Following suit with some other popular UK programming, the BBC has suspended filming on long-running primetime soap EastEnders amid the escalating coronavirus crisis. Production on the series is still ongoing as far as what can be done remotely, like scriptwriting.
Said a BBC spokesperson, “In light of the spread of COVID-19, after much consideration, it has been decided that filming on EastEnders will be postponed until further notice. The decision was made after the latest government update. We will continue to follow the latest news and advice from the World Health Organization and Public Health England.”
Along with the filming shift, viewers will now tune into the goings-on at Albert Square’s Queen Vic just two nights a week rather than four times, “so that we can ensure the audience can continue to enjoy EastEnders in their homes for as long as possible,” the BBC added.
The corporation also noted that filming on all BBC Studios continuing dramas will be postponed until further notice. Per BBC News this includes Doctors, Casualty and Holby City.
Earlier this week, Caryn Mandabach Productions postponed production on Peaky Blinders Season 6, while World Productions suspended filming on Line Of Duty. Both series air on BBC One. Netflix’s The Witcher recently became the first drama made in the UK to be halted by coronavirus.
ITV meanwhile said filming its popular soaps Coronation Street and Emmerdale has become “a real challenge.”
CEO Carolyn McCall said, “We are filming with fewer cast and crew and we’re scaling back location shooting whilst adhering to the government’s guidelines… Through a mix of changes to production and scheduling we are confident that we can keep broadcasting new episodes of both shows over the coming months.”
The plan will be to restrict Coronation Street’s episodes to three per week — on Monday, Wednesday and Friday — while Emmerdale will continue to run on each weeknight.
As we noted earlier today, popular Australian soap Neighbours has taken a break in filming until this coming Monday as a means to regroup amid the coronavirus crisis.