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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

Natalie Morales Set to Join ‘The Talk’ After Exiting NBC News

Looks like the The Talk table will now be set, as Natalie Morales will be added to the line-up of co-hosts for the CBS daytime afternoon series.

Although CBS would offer no official word or comment after the story on her coming to the series ran in the Daily Mail, Natalie would join: Sheryl Underwood, Amanda Kloots, Jerry O’Connell and Akbar Gbajabiamila on the panel.

This comes after Morales exited NBC News this morning after 22 years for an “unspecified new opportunity”.  However, she will continue to appear on Dateline’s 30th season throughout the rest of year.

The longtime Today Show anchor told staffers she was moving on expressing in a note: “To my Dateline and Today show families, it’s very hard to say goodbye… and we all know in this business it’s never goodbye but see you later. I’m eternally grateful for the support and deep friendships that will remain no matter where our paths lead.  I have so much to be thankful for and for every one of you who helped me get here… muchísimas gracias mis amigos.”

Tom Mazzarelli, the EP of Today also wrote in a note to staff that “Morales been offered an opportunity she’s passionate about and has decided to step away from NBC News after an incredible two-decade career here.”

Natalie previously anchored Access Hollywood from 2016 to 2019 and continued to be the West Coast anchor of Today.

So, what do you think of Natalie Morales, becoming a main co-host on The Talk? Good fit? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.

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Breaking News

Soap Veteran Michael Tylo Passes Away at 73

Michael Tylo, well-remembered for his roles on daytime soap operas, has died at the age of 73.  Tylo, was most-loved in his role as Quinton Chamberlain, in the Quint and Nola (Lisa Brown) romance on Guiding Light, as well for his time on The Bold and the Beautiful (Ex-Sherman), All My Children (Ex-Matt), The Young and the Restless (Ex-Rick/Blade), Another World (Ex-Lord Peter Belton), and General Hospital (Ex-Charlie).

Tylo’s death was announced by Nancy Uscher, Dean of College of Fine Arts at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, where Michael was a film professor.  Michael died on Tuesday at Henderson Hospital in Henderson, Nevada, following an illness.

In a statement on the UNLV website, Uscher said of her colleague: “Michael Tylo was a beautiful and caring human being — he was so special.  He was an exemplary friend, colleague, teacher, and artist. He had such a distinguished and rich career, but he was humble about his accomplishments. He loved his family dearly and lived a joyous life, but he left us way too soon. We will miss him greatly, but feel deep gratitude about all that Michael contributed to the College of Fine Arts, UNLV, and the world.”

Photo: JPI

As soap fans know, Michael was previously married to Hunter Tylo (Taylor, B&B) and they shared three children together: Izabelle and Katya, and tragically, their late son, Mickey, who drowned back in 2007.

Photo: CBS

Michael is also survived by his wife Rachelle, and their daughter, Kollette.

Photo: CBS

There has been no word yet on the actual cause of death of Michael’s death, while information about services for Michael are said to be forthcoming.  Michael Fairman TV will continue to update this story.

Watch Michael with Lisa Brown in the wedding of Quint and Nola on Guiding Light below.

Then, share your condolences and remembrances of Michael via the comment section.

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Breaking News

Lori Loughlin Returns To Acting; Set To Reprise ‘When Calls The Heart’ Role in GAC Family’s ‘When Hope Calls’

Former Fuller House, Edge of Night, and When Calls the Heart star, Lori Loughlin, has landed her first acting role since jail time and her part in the College Admissions Scandal; where she and her husband, Mossimo Giannulli, paid half a million dollars in bribes to get their two daughters, Olivia Jade and Isabella Rose, accepted into the University of Southern California.

While, Jade is now also in this season’s Dancing with the Stars, now comes word that Loughlin has gotten her first acting gig since all the legal trouble, and while still on probation following her two months in jail.

Look for Lori to reprise her beloved role of Abigail from When Calls the Heart on its season two spin-off on GAC Family, When Hope Calls.

According to Deadline: Loughlin will appear in the two-part Season 2 premiere titled When Hope Calls: A Country Christmas, to air on Saturday, December, 18th.  Lori was last seen on TV as Abigail in Season 6 of Hallmark’s When Calls the Heart before she was let go over her involvement in the college admissions scandal.

Last week, speculation began that Loughlin may be back working after a report surfaced from Mercury News  that she had been granted permission by a Boston federal judge to travel to Canada for about a week in late September-early October for “a filming production project.”

So, what do you think about Lori’s return to acting following serving jail time? Will you be watching her as Abigail on When Hope Calls: A Country Christmas? Comment below.

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