Emmerdale and Corrie stars 'fear they'll be axed from soaps'

Emmerdale and Coronation Street stars ‘fear they will be axed from soaps amid the COVID-19 crisis’… as ‘phased return’ to filming begins in the Dales

Emmerdale became the first British soap to resume filming as it began a ‘phased return’ on Wednesday, ITV revealed on Thursday.

And The Sun have reported that some stars from the soap and Coronation Street are concerned that they will be dropped from the show due to the coronavirus crisis.

A celebrity agent speaking to the publication on Saturday and claimed they had been contacted by ‘several people’ asking for work as they fear fewer stars will be asked to come back to the show.

Concern: Emmerdale and Corrie stars ‘fear they’ll be axed from the soaps amid the COVID-19 crisis’, it was claimed on Saturday  (pictured Bill Roache and Sue Nicholls in Coronation Street)

The agent claimed some soap stars had also asked about voiceover work and other similar opportunities, and added: ‘These are people who’ve been in the show for years and they were apprehensive for the future. 

‘Inevitably, the cast call will be far lower for each scene meaning people will be left at home and not getting paid.

‘They also think that the longer this goes on the more ITV will realise they don’t need so many people on the cast so when contracts come up for renewal, some people just won’t have theirs renewed.’ 

ITV declined to comment when approached by MailOnline. 

It’s back: Emmerdale became the first British soap to resume filming as it began a ‘phased return’ on Wednesday, ITV revealed on Thursday

Fears: A celebrity agent claimed ‘several people’ were concerned fewer stars will be asked to come back (pictured Susan Cookson, Lesley Dunlop, and Chris Chittell in Emmerdale)

Emmerdale star Danny Miller teased what’s to come in the soap, after taking part in the first day of filming during the show’s ‘phased return.’

Taking to Twitter, he wrote: ‘WOW – it was so good to be back in Aaron’s house with his lodger. 

‘The Aaron & Cain episode was the first of the six lockdown episodes to be shot out of that block and under the new structures and rules so everyone was naturally anxious of how and what changes we would face..

‘Well I can tell you, the episode is amazing. You’re going to love it! I wouldn’t have wanted to share breaking into this new world of television with many others than my good pal Jeff Hordley – who is incredible in this beautiful episode – written by our very own Adam Sales.. 

Excited: Emmerdale star Danny Miller teased what’s to come in the soap, after taking part in the first day of filming the lockdown episodes, and said it was an ‘amazing’ storyline

‘And all the credit goes to our director @ianbevitt & @emmerdale – from paper to screen, for turning the production round to make a great episode at a distance – so we may not see a kiss or a fight on TV for a while, but this shows we can do without and do safely. Bravo.’ 

The soap’s production team have recorded six new episodes using a pared back crew at the show’s studios in Leeds, with stories focused on characters in lockdown.

ITV confirmed that social distancing measures and safety protocols were put into place and strictly adhered to by the team, with the episodes being recorded over a two-week period.

The channel’s Health and Safety team and medical advisers have been working closely with the government to consult on social distancing guidelines to ensure the team are working in accordance with return-to-production protocols.

This means that filming units are staying together while working in designated studios, and the crew are using their own equipment which has been sanitised in advance while office staff continue to work from home. 

ITV also revealed that they would not have any shoots on location, while scripts have been adapted to include fewer scenes and a small number of actors so that the cameras don’t need to be moved on a regular basis.

New formula: The soap’s production team have recorded six new episodes using a pared back crew at the show’s studios in Leeds, with stories focused on characters in lockdown

Filming: The crew are using their own equipment which has been sanitised in advance while office staff continue to work from home

Precautions: The channel’s Health and Safety team and medical advisers have been working closely with the government to consult on social distancing guidelines

Directed by Ian Bevitt, the six new episodes focus on Cain and Aaron (Jeff Hordley and Danny Miller), Chas and Paddy (Lucy Pargeter and Dominic Brunt), Sam and Lydia (James Hooton and Karen Blick), Marlon, Al and Ellis (Mark Charnock, Michael Wildman and Aaron Anthony), Mandy and Vinny (Lisa Riley and Bradley Johnson), and Jimmy and Nicola (Nick Miles and Nicola Wheeler).

ITV teased the episodes will see ‘resentments and past feuds resurface, old wounds further exposed, relationships scrutinised, with doubts and insecurities laid bare’, with a hint of romance. 

It’s has also been confirmed that the characters will join in the weekly ‘Clap For Carers’ to show their support for the NHS and frontline workers. 

Staying positive: Of starting again, executive producer Jane Hudson said: ‘Lockdown has created an opportunity for us to focus on what is important in our lives’

Moving: Jane added that thanks to lockdown ‘the scripts have an added poignancy and meaning’ which will be evident to viewers when the new episodes air

Rules: ITV also said they would not have shoots on location, and scripts have been adapted to include fewer actors (L-R: Mark Charnock, Lucy Pargeter, Isabel Hodgins. and Max Parker)

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.’ 

