SOAP fans have been left fearing that their favourite shows will run out of pre-recorded episodes due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
TV bosses have suspended filming on dramas including Emmerdale, EastEnders and Coronation Street and already cut back on the number of weekly episodes. But when might the fan-favourite soaps go off air entirely? Here’s everything you need to know…
- Visit our dedicated EastEnders page for all the latest spoilers, pictures and gossip from Albert Square
- Visit our dedicated Emmerdale page for all the latest spoilers, pictures and gossip from the Dales
- Visit our dedicated Coronation Street page for all the latest spoilers, pictures and gossip from the cobbles
Coronation Street will run out of episodes by June if filming doesn’t recommence, claimed ITV boss Kevin Lygo during a (virtual) chat at the Edinburgh Television Festival.
According to the programme boss, the soap episodes recorded prior to the coronavirus lockdown will fill the schedules until some point in June.
ITV chiefs have already slashed the number of weekly Corrie episodes broadcast due to the coronavirus.
And if filming doesn’t resume, fans will be devastated to know that the soap could go off air for the first time in its 60-year history.
But Coronation Street legend Bill Roache has spoken out to assure fans that even if the episodes do run out, producers will come up with an action plan to ensure viewers can still get their fix.
He said: “We’ve got 60 years to draw on, so I don’t think we’ll be going off-air, even when they run out!
“There’s plenty they can be showing and doing. But I think we have got about four months in all, or probably three more, I’m not quite sure.”
ITV boss Kevin Lygo also revealed that Emmerdale will run out of episodes in May – a month earlier than its counterpart Coronation Street.
The coronavirus pandemic forced the soap to halt filming last month and reduce its weekly TV schedule to prolong its run until more episodes can be produced.
If production can’t resume soon, the soap will go off air at the end of May.
But fans needn’t fear as Emmerdale bosses are considering a number of measures to get filming again as soon as possible including actors being tested upon their return to the set, according to ITV chief Kevin.
He also revealed that older characters will be written out of the show for a while in order to protect them from the coronavirus.
The ITV boss added that Emmerdale bosses could maintain social distancing on set by using camera trickery to make actors look closer than they really are.
EastEnders halted production in March due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
The BBC One soap also slashed the show’s weekly episodes from four to two a week to keep it on air for as long as possible.
But EastEnders fans will be overjoyed to hear that the cast of EastEnders are set to return to work next month under BBC plans to resume filming some shows.
A TV insider said: “Filming will have to resume at some point and bosses say June is the benchmark.
“With strict social distancing and extra precautions on set they think EastEnders could make the transition.
“But they appreciate the health and safety of the cast and crew is paramount and should the lockdown restrictions be tightened, filming will, of course, not take place.
“However, bosses have decided that if filming and production can resume safely, it should go ahead.”
An EastEnders spokeswoman said: “No dates have been set for filming to resume and we will not return until it is safe to do so.”