Coronation Street and Emmerdale will resume the normal scheduling pattern of six episodes a week from mid-September 2020, ITV has confirmed.
It follows the reduction in transmission to just three instalments a week that began shortly after the UK lockdown in March, which was a swift response to ensure both Emmerdale and Coronation Street remained on air while production was temporarily shut down.
As part of the channel’s autumn season announcement, a spokesperson said: “This news is testament to the incredible work that has been achieved in Manchester and Leeds by John Whiston, Managing Director of Continuing Drama and Head of ITV in the North for ITV studios, and his dedicated and hard-working production teams.
“Both shows continue to film safely whilst adhering to the health and safety guidelines issued by the film and TV industry.”
Corrie and Emmerdale managed to avoid a transmission gap, unlike counterparts EastEnders and Hollyoaks which ran out of episodes completed pre-lockdown before they had time to turn around new content upon resuming production. Both soaps are off air and return in September.
Speaking in early June when Corrie restarted, Whiston hinted it would be September at the earliest before the show could think about going back up to the normal six episodes pattern.
Currently, Corrie airs Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 7.30pm only, but without the double helping at 8.30pm on each of those days. Emmerdale airs the same days at 7.00pm but used to be on every weeknight, with a sixth episode showing at 8.00pm on a Thursday double bill.
The soaps have pioneered new ways of working within government guidelines, ensuring the sets are COVID-safe, although Corrie has yet to announce when cast members over 80 years old and child actors will be allowed back.
Recently, Emmerdale tackled their first socially-distanced attempted murder in a cleverly-shot showdown between DI Malone and arch-enemy Will Taylor, while Corrie created the world’s first soap stunt filmed with social distancing in mind, in which Gary Windass saved Sarah Barlow’s life when he pushed her out of the path of a speeding car.