TV Soaps filming to resume 'within weeks'

Photos - ITV

EastEnders and Coronation Street are set to resume filming within weeks after halting production due to the coronavirus.

Plans are in place for stars to return to the famous Corrie cobbles once is it safe to do so, and it is understood this will be within weeks rather than months.

Charlotte Moore, the BBC's director of content, has said they hope to bring EastEnders cast and crew members back on set by the end of June.

Filming on a huge range of shows was stopped due to the coronavirus lockdown, with soaps having to spread episodes out to make sure they did not run out - and ITV even airing vintage episodes to keep fans happy.

Following the latest government lockdown announcement on Sunday, with some restrictions eased, bosses are now preparing to get back to work.

A Coronation Street spokesperson told Sky News: "The health and well-being of our people and those who work with us has always been our highest priority and remains so as we look to restart production.

"We are in the final stages of working with others across the industry on a return-to-production protocol and we are in active discussions with government on this. We will share more news in due course."

Earlier this month, producers for the long-running ITV series revealed the coronavirus pandemic will be included in future episodes, but will be "handled with a light touch" rather than "dominating" storylines.

A spokesperson for EastEnders confirmed to Sky News that filming in Albert Square will begin at the end of June, with cast and crew following government guidelines and with social distancing measures in place.

Cast members will do their own hair and make-up.

Details for when ITV soap Emmerdale and Channel 4 soap Hollyoaks will return have not been released.

A spokesperson for Emmerdale told Sky News: "ITV is in the final stages of working with others across the industry on a return-to-production protocol and we are in active discussions with government on this.

"We will share further updates in due course."

Earlier this week, draft safety protocols from the British Film Commission were announced, with suggestions for extras to be replaced by CGI and crews to be dressed in PPE when TV and film production begins again.

The plans are being consulted on this week.

In Australia, Neighbours has led the way, with filming resuming a few weeks ago.

Producer Jason Herbison and star Alan Fletcher, better known as Dr Karl Kennedy, told Sky News they were doing it with strict social distancing measures in place - with "no scenes that require intimacy or physical contact".

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