the repercussions of the choices that she made, are not lost on her at all. There are loose ends there that she needs to tie up, and she wants to fix this relationship with Daryl.”

Reedus meanwhile, adds that the six episodes “are really intimate”, and that we will learn more of Daryl’s backstory.

“We dealt with Covid, and we were trying to sort of guinea pig our way through figuring how to work with all these Covid restrictions. And we did it, and it came out great.”

Kentucky-born McBride admits it’s “a little ironic” to be shooting a show about a global pandemic in a global pandemic.

But the former casting director, whose breakout role was The Walking Dead, highlights just how grateful the cast and crew were to be able to go back and shoot the show safely – especially when so many people can’t be at work right now.

“I just think there was a lot of gratitude for even being able to go and create.”

As for how they have been coping at home during the Covid-19 lockdown, it seems Reedus, who lives with his partner, actress and model Diane Kruger, and their young daughter, has been keeping himself very busy.

“I wrote a book, which is crazy,” says the star, who also shares a son with former partner, Helena Christensen.

“There’s some photography things I did. I had my nails painted by my daughter over and over and over again; the worst colours, sort of like a peachy colour. I learned how to make a martini, which I got really good at, and I did some gardening.”

“I’m one of those people that can’t sit still; I’m not good if I’m not doing something.”

The Walking Dead, action-packed, gory, gruesome, must be an intense show to film.

Asked about how hard they find it to switch off after being on set, Reedus confides: “I never really let it go; I’m not very good at it. I wake up thinking about it, I go to sleep thinking about it, I talk about it when I don’t need to talk about it.

“It’s the first job that I ever had, acting job anyway, where I started to become obsessed.”

He’s “not as zen as Melissa” he suggests. Indeed, while McBride agrees it is an intense filming process, she stresses how fun it is on set too.

“When you’re not really happy with the work you did, that’s maybe harder to let roll off, than what the character is going through,” she follows.

“For me, I feel like I separate it pretty good.

“I just kind of try to find an undercurrent of a relaxing headspace to be in, which I think is a safe thing to do, considering the stuff we’re having to do.”

As well as the upcoming spin-off The Walking Dead: World Beyond, a series of Rick Grimes movies are in the pipeline and, recently, there’s also been news of a potential Daryl and Carol spinoff in the next couple of years.

Asked for the latest on that, Reedus muses: “I don’t know, I’m waiting to find out myself.

“I know a little bit, but not enough to like really talk about it. But I can tell you what my hopes are for it; my hopes are that they kick us out of the gate like a rocket ship.”

n The Walking Dead 10c is on Fox on Mondays.