EastEnders bosses confirm the soap won't focus on coronavirus in storylines

(Image credit: BBC)

EastEnders was forced to halt filming back in March when the country went into lockdown in light of the coronavirus pandemic.

Now, the soap and its rivals like Coronation Street, Emmerdale and Hollyoaks have been given the go ahead to continue with production, after almost two months off air.

Ben Mitchell rows with Jay Mitchell in EastEnders

Actors will have to stick to social distancing rules when they return to set later this month (Picture: BBC) (Image credit: BBC/Kieron McCarron/Jack Barnes)

Of course, the BBC1 soap will have to follow strict social distancing rules when things get going on set again but the programme's bosses have confirmed that storylines won't dwell on the coronavirus crisis when they make a return.

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Piers Wenger, controller of BBC1's drama commissioning, spoke to Radio Times and also explained that production won't be hindered by social distancing requirements.

"Some soaps in other countries have carried on filming during social distancing – cheating the camera angles or editing together actors filmed separately. So there are ways around it," he said.

"There will be social distancing and so on. But we may not dwell on the virus and make it the heart of the story. I'm unsure about that.

"I think people watch a show like EastEnders for the characters and their relationships, so Covid-19 will be there but it won't be the only thing happening in Albert Square."

Gray Atkins talks to Whitney Dean in EastEnders

EastEnders has stayed on air with two episodes a week (Picture: BBC) (Image credit: BBC/Kieron McCarron/Jack Barnes)

Piers reassured EastEnders fans that filming is set to re-start later this month, meaning that the soap's current two episodes a week schedule can hopefully be ramped back up to normal as soon as possible.

Luckily, thanks to the decision to half the number of weekly instalments from Walford, EastEnders hasn't run out of pre-filmed episodes during lockdown.

Coronation Street is well underway with its plans to continue filming from next week, and stars of the show have explained that their jobs will be rather different from now on.

Speaking on Good Morning Britain, Kirk Sutherland actor Andy Whyment, told Lorraine Kelly, "There’s definitely no no kissing scenes and it’s going to be strange when Kirk is walking down the street with Beth and we can't hold hands."

EastEnders will temporarily air a reduced schedule of two episodes a week. Watch on Mondays at 8pm and Tuesdays at 7:30pm on BBC One. 

Caitlin Elliott

Caitlin is Junior News Editor for woman&home, covering all things celeb, fashion, beauty and lifestyle. 

Having set her sights on becoming a magazine journalist when she was a child, Caitlin took on work experience stints at local papers and titles such as Cosmopolitan, Now, Reveal and Take a Break while studying for her Multimedia Journalism degree and has interviews with celebs, reality stars and the Archbishop of Canterbury under her belt (of course, she couldn't resist asking him about Meghan Markle and Prince Harry). After leaving uni, she dabbled in fashion PR as a Press Assistant for Topshop before becoming a part of the Now team at Future for her first real job in the world of online journalism, joining the ranks as a Digital Writer in 2019. Caitlin went on to add the likes of Woman, GoodtoKnow, WhatToWatch and woman&home to her writing repertoire before moving on to her current role. 

When she's not working you'll find Caitlin sipping bubbles at brunch with her besties, thinking about her next iced coffee, trying to close the rings on her Apple Watch, scrubbing up on her royal family knowledge or scrolling through the Zara app, trying to resist tapping 'check out' again.