This afternoon, ITV announced there will be a change in Coronation Street’s transmission due to the coronavirus pandemic, with fewer episodes airing each week.
With effect from Monday 30th March, Coronation Street will air on Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 7.30pm. Emmerdale, which is filmed in Leeds, will air Monday to Friday at 7pm.
The statement read: “The continued transmission of both soaps is a priority to all of us at ITV and to our audiences who enjoy the shows.
“Whilst carefully adhering to the latest health advice from the Government and Public Health England, our production teams are continuing to film episodes in Manchester and Leeds.
“With this change of transmission pattern, it will ensure we have great new soap episodes coming to air every weekday night until at least the early summer.”
This is no doubt welcome news to the millions of fans, many of whom will be looking to their favourite soaps for some much-needed escapism and distraction during self-isolation.
Precautions have already been put in place on the cobbles, with Coronation Street cast aged over 70 being written out of the soap, so they can follow Government guidelines and self-isolate.
This includes William Roache (Ken), 87, Barbara Knox (Rita), 86, Sue Nicholls (Audrey), 76, Malcolm Hebden (Norris), 80, Rula Lenska (Claudia), 72, and Maureen Lipman (Evelyn), 73.
It’s also been reported that in line with Government advice on the importance of social distancing, physical contact is being limited during scenes, which inevitably means no more passionate displays of affection.
According to The Sun, an ITV source said: “Coronation Street shoots about six to eight weeks in advance, so viewers might see some kissing in the next month or so, but the scenes they’re shooting right now will have nothing of the sort in. They are taking no chances.”
The Salford-based soap made headlines recently when it looked like writers had predicted the coronavirus pandemic with a scene in which Geoff Metcalfe, played by Ian Bartholomew, reminds Yasmeen Nazir, portrayed by Shelley King, to wash her hands while singing Happy Birthday twice.
The scene was written in December and filmed in January, and although it set Twitter alive with conspiracy theories, This Morning’s soap expert Sharon Marshall revealed it was inspired by one of the writers whose kids used the method when washing their hands.
Elsewhere in soap land, EastEnders, Doctors, Holby City and Casualty have postponed filming for the foreseeable future, while other shows, including Peaky Blinders, which films in Manchester, has also shut down production until further notice.