The BBC’s most popular ongoing dramas and soaps, including Holby City, Doctors, Casualty and EastEnders, have suspended filming as a result of the latest government advice about coronavirus. There will now only be two episodes of EastEnders shown per week – in an effort to keep the soap going as long as possible.
An official BBC statement said: ‘In light of the spread of Covid-19, after much consideration, it has been decided that filming on EastEnders will be postponed until further notice. We will continue to follow the latest news and advice from the World Health Organisation and Public Health England.’
EastEnders is always filmed between six to twelve weeks in advance, meaning that there should be a stock of episodes to keep us going for a while – and with the show now only being aired twice a week, this will be eked out even longer. The show originally aired only twice a week when it first started over 35 years ago but viewers are now used to seeing four episodes a week.
With the changes effective immediately, the next episode of EastEnders will now be broadcast on Monday 23rd March instead of Thursday 19th. Going forward, the soap will air on Mondays at 8pm and Tuesdays at 7.30pm until further notice. The BBC’s Welsh-language soap Pobol y Cwm and the Scottish River City have also had filming shutdown.
Meanwhile, Neighbours is in temporary shutdown after someone working on the show came into contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. ITV have not yet halted filming on their soaps Coronation Street and Emmerdale but say they are: ‘keeping a close eye on the situation and putting our people first’.