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Soaps halt filming over COVID19 fears: Eastenders, Coronation Street and Emmerdale

Broadcasters are having to come to grips with the safety of actors and production staff

By Will Stroude

British TV institutions including Eastenders, Coronation Street and Emmerdale have all announced plans to halt or limit production, amid the COVID19 pandemic. 

Other soaps including, Holby City, Doctors, Casualty have all been hit too. 

From Monday 30 March, Corrie will only air three episodes a week (Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays at 7.30 pm), while Emmerdale will only have five weekly episodes (weekdays at 7 pm).

Both shows usually have six episodes a week.

At the BBC they have announced in a statement, filming on all continuing dramas has been postponed:

“In light of the spread of COVID-19, after much consideration, it has been decided that filming on all BBC Studios continuing dramas will be postponed until further notice.

Eastenders will now be reduced to two shows a week, Mondays 8 pm and Tuesdays 7.30 pm instead of four episodes a week. This is happening immediately. 

“We have also taken the decision to reduce the number of episodes we broadcast each week to two so that we can ensure the audience can continue to enjoy EastEnders in their homes for as long as possible,” the BBC says.

“The decision was made after the latest government update.”

That update was given last night in the UK Prime Ministers, now daily news conference.

It repeated calls for people to take stricter social-distancing measures to protect the most vulnerable in society. This was reiterated alongside a package of financial compensation, mostly for business and those with a mortgage. 

Actor Nathan Graham became one of the first soap stars to address the virus on set at the end of last week. He appeared live from the cobbles this morning in an interview on Good Morning Britain – and addressed “concern” for the coronavirus outbreak. 

The Coronation Street star Nathan Graham who plays James Bailey is amidst a storyline tackling issues on racism and homophobia in the future.

Last year, the long-running ITV soap introduced the first black family onto the cobbles in a historic first for the soap.

For any concerns and latest advice about COVID19, visit the World Health Organisation for the latest advice.