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Australia’s ‘Neighbours’ First Soap Back In Production During COVID-19; Will Their Blueprint For Safety Be Used By Others To Follow?

Photo: Fremantle Media

The soap that is going back into production first, and actually the first show, period, amidst the coronavirus pandemic is none other than Australia’s Neighbours.

Production is scheduled to start later this week and then in full-swing next week.  According to a statement from the series producers, Fremantle Media “(On Monday) we returned from a scheduled production break, originally two weeks that we extended to three weeks to give our production team time to refine our production model to meet the gov’t guidelines re. health & safety and social distancing. We will be filming with a small unit this Thursday and then full production resumes Monday,”

As to how the show will be filmed to protect the cast and crew during the continued COVID-19 pandemic, Fremantle offered up “Due to the style of our show and the vast size of our production studios and back lot, we realized we are in a position to resume filming in a way that protects everyone’s health and still delivers the Neighbours viewers know and love.”

Neighbours premiered back in 1985  and while over the years it has jumped to different broadcasters (it is currently on Peach formerly Eleven in Australia) it still has not deviated from its 22-minutes per episode, five episodes per week schedule. The soap is licensed in over 60 countries. . If Neighbours did not restart production it would have run out of episodes by June.

As to the filming guidelines that the series has set up to begin taping new episodes, here is what we know via Deadline:  “The studio space has been divided into quadrants, with three production teams isolated from each other and only three actors allowed to cross between the groups. Because of that setup, if someone gets sick, only the group whose member is affected will be suspended and the shoot can continue with the other two groups.   There will be a nurse on set, and everyone entering the site will have their temperatures checked;   Male actors will have no make-up, female actors will not be touched up;  There will be no physical contact between actors including kissing, holding hands or intimate scenes;  Actors will also practice social distancing, with camera trickery used to make them look closer together;  There will be be no outside extras, with crew members already on set doubling as background performers.”

Fremantle shared that no pressure has been put on cast and crew to return, if they are not comfortable. Special measures have been taken for older employees, and the company says it is willing to make further adjustments.

Commenting on the lack of kisses and hand-holding coming on newly-filmed episodes of the soap, Chris Oliver-Taylor, the chief executive at Fremantle Australia told ABC Australia.“It’s going to look a bit odd.  But, Neighbours is a show that can get away with it.  We employ hundreds of staff who want to work and feel they can. It’s important we continue to produce a show that reaches millions of people in he UK and a significant audience in Australia.”

So, what do you think of the safety precautions Neighbours is implementing to begin shooting new episodes of the soap?  Id this the blueprint others might follow in the U.S. to start up our soaps and TV productions? Comment below.

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Ellen
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Ellen

I hope they are successful and their measures can be used or tweaked to help other people get back to work.

Jimh
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Jimh

Foreign soaps do many outdoor scenes which ours do rarely…maybe ours could still do something like this…no people at the bars..no bedroom scenes…maybe on Days for example…at the Dimera Mansion Chad is on the phone with Abigail in split scenes while Gabi stands 6ft away in the doorway arguing with Chad and Abby who is on speaker-lol-this way you get all three in the scene!!!

Su000
Guest
Su000

All soaps have a lot of hugging and kissing
and phoney sex..
the characters are quite close, in all scenes..
ahaa imaging this;
making out wearing protective gear.
it could be scary for the actors, actually.

Momo
Guest
Momo

Wow. that’s very different. We’ll see if it can work.

Rodd
Guest
Rodd

The next couple of weeks will be scary. I’m sure a lot of eyes will be monitoring what goes on on that set to see if they succeed or not. I hope they all stay healthy. If that does happen, other shows in the US may follow.

My concern, first and foremost, is for the cast and crew. As a loyal soap fan all my life, I will watch my shows whenever they return. In the meantime, I’ll gladly remain vigilante for any news on them.

Breaking News

Days of our Lives Returns To Production After Temporary Halt Amid COVID-19

UPDATED:  According to Deadline  the cast and crew of NBC’s Days of our Lives will actually be returning tomorrow, October 20th to begin taping ahead of schedule after a positive Covid-19 test shut production down originally scheduled for two weeks.

The outlet cited, “Following a thorough investigation including contact tracing, quarantines, testing, and a deep cleaning of the studio, the health and safety experts at Days of our Lives have determined that it was safe to return to production before the end of the two-week period. As a result, the show will be back on set tomorrow Oct 20.”

The word of the early return initially got out Monday, although at that time unconfirmed by the show, apparently, via a posting by Lauren Koslow on her Instagram account where she is pictured in a Kate Roberts outfit in her dressing room.

Koslow shared: “Stepping into Monday in alice + olivia black velvet,” She also tagged the post #dressingroomselfie and the words. “Stay strong.”

She also added a quote from poet Maya Angelou: “Love recognizes no barriers. It jumps hurdles, leaps fences, penetrates walls to arrive at its destination full of hope.”

So, happy to hear it seems like DAYS is back … once again? Comment below!

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Days of our Lives Shuts Down Production For Two Weeks Due to Positive COVID-19 Test

NBC’s Days of our Lives is the next production to put a halt in their taping schedule due to a positive coronavirus test result.  This one from member of the production team as reported by Deadline.

The long-running soap will now shut down production for two weeks   According to Deadline, “The cast, crew and staff of the daytime drama were just notified of the temporary shutdown in an email from Corday Productions.”

Taping is slated to resume October 26.  The pause will not delay air dates, and the show’s  original episodes on NBC will not be disrupted.

The individual who received a positive result as part of the production’s Covid-19 protocols has been placed in isolation.   As well, Preliminary contact tracing has been completed, with the people identified as close contacts to the affected individual placed in quarantine for a period of 14 days.

In addition, out of an abundance of caution, Corday productions will have a deep cleaning and disinfecting process for their production facilities, before any taping is to resume.

So, what do you think about the halt in production at DAYS due to a Covid-19?  Share your thoughts via the comment section below.

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FRIDAY: Knots Landing Cast Reunion On Tap From ‘Stars in the House’

Seaview circle comes alive again to benefit the Actor’s Fund when the highly successful virtual reunion series “Stars in the House” hosted by Seth Rudetsky and James Wesley welcomes cast members from Knots Landing!

Participating in the livestream virtual event will be: Donna Mills (Abby), Joan Van Ark (Val), Michele Lee (Karen), Ted Shackelford (Gary) and Knots Landing’s creator, David Jacobs.

Photo: StarsintheHouse

This is also the first time the leading stars of the legacy primetime CBS soap opera that ran from 1979-1993 will make an appearance together since the passing of their beloved cast member, Kevin Dobson (Mack).

 

This event as well as all others brought to you by Stars in the House is to support those impacted by COVID-19 in the entertainment industry and as Donna Mills expressed: “The Actors Fund helps people in all branches of the entertainment industry during this very difficult time.”

The Knots Landing live reunion is scheduled for Friday October 8th at 8 p.m. EST/5 p. m. PST and you can watch it here.

So, will you be checking out the KL special?  Let us know in the comment section below, but first, if you have not done so already, check out Michael Fairman Channel’s sit-down interview with Michele, Joan and Doona from earlier this year when we celebrated the 40th anniversary of the iconic show.

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