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21 April 2020, 11:56
Neighbours has resumed filming for the soap - but will EastEnders, Coronation Street and Emmerdale follow suit?
After just a few weeks away from filming, Neighbours actors will be back on set within the next few days.
The long-running soap was first put on hold on March 27 for two weeks, with bosses choosing to continue the suspension until this week.
But while Neighbours is believed to be the first drama to resume, it will be a very different environment on set to adhere to social distancing rules in Australia.
According to bosses, there will be no kissing or holding hands and the cast and crew will be isolated into three distinct groups.
Camera trickery will also be used to make actors look closer together.
Chris Oliver-Taylor, the chief executive of Neighbours' production company Fremantle Australia, said: “It's going to look a bit odd.
"[But] Neighbours is a show that can get away with it.
"We employ hundreds of staff who want to work and feel they can. It's important we continue to produce a show that reaches millions of people in the UK and a significant audience in Australia.”
Check out this week's spoiler gallery! Everyone's favourite Dee impersonator is back on our screens! To see the full gallery, click the link below! #Neighbourshttps://t.co/q35Vye8AEW pic.twitter.com/OoGaqpAE3W— Neighbours (@neighbours) April 19, 2020
There are hopes the Neighbours production plan will become something of a roadmap for other programs.
This comes after Channel 5, which airs the soap in the UK, previously announced that it was cutting back on the number of weekly episodes being shown from the usual five episodes to two.
A statement by the broadcaster read: "As a result of COVID-19, we have taken the decision to reduce the number of episodes for Neighbours and Home and Away from five to two per week for both soaps, so that our viewers can continue to enjoy them for as long as possible.”
This comes after Australia recorded just 13 new coronavirus cases on Monday, but the Government insisted they would leave the easing of restrictions to medical experts.
There is no word on when soaps in the UK will be back up and running.
But Corrie star Andrew Whyment recently revealed they would need to be filming by the end of June to save the ITV soap from going off air.
The 39-year-old - who plays Kirk Sutherland - said on United Podcast: “I think we’ve got until the beginning of July in the can.
“So we need to get back hopefully by the middle of June with a bit of luck, otherwise it’s going to go off air.”
He continued: “A lot of the airlines have announced they’re going to start flying again mid-June, so I’m presuming if that’s going to happen then hopefully we should be able to get back to work with a bit of luck, so fingers crossed.”