The move comes after Prime Minister Boris Johnson promoted social distancing as a way of limiting the spread of coronavirus.
“In light of the spread of Covid-19, after much consideration, it has been decided that filming on EastEnders will be postponed until further notice. The decision was made after the latest government update.” – BBC Spokesperson
EastEnders will have its output slashed by 50% with immediate effect – retaining its Monday 8pm and Tuesday 7.30pm slots – to ensure ‘the audience can continue to enjoy EastEnders in their homes for as long as possible.’
It is not yet known whether the transmission patterns of Doctors and Pobol y Cwm will be altered; both shows like EastEnders air multiple times per week whilst Holby City, Casualty and River City air only one weekly instalment.
“We will continue to follow the latest news and advice from the World Health Organisation and Public Health England. We have also taken the decision to reduce the number 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.” – BBC Spokesperson
The BBC will issue further updates as the situation changes.
The PM has urged brits to avoid gatherings and crowded places, such as pubs, clubs and theatres. The government is also advising people to work from home where that is an option and to avoid “non-essential” travel.
The coronavirus pandemic has also seen filming on shows such as Line of Duty and Peaky Blinders grind to a halt, while live productions like Loose Women and Jeremy Vine have been forced to do without a studio audience.
Sporting events and music gigs have also been affected by Covid-19 with more disruption expected to follow in the weeks and months ahead.
ITV have announced they will continue to produce their serials, however, episode screenings per week, from next week, will be reduced.