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Two-metre poles and hazard tape: Filming Emmerdale during Covid-19 crisis


Emmerdale is using two-metre poles, hazard tape, face masks and temperature checks as it resumes filming during the coronavirus pandemic.

Filming on the Yorkshire soap was halted in March because of Covid-19, but the cast and crew returned to work last week, recording a series of episodes about life in lockdown.

During an online Q&A, executive producer Jane Hudson explained precautions that had been taken to ensure social distancing and to reduce the risk of transmission of the disease.

Two-metre poles are being held between cast and crew to ensure they remain the correct distance apart on set, while dot markings on the floor show where people can safely stand.

People entering the building are checked for a high temperature and hazard tape divides the set to ensure actors and crew remain separated. Actors are responsible for their trolley of props, which are sanitised before use, and for ensuring their scripts are not left on set.

Costume and make-up have been removed from set and some cameras have been outfitted with wrap-around Perspex screens.

Instead of characters kissing, they will ‘hint’ towards intimate moments, while Emmerdale’s producers also hope to ‘point’ towards fight scenes than actually stage them. New episodes will be aired from June 8th, when ITV will reduce transmissions from three times a week to two, on Mondays and Wednesdays.

This will last for three weeks before the soap returns to its previous broadcast schedule.

Hudson said: “In an ideal world none of us want to have a break, but nothing has come before safety for us. As much as we hope we won’t have a break in transmission, and that is what we are working towards, the message we are saying to all of our crews, cast and editorial team is that safety comes first – and we will not compromise that for anything.”

Hudson added that she had spoken to the teams behind EastEnders, Hollyoaks, Coronation Street, as well as New Zealand soap Shortland Street and Australia’s Neighbours, to swap solutions.

“People always think that soaps are rivals and we’re not,” she said. “Myself, (Coronation Street series producer) Iain MacLeod, we have all worked together and I’ve known them for years. We are really good friends, actually.

“It’s just one of those times where, yes, ratings figures are always going to be important, but I just think right now we need to just park them, help each other, work with each other, get back on-screen and then we can get the gloves back on, have a ratings fight when we are all safe and all doing the job we love, and our friends are back working again.”

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