CHANNEL 4 soap opera Hollyoaks today confirmed plans to halt production from this morning amid the mounting Coronavirus crisis.
The decision was announced by show bosses at production company Lime Pictures – and came after the death of a senior production staffer, though his cause of death remains unconfirmed.
A spokeswoman for Hollyoaks said: “After careful consideration Lime Pictures has decided to temporarily suspend recording Hollyoaks from Monday 23rd March.
“It is a decision that has not been taken lightly but looking after our cast and crew is our number one priority.”
An email was sent to the cast and crew of the long-running series this morning where bosses confirmed the temporary halt on filming.
They confirmed editorial work on the soap would continue, with script writers working from home on future episodes.
Over the weekend, the show’s Director of Photography Felix Schroer passed away suddenly – after taking time off unwell.
Cast and crew were informed of his death and of the decision to halt production at the show’s site in Liverpool yesterday – with many of the producer’s long-standing colleagues said to have been understandably “devastated” by the shock news.
The show has been celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, after first launching in 1995, and airs twice daily from Monday to Friday on Channel 4 and on sister network E4.
A spokeswoman added: “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.
“To make sure we stay on air every week night, fans can look forward to extra special episodes every Thursday and Friday on E4, as we begin a brand new series of Hollyoaks Favourites.
“Introduced by Kieron Richardson and Jorgie Porter, this series will give viewers a chance to revisit some of our biggest episodes, from weddings, bust-ups, heartbreaks and some of our biggest and best stunts.
“We will start the series with Mercedes’ fourth wedding, to Dr Browning.”
The news comes as filming on Coronation Street and Emmerdale was also cancelled.
Loose Women and Lorraine Kelly’s stand-alone morning show are also coming off air for the foreseeable.