EastEnders forced to shut down amid Coronavirus fears as Coronation Street and Emmerdale announce schedule changes

18 March 2020, 10:21 | Updated: 18 March 2020, 15:48

EastEnders has stopped filming
EastEnders has stopped filming. Picture: BBC/ITV

EastEnders bosses have decided to cease filming of the soap and reduce episodes to twice a week.

While EastEnders has been forced to shut down production amid fears over the global coronavirus pandemic, Coronation Street and Emmerdale have announced they will keep filming.

First BBC bosses released a statement saying filming in Hertfordshire will be ‘postponed until further notice’.

You can find the latest Coronavirus (Covid-19) advice from the NHS here

This means that episodes will now be shows just twice a week, instead of four times. It could also mean that the popular soap will be temporarily taken off air as episodes are filmed 6-8 weeks in advance.

It is currently unknown how long the shutdown will last and how much of an effect it will have on the soap’s scheduling.

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In a statement, a BBC spokesperson told Heart.co.uk: “In light of the spread of Covid-19, after much consideration, it has been decided that filming on EastEnders will be postponed until further notice. The decision was made after the latest government update.

“We will continue to follow the latest news and advice from the World Health Organisation and Public Health England.

"We have also taken the decision to reduce the amount of episodes we broadcast each week to two, so that we can ensure the audience can continue to enjoy EastEnders in their homes for as long as possible.”

EastEnders will now only air Mondays at 8pm and Tuesday at 7:30pm with immediate effect. 

ITV also quickly followed suit with their own statement, announcing they would also be making some changes, but filming is continuing.

Bosses told us: "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 means that from Monday 30 March, Emmerdale will air Monday to Friday at 7pm and Coronation Street Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 7.30pm.

Other shows such as Holby City, Casualty, Doctors, River City and Line of Duty have also ceased production. 

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