Emmerdale have commenced a phased return to filming by recording six new episodes featuring characters during the lockdown.
Filming was underway yesterday (Wednesday 20th May) at the show’s studios in Leeds involving a pared-back crew to ensure health and safety protocols and social distancing measures are strictly adhered to by the team on set. The six episodes will be recorded over a two week filming period.
“The new episodes will ensure Emmerdale stays on air in June bringing the audience topical stories from much loved characters. Inevitably, with time on their hands the characters will begin to think about what’s important in life.
“We’ll see resentments and past feuds resurface, old wounds further exposed, relationships scrutinised, with doubts and insecurities laid bare. Some seize the opportunity lockdown presents to heal divisions, whilst others get some sizzle back into their lives!
“With the backdrop of the pandemic, the characters also reflect the nation’s immense gratitude and thanks for the NHS with the weekly clap for carers and the people working on the frontline keeping our country safe.” – ITV Press Office
New ways of working to protect the crew and cast have been introduced by ITV Studios in accordance with pan-industry return-to-production protocols for TV drama which ITV’s Health and Safety team and medical advisers have been working on in consultation with the Government. The guidelines underpin everything ITV Studios are putting in place for the cast, crew and production team to adhere to whilst filming.
The measures will include social distancing, filming units staying together to work in designated studios with crew using their own sanitised equipment, office staff continuing to work from home to ensure fewer people on the ground, no location filming, scripts featuring a smaller number of actors and fewer scenes to avoid camera moves. The crew have also attended a meeting with the company’s medical adviser and participated in a health and safety induction which saw the new working environment procedures explained in detail.
The six new episodes, directed by Ian Bevitt, will feature 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, Aaron Anthony), Mandy and Vinny (Lisa Riley and Bradley Johnson) and Jimmy and Nicola (Nick Miles and Nicola Wheeler).
The writers are Adam Sales, Jo Maris, Paul Roundell, Karin Young, Samantha Doland De Vaux, and Chris Gill. The episodes are produced by Laura Shaw and Kate Brooks with Executive Producer, Jane Hudson.
“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.” – Jane Hudson, Executive Producer
John Whiston, Managing Director of Continuing Drama for ITV Studios and Head of ITV in the North has been overseeing the soaps plans to return to filming.
“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. 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!” – John Whiston
ITV announced that filming on Coronation Street and Emmerdale was to temporarily cease on 22nd March due to the coronavirus pandemic. The broadcaster reduced the soaps to just one episode every Monday, Wednesday and Friday in a bid to sustain them in the schedule.