Wednesday 18 March 2020 2:14 pm

Coronavirus: BBC suspends Eastenders filming

The BBC has suspended filming on Eastenders until further notice due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Soap rivals Casualty and Holby City will also be on hold as the broadcaster shuts down its production arm.

Read more: BBC failings to blame for Eastenders set revamp delay, report finds

“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,” a BBC spokesperson said.

“The decision was made after the latest government update.”

Eastenders, which was first broadcast in 1985, usually airs four times per week on each weekday evening except Wednesday.

The BBC films episodes of the soap opera up to eight weeks in advance, meaning the show will not have to be taken off air completely.

Instead, the BBC today said it will reduce the number of episodes it broadcasts per week to two.

The soap will now air on Mondays at 8pm and Tuesdays at 7.30pm

The decision sparked disappointment among some Albert Square enthusiasts, with one commenting that it would “make self-isolation even worse”.

However, the majority of Eastenders fans said the move was understandable, with many calling for re-runs of classic episodes instead.

ITV said it was “carefully adhering” to government advice but was continuing to film episodes of both Coronation Street and Emmerdale in Manchester and Leeds.

However, the broadcaster said it would reduce its output of the shows by one episode per week.

Read more: BBC’s Eastenders set revamp goes £27m over budget

From 30 March Emmerdale will air from Monday to Friday at 7pm, while Coronation Street will be shown on Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 7.30pm.

“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,” ITV said in a statement.

Main image credit: BBC