Emmerdale has announced they have begun a phased return to filming. They are recording six new episodes featuring characters during the lockdown.
Sharon Marshall revealed the news on This Morning. Flming started yesterday (Wednesday, May 20) at the Emmerdale studios in Leeds.
They are using a pared back crew to ensure they meet health and safety protocols. They will also keep in line with strict social distancing measures. The episodes will take two weeks to film.
Strict guidelines in place as Emmerdale returns to filming
The channel is working with the government to make sure all the cast and crew are protected and there are strict guidelines in place whilst filming.
The measures include social distancing and filming units staying together to work in designated studios with crew using their own sanitised equipment. Office staff will still work from home, there will be no on-location filming and the scripts will feature smaller numbers of actors.
With Emmerdale set to go off air in May, the new episodes will ensure it stays on until at least June, with much-loved characters getting their own two-hander moments.
Cain and Aaron feature in the first of the six episodes. Chas and Paddy, Sam and Lydia, Marlon, Al and Ellis, Mandy and Vinny, and Jimmy and Nicola, will all follow.
Old resentments and past feuds will resurface and old wounds will be exposed. Elsewhere, relationships come under scrutiny and doubts and insecurities will be laid bare.
Lockdown might heal problems for some, and others will find that sparkle again.
The coronavirus pandemic is to be reflected, with the characters addressing the nation's immense gratitude for the NHS. Sharon Marshall confirmed the weekly Clap for Carers will also feature.
Emmerdale producer reveals more
Executive producer Jane Hudson said: "Lockdown has created an opportunity for us to focus on what is important in our lives.
"When we first discussed commissioning these episodes back in March the writers instantly rose to the challenge. Seven weeks into lockdown and the scripts have an added poignancy and meaning.
"The response from everyone at Emmerdale to filming these episodes has been fantastic and we're really grateful for their support."
John Whiston, Managing Director of Continuing Drama for ITV Studios and Head of ITV in the North also commented.
"It's brilliant that Jane and the team at Emmerdale have risen to the challenge of getting these episodes shot using the new protocols for filming drama while observing the Government's social distancing guidelines.
"Also, it will be great to see what the likes of Chas and Paddy and Jimmy and Nicola have got up to while they've been going through lockdown the same as the rest of us!"
Sharon Marshall gives details
Speaking on This Morning about the revolutionary new episodes, Sharon said: "The scripts are fantastic, everyone is buzzing, and we can't wait to bring it."
Of the other soaps, Sharon revealed no one else has any firm plans in place as yet.
"Coronation Street are saying June, EastEnders haven't given a date, they're saying the end of June," she revealed.
She added: "Filming can carry on, we can keep bringing you our beloved show.
"It's wonderful we can reflect real time and what's going on in this lockdown."
Emmerdale airs Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 7pm on ITV.
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