CORONATION Street and Emmerdale fans can watch some of their favourite classic episodes on the ITV Hub from today.
Corrie will revisit some of the soap’s most memorable characters, including Bet Lynch (Julie Goodyear) and Alec Gilroy (Roy Barraclough), while Emmerdale will relive iconic moments such as Chris Tate’s (Peter Amory) wedding to Rachel (Glenda McKay) and Kim Tate’s (Claire King) affair with Dave Glover (Ian Kelsey).
The decision to feature the episodes on the on-demand platform comes after ITV were forced to cut down soap episodes because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Coronation Street shut down production in March and currently airs just three episodes a week.
Ian Bartholomew, who plays Geoff, said it’s been a “headache” for bosses to rewrite episodes to fit in with future social distancing rules and that writers are “working furiously” to get storylines into shape during lockdown.
Appearing on Lorraine, Ian talked about how the soap will function when lockdown is lifted.
He said: “What is, I think, at the forefront of everybody’s mind at the moment is what happens after this is all over? What happens after lockdown? What happens when we get back to work?
“Because it will change the map of how we work and we make the programme because we will have to have social distances and we will have to have smaller crews.”
Meanwhile, Emmerdale is set to run out of episodes this month and TV bosses are considering a raft of measures to get filming again as soon as possible.
ITV boss Kevin Lygo revealed that actors could be tested for coronavirus when they return to set during a (virtual) chat at the Edinburgh Television Festival.
He also said that older actors will be protected for longer so characters like Eric Pollard, played by 71-year-old Chris Chittell, could be written out for a while.
Soap bosses could maintain social distancing on set by using camera trickery to make actors look closer than they really are.
He said we’ll also see more two-handers – episodes based entirely around two characters to minimise footfall in the studio.