Exciting: ITV teased the episodes will see ‘resentments and past feuds resurface, old wounds further exposed, [and] relationships scrutinised’ (pictured Lisa Riley as Mandy Dingle)

John Whiston – Managing Director of Continuing Drama for ITV Studios and Head of ITV in the North – added: ‘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. 

Which characters are at risk? 

CORONATION STREET 

KEN BARLOW 

Played by Bill Roache, 88

RITA SULLIVAN 

Played by Barbara Knox, 86 

AUDREY ROBERTS 

Played by Sue Nicholls, 76

ROY CROPPER 

Played by David Neilson, 71 

EMMERDALE

ERIC POLLARD 

Played by Chris Chittell, 71

‘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!’ 

Emmerdale announced in March that filming was being suspended to adhere to social distancing and government regulations amid the coronavirus crisis.  

ITV boss Kevin Lygo previously said the soap will remain on screens until the end of May and it’s likely older cast members won’t return to set for sometime, this could include Eric Pollard actor Chris Chittell, 71.  

Like Coronation Street, Emmerdale had scaled back its episodes from seven to three. 

Earlier this month, networks such as Sky, the BBC, ITV, ITN, Channel 4 and Channel 5, have explained in a 15-page plan how they would get the cameras rolling in the near future, with sets enforcing rules such as bringing your own cutlery to work, banning extras, encouraging indoor production and minimal make-up assistance.

Stars used to being taxied around, having lunch laid on and given a stylist will have to forgo such star treatment while social distancing is still being enforced. 

What are the new rules?

  • Talent and crew will be encouraged to bring their own cutlery to work, and there will be staggered lunch breaks 
  • There will be no more chauffeuring thespians around, with travel guidance stating that ‘single occupancy vehicles’ should be used where possible
  • The guidelines also enforce as much outdoor filming as possible – but not in a public space
  • Scenes that are required to shoot inside need to be in a ‘large open space with good ventilation’ and should ‘avoid small rooms where possible’
  • To avoid contact, touch-ups will be restricted and, if necessary, guided by make-up artists from afar
  • For scenes requiring bustling backdrops, extras are being replaced with green screens, to avoid over-crowded sets
  • Personal Protective Equipment won’t be used unless ‘filming in higher risk settings such as hospitals’
  • Actors over a certain age are still thought to be advised not to return to work as of yet, although the guidelines are not explicit on this 

To avoid contact, make-up touch-ups will be restricted and, if necessary, guided by make-up artists from afar. 

There’ll be staggered lunch breaks and where someone brings their own kitchen utensils they ‘would be responsible for cleaning and ensuring they were identifiable’.

There will be no more chauffeuring actors around, with travel guidance stating that ‘single occupancy vehicles’ should be used where possible. 

The guidelines also enforce as much outdoor filming as possible – but not in a public space.

Scenes that are required to shoot inside need to be in a ‘large open space with good ventilation’ and should ‘avoid small rooms where possible’.

For scenes requiring bustling backdrops, extras are being replaced with green screens, to avoid over-crowded sets.

Personal Protective Equipment won’t be used unless ‘filming in higher risk settings such as hospitals’.

Actors over a certain age are still thought to be advised not to return to work as of yet, although the guidelines are not explicit on this.

How broadcasters are planning to get cameras rolling on the UK’s TV industry post-lockdown

Broadcasters have detailed how they’re gearing up to restart the UK’s TV industry once the coronavirus lockdown is lifted.

In a 15-page plan, networks such as Sky, the BBC, ITV, ITN, Channel 4 and Channel 5, have explained how they’ll get the cameras rolling in the near future, with sets enforcing rules such as bringing your own cutlery to work, banning extras, encouraging indoor production and minimal make-up assistance. 

Soaps  

Coronation Street

Coronation Street has confirmed that it is in the final stages of a ‘return-to-production protocol’ after filming was suspended to follow COVID-19 regulations. 

A representative exclusively told MailOnline: ‘ITV is in the final stages of working with others across the industry on a return-to-production protocol and we are in active discussions with Government on this. We will share further updates in due course.’ 

Sources have since claimed bosses have put together a plan for the cast to return to set next month and film with the use of clever camera angles to ensure stars are adhering to social distancing. 

The hit ITV soap suspended filming in March to following lockdown and social distancing regulations amid the coronavirus crisis.   

Filming: Sources have claimed bosses have put together a plan for the cast to return to set next month with the use of clever camera angles to ensure stars are adhering to social distancing (Ian Bartholomew and Shelley King pictured)

EastEnders

Charlotte Moore, the broadcaster’s director of content, said the BBC One soap would be up and running again within weeks, along with Top Gear, with limited crew members and cast asked to do their own hair and makeup. 

