EMMERDALE fans will face a three-week wait to have a cliffhanger resolved after Friday night’s episode.
The ITV soap will be airing three weeks’ worth of lockdown episodes while production of the soap is resumed during the pandemic.
Filming was initially halted in March because of lockdown but the programme’s cast and crew returned to work last week, following social-distancing measures.
The new episodes will air from June 8 and will last for three weeks before the soap returns to its previous broadcast schedule.
Speaking during an online press event today, producer Laura Shaw said Friday’s episode would end on a cliff-hanger.
She said: “When Emmerdale shut down we went into lockdown and we shut the studios down part way through shooting a block (of episodes).
“We have got a whole group of scenes that were shot before lockdown – and then we have got some scenes that we are working on now that we will be shooting next.
“After Friday you will see that we end on a bit of a cliff-hanger and then we will go into our three weeks of lockdown episodes.”
Shaw said the show would eventually enter a new block of filming in which life would largely return to normal in Emmerdale.
However, the soap will nod towards the pandemic’s long-term effects.
She said: “After that we will set a new block of filming where we will reference coronavirus.
“We will see things like in our cafe and the Woolpack it will be takeaway only for example.
“And we will have separate entrances and exits, similar to what you have in the supermarket now.”
Executive producer Jane Hudson revealed the soap had been working with other major soaps in order to get the entire industry back up and running safely.
She said: “We have chatted to the main soaps so Corrie, EastEnders and Hollyoaks as well as Shortland Street, Neighbours – I’ve had phone calls with lots of different shows – it was initially how the heck are we going to do this?
“But then we all came up with ideas – we have our perspex screen over camera which all shows are now looking at implementing as an extra degree.
“We’re all helping each other and more conversations are to be had. It’s nice that soaps are doing it and being recognised – and we’re very proud of it that we can work together to get these shows back on our screens.”
She added: “People always think that soaps are rivals and we’re not.
“We have all worked together for years – myself, Iain MacLeod, Kate Oates, Bryan Kirkwood and are all really good friends actually.
“It’s just one of those times where, yes, ratings figures are always going to be important, but I just think right now we need to just park them, help each other, work with each other, get back on-screen and then we can get the gloves back on, have a ratings fight when we are all safe and all doing the job we love, and our friends are back working again.”
Two-metre poles are being held between cast and crew to ensure they remain the correct distance apart on set, while dot markings on the floor show where people can safely stand.
People entering the building are checked for a high temperature and hazard tape divides the set to ensure actors and crew remain separated.
Actors are responsible for their trolley of props, which are sanitised before use, and for ensuring their scripts are not left on set.
Costume and make-up have been removed from set and some cameras have been outfitted with wrap-around Perspex screens.
Coronation Street, another of ITV’s soaps, is set to resume filming within weeks, while the BBC has previously said filming on EastEnders will restart by the end of June.