Filming suspended on EastEnders, Coronation Street changes schedule due to coronavirus

Filming on the BBC staple EastEnders has been suspended in the wake of government advice on the coronavirus outbreak.

The broadcaster said filming on all BBC Studios continuing dramas - including Casualty, Doctors, River City and Holby City - will be temporarily halted.

Only two episodes of EastEnders - which is filmed months in advance - will be aired a week.

The BBC said it made the decision following government advice.

"Filming on EastEnders will be postponed until further notice," it said.

“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.”

PA reports the show has already stopped filming.

ITV soaps Coronation Street and Emmerdale said filming would continue on new episodes in Manchester and Leeds, "while carefully adhering to the latest health advice."

But both shows would change transmission patterns, ITV said, in response to the coronavirus outbreak. From March 30, Emmerdale will air Monday to Friday at 7pm and Coronation Street 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.

Emmerdale will continue filming episodes despite the coronavirus outbreak. Credit: PA

The two soaps - which are also filmed months in advance - said they would introduce messaging on hand washing and good hygiene in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.

An ITV spokesperson said episodes generally did not "reflect contemporary issues" because "we script and shoot so far in advance."

"However we are going to use the soaps to remind people of important public health issues such as the need to wash their hands," the spokesperson said.Earlier in March an unnamed cast member from Coronation Street entered precautionary self-isolation over fears that they had contracted coronavirus, but later returned to work after being assured by health workers they could safely continue filming.

Coronation Street will feature messaging on the importance of hand washing in future episodes. Credit: PA

The soap joins many other British and international TV shows that have halted filming in response to the virus.

Ant and Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway will continue filming, but without its studio audience.

BBC and Netflix drama Peaky Blinders has been postponed, US sketch show Saturday Night Live will not resume "until further notice", and Amazon's mammoth Lord of the Rings TV series production has been suspended.

Netflix has announced it will halt production on Season 4 of Stranger Things, and has put a two-week freeze on all scripted TV and film production in the US and Canada.

Talk show hosts in the United States - like Ellen DeGeneres, Jimmy Fallon, James Cordon, Seth Meyers and Stephen Colbert - have all had their shows postponed.

FX, Warner Bros, Apple, and NBC Universal all announced they would scale back production on their shows too.

The WWE announced Wrestlemania would go ahead as planned on April 5, but no fans would be allowed inside the venue.