Although filming has suspended on Coronation Street and Emmerdale due to the coronavirus pandemic, ITV has announced production on its flagship soaps could return with the help of new social distancing guidelines.
Viewers may see more two-character scenes if shooting continues, with editing used as if characters are closer together. Storylines and scripts, which will address the pandemic, are being adapted to accommodate such social distancing.
Older cast members, including Corrie’s Ken Barlow actor William Roache, may be omitted from filming for their own protection.
Speaking at the Edinburgh TV Festival (taking place online this year) Kevin Lygo, director of television at ITV, explained: “ITV without soaps is barely ITV. They are working really hard now as to how, when, if and when restrictions are lifted a bit, how can we make the soaps in a safe way.”
He added the broadcaster is investigating whether the cast and crew could be tested for the virus as filming couldn’t take place with the logistics of distancing. “You need make-up, you need wardrobe – people will not be able to stay six feet apart,” he said.
Lygo went on to confirm that, under the current release schedule, Emmerdale will run out of new episodes later in May while Corrie will run out in June.
To remain on air for as long as possible, ITV is only airing new episodes Monday, Wednesday and Fridays at 7.30pm.
The soap halted filming on 23rd March 2020 after the nationwide lockdown was announced.
In statement at the time, ITV said: “The health and well-being of the production teams, actors, crew and their families is of paramount importance to us and we now feel that the time has come to stop filming.
“We’d like to thank our viewers for their support and hope they continue to enjoy both soaps in the coming months.”