Home stay now Away for soapie

The Daily Telegraph (Sydney) - - Sydney Confidenti­al -

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.

Home And Away stars Sam Frost and Ethan Browne.

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