How is Line of Duty being impacted by coronavirus?

The hit BBC police drama has suspended filming - here's what it could mean for the status of series six

Line of Duty

As coronavirus continues to disrupt the entertainment industry around the world, BBC thriller Line of Duty is one of the latest TV shows to postpone production.

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It was announced on 16th March that filming of hit show had been suspended, following the lead of other on-hold productions such as Peaky Blinders, Stranger Things and Marvel’s slate of Disney+ shows.

Given that it has already been nearly been a year since the fifth series was broadcast, this has meant fans will have to wait even longer for the much anticipated sixth series – but how much longer exactly?

When did filming on Line of Duty series 6 begin?

Filming on the police procedural’s latest series began in early February in Northern Ireland, with the BBC releasing first-look filming shots 0n Monday 17th February 2020.

It was then announced that filming would be suspended on Monday 16th March – meaning that cameras had only been rolling on the BBC One drama for around a month.

Line of Duty S5 - Episode 4

Filming was halted as a precautionary measure following the coronavirus outbreak – now a global pandemic – which has led to the encouragement of working at home and social distancing to prevent the spread of the disease.

A BBC spokesperson told The Guardian: “In light of the spread of Covid-19, after much consideration, the producers – Caryn Mandabach Productions and Tiger Aspect Productions – of Peaky Blinders S6 have postponed filming, and World Productions on Line of Duty S6 have suspended filming, both in consultation with and supported by the BBC.

“We will continue to review all productions on a case-by-case basis and will continue to follow the latest news and advice from the Foreign Office, World Health Organization and Public Health England.”

When might filming on Line of Duty resume?

This is the big question, as neither the BBC nor producers World Productions have confirmed how long filming has been postponed for.

Other delayed projects such as The Batman and Netflix’s scripted projects have opted for at least a two week hiatus, which seems like a reasonable length for Line of Duty to also halt production.

This also follows very much in line with government advice to self-isolate for 14 days – the maximum incubation period of the virus.

However, while the government is yet to enforce the closure of workplaces and other social venues such as bars and restaurants, they are increasingly pushing working from home if possible – with no end date in sight.

How long filming on Line of Duty will depend very much on how the national situation and government advice changes in the coming days – but expect a hiatus of at least two weeks.

How long will this delay the premiere of Line of Duty series 6?

It is not currently clear if the series six premiere will be delayed, as the show never had a scheduled release date to begin with.

However, the drama was widely expected to return in 2020 – filming in February suggested the series would be ready for a late 2020 release, and creator Jed Mercurio told RadioTimes.com in October 2019: “I would hope it’s sometime in 2020, next year.”

Line of Duty S5 - Episode 5

It’s possible that with a release not expected until later in the year – unlike several other delayed projects – the production could be able to make up for lost time, or simply launch a week or two later than planned.

The show will, of course, have a few weeks of shooting to catch up on – and may take longer depending on the schedule of the in-demand cast and crew.

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The very worst case scenario could see the series pushed back to early 2021 – though production would likely have to be halted for far longer than two weeks for this to happen.