Equity, the British trade union for actors, has negotiated pay for regular cast members on UK television soaps during the coronavirus production shutdown.
Actors on BBC continuing dramas EastEnders, Holby City, Casualty, Doctors, River City and Pobol y Cwm; ITV’s Coronation Street and Emmerdale; and Channel 4’s Hollyoaks will receive monthly payments during the filming hiatus.
The payments will “either meet or come very close to the benchmark” set by government support schemes, which for employed workers pays 80% of wages up to a maximum of £2,500 a month. “We pushed very hard for more, but felt these were the best that could be achieved in light of the difficult economic climate,” Equity said.
The union pointed out that talent pay on British soaps is a broad spectrum, with some people not earning significant sums. It added that many self-employed actors do not qualify for government support.
John Barclay, head of recorded media at Equity, said: “By securing financial protection for artists now, we go some way towards safeguarding a vibrant future for the industry when this crisis is behind us and production can resume.”
Separately, British trade Broadcast reported on Wednesday that crews on Coronation Street and Emmerdale have been furloughed by producer ITV Studios, while Hollyoaks producer Lime Pictures has done the same with some of its production team.