And in some worrying foreshadowing of what the future might hold, the Prime Minister’s TV address forced EastEnders to be pushed back in the schedule.
During the dark days of previous lockdowns, many have found comfort in settling down to watch their favourite programmes.
So there are growing fears that popular shows, particularly the soaps, will once again have to stop production as they did last year
Emmerdale and Coronation Street managed to ration out their episodes enough to stay on our screens, but EastEnders was forced into having a break for the first time in its history.
Neighbours paved the way for TV shows around the world to plan a comeback, being the first show to put down a blueprint to making studios safe to work in.
When lockdown was eased, soap bosses rushed to get back filming on set – with strict rules and social distancing measures in place.
The second lockdown in the Autumn had no impact on production, but will it be the same scenario this time round?© BBC/Kieron McCarron/Jack Barnes EastEnders was forced off air during the summer, but it won’t be the case this time
Oliver Dowden, the Secretary of State for digital, culture, media and sport, has tried to clarify the situation.2020’s Best WordPress Themes – themeforest.net (Recommended) – themeforest.netAdthemeforest.netLearn More
“For the arts/creative sectors, this means you should work from home unless you can’t – exemptions include for training and rehearsal of performances, recording studios and film & TV production,” tweeted Mr Dowden.
This means that the soaps and other TV shows can continue filming if they continue to implement the same practises.
However, it does not necessarily mean that they will.
There is the added moral dilemma of filming as as a new Covid variant rips through the nation and hospitals struggle with increased numbers of patients.
The case rate in England up to December 30 was over 518 per 100,000 – three times the 151.3 on December 1.
TV bosses will need to look to protect their cast and crews, particularly those who are older or in higher risk categories.
It took a longer time for older cast members, such as Coronation Street’s Bill Roache, to safely return to filming.
However, soaps and other TV shows have proven that they can film in a safe manner with the right precautions in place.© emmerdale/Instagram Safety measure have been put in place to film amid the pandemic
But it might be a very different story across the pond.
Our favourite American TV shows and movies may be delayed for a few months as Hollywood looks to halt production.
This comes after more than 45,000 new cases were reported in California on Sunday and the hospitalisation rate in the state reached its highest since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.
More than two dozen TV series have already been placed on an extended hiatus – with filming stopped this week.
Production has been paused on a string of shows popular with UK audiences, including the third series of Netflix’s You, American Horror Story and Brooklyn Nine-Nine.
While James Corden has been forced back inside his garage once again to make sure his talk show can go on.
The presenter had to film The Late Late Show remotely from March last year, returned to the studio with the crew in August, then briefly shot at home again when he had to quarantine.© The Late Late Show with James Corden/Youtube James Corden will have to film in his garage again
Now several Hollywood guilds and labor unions are recommending that all in-person production of television shows and independent films be temporarily halted.
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said that one person contracts Covid-19 every six seconds is Los Angeles County, while the California stay-at-home order has been extended with no specific end date.
SAG-AFTRA, the Joint Policy Committee and the Producers Guild of America, have recommended
“Southern California hospitals are facing a crisis the likes of which we have never seen before,” said Gabrielle Carteris, president of SAG-AFTRA.
“Patients are dying in ambulances waiting for treatment because hospital emergency rooms are overwhelmed. This is not a safe environment for in-person production right now.”© Netflix Filming on the third season of You has been halted
Another issue is that there is already the risk of stunt people injuring themselves on set, so production companies don’t want to add to the strain already on hospitals.
“Even putting aside the risk of acquiring COVID on set — a risk that we have done a great deal to mitigate through our safety protocols — on set production always poses some risk of injury, whether because of a stunt gone wrong, an equipment failure or a garden-variety fall,” said David White, SAG-AFTRA’s national executive director.
“Right now, with few if any hospital beds available, it is hard to understand how a worker injured on set is supposed to seek treatment.”
Filming is tentatively planned to restart on Jan 11, but it remains to be seen whether that is actually possible with the alarming increase in cases.
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