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Neighbours returns to filming but there'll be 'no kissing' and stars must do their own make up

Home and Away is also set to roll again this month.

This kind of carry on won't be allowed.
This kind of carry on won't be allowed.
Image: Twitter/Neighbours

SPARKS WILL CONTINUE to fly on Australian soap opera Neighbours even though the stars must keep their distance, the show’s creators promised after production resumed following a virus hiatus.

The long-running Melbourne-based drama is one of the first shows to press ahead with filming under strict social distancing rules as the television industry adapts to new norms.

Since restarting almost three weeks ago, producers have imposed daily temperature checks, a ban on visitors to the set and a rule that the cast must do their own make-up.

Clever camera work would compensate for any lack of physical contact between the characters, executive producer Jason Herbison told AFP.

“There is no kissing or hugging. However, we aren’t editing characters to look physically closer as such, but rather we are relying more on close-ups to create a feeling of intimacy,” he said.

The show, which has been aired in more than 60 countries, focuses on the lives of families in the fictional suburban community of Ramsay Street.

When virus restrictions forced the production team to take a break in March, its creators immediately began planning how to return under new health guidelines, Herbison said.

“We are taking advantage of every inch of the site and spreading everyone out, creating separate areas which limit the movements of each individual.”

Another popular Aussie TV export, soap opera ,  as the number of coronavirus cases in Australia slows to a trickle, local media reported.

Herbison said industry professionals had been collaborating on how best to get back on track.

“One positive and unexpected consequence of Covid-19 is the way it’s brought producers around the world together,” he said.

I’ve had conversations with contemporaries from Australia, the US and the UK and there’s a great spirit of sharing advice and wisdom.

Lingering signs of the virus — such as hand sanitiser — may show up on screen in future episodes, he added, but a decision was made to leave the fictional world of Ramsay Street largely untouched by the pandemic.

“There’s a creative question –- will our viewers want to switch on Neighbours and relive it again? Or is our job to provide escapism?” Herbison said.

“I tend to feel it’s the latter.”

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Eastenders

In the UK, the BBC has said that EastEnders is set to resume filming by the end of June.

Charlotte Moore, the broadcaster’s director of content, said the BBC One soap would be up and running again, along with Top Gear.

Moore wrote in The Telegraph: “We’ve been looking carefully at how we can safely put some of our shows back into production, and I’m pleased to announce that we plan to begin filming again on both EastEnders and Top Gear by the end of June.

Much like in the soaps Down Under, Moore said that cast members will be doing their own hair and make-up and social distancing will be in place.

In Ireland, Fair City aired its last episode on 12 April and, as of this week, RTÉ said there were no plans yet to return to production. 

© – AFP 2020 with reporting by Press Association

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