BBC Halts Production on 'EastEnders' as U.K. TV Dramas, Soaps Hit by Coronavirus

BBC headquarters

BBC headquarters

Filming on the long-running soap and several other continuing dramas has been postponed until further notice.

The BBC has been forced to shut down production on its popular long-running soap EastEnders due to the ongoing coronavirus crisis. 

"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," a representative said.

"We will continue to follow the latest news and advice from the World Health Organization and Public Health England. 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."

The announcement was made on Wednesday, with BBC Studios, the U.K. public broadcaster's production and sales arm, saying that filming on all of its continuing dramas — also including shows such as Holby City, Casualty, Doctors, River City and Pobol y Cwm — would be postponed indefinitely. 

THR understands that EastEnders is filmed around six to eight weeks in advance of broadcast, meaning that should production shut down for several months, the soap — which has been running since 1985 — could be temporarily taken off air. 

Earlier this week, filming on U.K.-shot shows Peaky Blinders and Line of Duty closed down, joined by Netflix's The Witcher. As of Tuesday, ITV soaps Coronation Street and Emmerdale are still currently shooting.