The Daily Telegraph (Sydney)
Home stay now Away for soapie
Home And Away will soon resume production after an almost two month break due to coronavirus. Like productions around the world, stars of the popular Channel 7 TV soap have been on a forced break to reduce the risk of spreading the COVID-19 illness.
Storylines will however be reworked to reduce close contact between actors with other precautions also to be taken.
“A range of measures will be in place to minimise risk for cast and crew, to be overseen by dedicated safety officers,” a Seven spokeswoman said. “The measures include temperature checks on arrival, increased hygiene practices and rigorous cleaning schedules. Scripts will also be reworked to reduce close contact, in constant consultation with the cast and crew to ensure the health and safety of all.”
Production will resume on May 25 at Seven’s Sydney studios in Eveleigh with location shoots at Palm Beach understood to be on hold for now.
The seven-week break included the annual Easter holiday period, during which production usually shuts down for 10 days.
Last month, rival soap Neighbours got back to work in Melbourne after a shorter break, also implementing measures to ensure safety of the cast and crew.
There, temperatures are also being checked on arrival, no mobile phones are allowed and cast chill-out areas have been closed.
“It is our goal that impact to the screen will be minimal,” Neighbours executive producer Jason Herbison said at the time. “We love a challenge and so far, we have found creative solutions to every issue.”
Television and film productions around the world have been crippled as the coronavirus forced closures of sets and pushed show and movie release dates back.
On productions that are still shooting like The Project, studio audiences have been cancelled and presenters are separated.
Shows like Home And Away and Neighbours were under added pressure to begin shooting again as they air daily on weeknights and film with just a few weeks buffer.
Other measures on Neighbours include cast and crew being divided into different groups with limited crossover and episodes rewritten to ensure fewer actors in each scene.