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EastEnders set to feature coronavirus guidelines

‘EastEnders’ will feature coronavirus measures when it returns.

The BBC is hoping the soap will resume filming later this month, as the lockdown restrictions begin to ease, but the residents of Albert Square will be seen adhering to social distancing rules and wearing masks on television screens.

Piers Wenger, controller of BBC drama commissioning, told Radio Times magazine: "’EastEnders’ is set in a version of the here-and-now, so when it returns it won’t be a Covid-free Walford.

"There will be social distancing and so on. But we may not dwell on the virus and make it the heart of the story. I’m unsure about that.

"I think people watch a show like ‘EastEnders’ for the characters and their relationships, so Covd-19 will be there but it won’t be the only thing happening in Albert Square."

Production on the Square shut down in March due to the coronavirus pandemic, prompting a reduction in its weekly broadcast schedule from four episode to two in order to remain on air.

However, the BBC’s director of content, Charlotte Moore, is hoping to resume filming in the coming weeks.

The teams "will work within government guidelines", including limiting crew on site, having cast members doing their own hair and make-up, and everyone observing social distancing measures.

But producers won’t dwell on the pandemic in their storylines, as they know viewers tune in to escape from current affairs and "cold reality".

Piers continued: "We don’t know how long wearing masks and social distancing are going to be part of our contemporary reality.

"So if we rush into making them part of contemporary drama it may look dated or odd when it airs in a year’s time.

"People don’t necessarily want cold reality reflected back to them, that’s for news and current affairs. On the whole, we’re watching drama for bigger moral and emotional stories."

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