Builders were pictured getting to work on the new £87million EastEnders set in Elstree Studios, London last week.   

Controller of BBC drama Piers Wenger previously said the broadcaster hoped to resume filming on soaps ‘as soon as possible’.

He pointed to the example of Australian soap Neighbours, which has resumed filming but with social distancing rules in place and other limitations, including banning kissing on set. 

Under construction: Builders were pictured getting to work on the new £87million EastEnders set in Elstree Studios, London last week

Hollyoaks 

There’s no news on when production for the Channel 4 soap will return as of yet, but the series is said to have enough episodes to last until the end of July and has scaled back its weekly shows from five to just two. 

Director of programming for Channel 4, Ian Katz, said: ‘The coronavirus outbreak is an enormous creative challenge for all broadcasters and though it is having a profound impact on getting some of our productions onto screen, when public service broadcasters like Channel 4 can step up and help people navigate through the extraordinary challenges we all now face.’

While a soap representative added: ‘Dear Hollyoaks viewers. It is with a heavy heart that we have made the decision to pause filming of Hollyoaks. From Monday 30th March, we will be reducing the number of our weekly new episodes from five down to three, which will air Monday to Wednesday. 

Social distancing: Hollyoaks announced in March that filming has been suspended to adhere to social distancing and government regulations amid the coronavirus crisis

BBC Dramas

Peaky Blinders and Line Of Duty

Cast and crew of the two shows will have to ‘maintain a two-metre distance from others, and wash their hands regularly’, reports The Sun.  

Peaky Blinders, which sees Cillian Murphy and Helen McCrory as its leads and follows a Birmingham crime gang in the 1920s, were yet to start filming series six. 

While Line Of Duty, which sees Martin Compston, Vicky McClure and Adrian Dunbar as its leads in the British police drama, suspended its filming in Belfast for season six in March to adhere to the COVID-19 regulations. 

Back to work? Peaky Blinders, which sees Cillian Murphy and Helen McCrory as its leads and follows a Birmingham crime gang in the 1920s, were yet to start filming series six 

Back to it: Line Of Duty sees Adrian Dunbar, Vicky McClure and Martin Compston (L-R) as its leads in the British police drama

Entertainment Shows

Love Island 

Love Island has been cancelled this summer but ITV bosses are said to be considering reviving the show for the autumn and filming in the Canary Islands. 

Kevin Lygo, Director of Television at ITV, said: ‘We have tried every which way to make Love Island this summer but logistically it’s just not possible to produce it in a way that safeguards the wellbeing of everyone involved and that for us is the priority.

‘In normal circumstances we would be preparing very soon to travel out to the location in Mallorca to get the villa ready but clearly that’s now out of the question.

Cancelled: Love Island has been cancelled this summer but ITV bosses are said to be considering reviving the show for the autumn and filming in the Canary Islands (host Laura Whitmore pictured) 

I’m A Celebrity 

I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! is reportedly set to still go ahead later this year, despite the coronavirus pandemic.  

Sources tell The Sun that show bosses are ‘holding virtual talks’ to plan for the show’s return, as they anticipate a huge response from viewers following the crisis.

A TV source told the paper: ‘ITV are certain lockdown will be well over by the time I’m A Celeb normally starts which is in November.

I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! is reportedly set to still go ahead later this year, despite the coronavirus pandemic (hosts Ant and Dec pictured) 

Dancing On Ice 

Dancing On Ice producers are powering through with plans for the 2021 series, reportedly with a mega budget lining the show’s coffers.

Despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, it seems ITV aren’t worried about production going ahead come January next year, and they have their sights set on a slew of big stars to take to the rink.

A source told The Sun: ‘It’s full steam ahead for next year’s show and casting is already well underway. The professional skaters will be meeting potential celebrity partners on the ice next month to see how they pair up.

Big bucks! Dancing On Ice producers are powering through with plans for the 2021 series, reportedly with a mega budget lining the show’s coffers

Strictly Come Dancing  

BBC boss Charlotte revealed TV executives are considering putting forward drastic measures in an attempt to save the show amid the coronavirus crisis.  

Producers are still assessing contingency plans such as enforcing a face mask rule, dancing two metres apart and even quarantining celebrities and professional dancers.

TV executives have reportedly also ‘made the difficult decision’ to exclude the some of the show’s stand-out features in a bid to comply with current social distancing guidelines, including scrapping Blackpool week and group dances.

Never done before: Quarantining participants is being considered as options (judges Bruno Tonioli, Motsi Mabuse, Shirley Ballas and Craig Revel Horwood pictured)

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