As you may have noticed, there’s a global pandemic on right now and that has meant some changes being made to soaps, both here and overseas.
Many, if not most, have now shut-down filming due to concerns over the virus and as a result, what we see on the screen will be affected – largely in terms of how many episodes we’ll get to see each week for the foreseeable future.
There’s also the fact that timelines will be off for a while, Easter, for example, will take place later due to the schedules being out of whack.
We take a look at the main ones watched here in the UK and give you a handy guide to what changes have been made to them.
Filming for Coronation Street has recently been suspended which means a change to the number of episodes we will see. Having built itself up to a soap that airs six episodes per week, it has now seen its output reduced to three per week, airing Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 7.30pm on ITV.
Explaining the problems this will cause for viewers, an ITV spokesperson said: “In the coming weeks some episodes of Coronation Street and Emmerdale will understandably be out of kilter due to the temporary transmission pattern for both programmes, which takes effect from Monday 30th March. Episodes due to broadcast at Easter and those commissioned and filmed to commemorate VE Day, for instance, won’t now air on the dates we’d anticipated. We’d hope the audience will understand the reasons for this and continue to enjoy the shows.”
The BBC soap, which recently celebrated its 35th-Anniversary, was one of the first to cease production on new episodes when the Covid-19 virus began to impact the UK. What we are seeing now is a 50 per cent reduction in Walford drama as the show reduces down from four episodes to two. EastEnders now airs Mondays and Tuesdays at 7.30pm on BBC One.
Speaking about the move, a BBC Spokesperson said: “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 Organisation and Public Health England. We have also taken the decision to reduce the amount 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.”
Filming has stopped in the Dales too, as cast and crew are now all on lock down. Previously airing every weekday, from March 30th we will only have three visits per week, airing on ITV Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 7pm.
Speaking about Emmerdale and Coronation Street, ITV said: “The change to Emmerdale’s transmission pattern will ensure we have episodes of both soaps airing on ITV until at least the early summer.” So while we are getting less, at least it lessens the risk of running out of episodes entirely.
Hollyoaks was the last UK soap to put filming on hold which affected scheduling. The five-night a week show dropped down to three from Monday 30th March airing on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 6.30pm on Channel 4 and 7.00pm on E4 first look. That will be reduced to two episodes a week on Mondays and Tuesdays from the week beginning Monday 6th April (C4 6.30pm, E4 7.00pm). It’s not all bad news though, Channel 4 has announced a Hollyoaks companion show will be airing on E4 to help fill the gap. So if you’re in the mood to look back at some iconic moments from the history of the soap, you’re in luck!
Neighbours did shut down for a couple of days recently but, at the time of writing, cast and crew are back to work and are all keen to keep the soap on the air for as long as possible with strict protocols in place as they continue filming. However, as of 30th March 2020, the Aussie soap drops to twice-weekly Mondays and Fridays at 1.45pm and 5.30pm on Channel Five.
Home and Away
Production has halted and the show is temporarily off-air to give way to news coverage in Australia, so Home and Away also goes down to two episodes a week from Monday 30th March 2020 showing Mondays and Fridays at 1.15pm on Channel 5 – fans take not there will be no teatime repeat for now.
To see when all your favourite shows are airing, bookmark our handy TV Guide!