Australia’s soap opera ‘Neighbours’ to restart production amid pandemic


Australia’s long-running soap opera Neighbours got a green light to start filming again. But they will be following a protocol.

According to reports, the show is believed to be the first English-speaking TV drama to ever return to filming after a month-long suspension.

Several production of shows including Neighbours had to be stopped because of the health crisis situation going on all over the world.

Even Hollywood had to shut down and some titles were forced to abruptly end due to lack of filmed scenes.

However, with the production restart of the Australian drama, it could mean that other shows could follow soon.

Observing a strict protocol

Shooting the series isn’t going to be the same as usual though. The show has come up with a guideline plan to ensure that they will still be maintaining safety measures.

The goal is to make sure to keep everyone involved safe. And if they simply follow the rules and measures, they may be able to successfully set an example to other productions.

First of all, the actors are not allowed to hold hands, kiss or do any intimate scenes.

The studio space will be in quadrants and will divide the crew into different sections. Only three actors will be allowed to cross-over the lines. Filming will also not have more than 100 people a day in the area.

“We’ll implement the four-square-meter rule and the one-and-a-half-meter social distancing rule,” Fremantle Australia boss Chris Oliver-Taylor told Australia’s ABC

The setup is designed to easily perform contact tracing should there be anyone who will get infected with the virus. There will also be a nurse on set who will be taking temperatures of everyone entering the site.

Executive producer Jason Herbison said that they have one of the largest studios and back lots in the Southern Hemisphere. This makes it possible for them to resume filming while still protecting their health.

No extras, no make-up artists

The show will also have no outside extras. Instead, they will be using the crew on set doubling as background performers. The stars will also have to take of themselves as their will be no make-up artist around.

The guidelines may cause some difficulties in making the show appear realistic. But Herbison said that they will be using creative editing. The use of camera tricks will not make the safety measures too obvious in the scenes.

“We are also ready to adapt the production further if required,” said Herbison.

Neighbours first aired on TV in 1985 and it seems not even a pandemic can stop it from airing new episodes.

Featured image courtesy of Neighbours/YouTube screenshot

Charmaine Vega

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Charmaine Vega

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