SOAP bosses have said some of Emmerdale and Coronation Street’s high-risk, older cast members could be banned from set once filming resumes.
ITV programme boss Kevin Lygo said he didn’t want actors like Corrie’s William Roache, who plays Ken Barlow, or Chris Chittell, who plays Emmerdale’s Eric Pollard, to “get sick” amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Speaking in a virtual chat at the Edinburgh TV Festival 2020, Lygo also confirmed the soaps were likely to run out of episodes, despite going from six episodes a week to three.
Emmerdale could be off-air by the end of May if filming doesn’t resume, while Corrie will reportedly run out of episodes in June.
As well as protecting older cast members, Lygo said actors could be tested for coronavirus when they return to set as part of the network’s raft of measures to get filming again.
Soap bosses could also maintain social distancing 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.
The coronavirus pandemic forced the soaps to halt filming last month until more episodes can be shot.
Corrie star Ian Bartholomew – who plays Geoff on the ITV soap – has said 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 admitted: “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.”
“That’s the headache the writers and the producers and storyliners have at the moment.
“They are working furiously to try and pull the story lines they have got, back into some sort of shape that they will be able to tell in a different way.
“So it’s going to be very interesting when we get back… For me, just before we went into lockdown, I was flat out and then bang, nothing. It’s very strange.”
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