British broadcaster ITV has suspended filming on its iconic soap opera Coronation Street as the coronavirus crisis continues to cause disruption for film and TV shoots across the UK.
ITV confirmed the filming hiatus on Friday afternoon, with cast and crew in Manchester set to down tools on Monday. The broadcaster said it is pausing to provide the team time to rewrite scripts and it will not impact Corrie’s broadcast schedule of six episodes a week.
A spokeswoman said: “Coronation Street will pause filming from next Monday, 25 January for two weeks to undertake some rewriting of stories and scripts as a consequence of the coronavirus pandemic.
“We will also be taking the opportunity to review all health and safety requirements to ensure we continue to provide a safe working environment for the cast, crew and production team. This pause in filming won’t affect our ability to deliver six episodes of Coronation Street each week.”
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Separately, The Sun reported that another ITV soap, Emmerdale, had to halt production last week following a coronavirus outbreak on-set. Filming will resume next week, just as Coronation Street goes on hiatus. Again, ITV does not expect Emmerdale’s schedule to be disrupted.
The spokeswoman added: “We paused filming on Emmerdale last week due to some members of the team testing positive for Covid 19. We’ve carried out proper track and trace measures on those cases and undertook intensive cleaning of the production building, whilst reinforcing the health and safety protocols we have in place. We’re returning to filming from this Monday, 25 January.”
ITV slamming the breaks on two of its biggest brands shows the challenges facing producers right now, as new strains of coronavirus pushed the number of daily positive tests up to nearly 70,000 earlier this month. There are some signs, however, that the national lockdown is having an effect and cases are falling.
Even so, it’s proving tricky to keep production bubbles protected. Furthermore, film and TV production has been taken off the UK government’s coronavirus travel exemption list, meaning those arriving in Britain to participate in shoots of all shapes and sizes will need to self-isolate for 10 days.