Production on ITV soap Emmerdale has resumed - but with major changes including social distancing measures on set.

Filming returned on Wednesday, May 20, at Emmerdale’s studios in Leeds involving a pared back crew to ensure health and safety protocols and social distancing measures are strictly adhered to by the team on set.

The six episodes, which feature several characters mirroring real-life scenario of lockdown, will be recorded over a two week filming period.

What health and safety measures are in place for the cast and crew?

ITV say new ways of working to protect the crew and cast have been introduced by ITV Studios in accordance with pan-industry return-to-production protocols for TV drama,  which the channel's health and safety team and medical advisers have been working on in consultation with the UK Government.

The measures include:

  • Social distancing
  • Filming units staying together to work in designated studios with crew using their own sanitised equipment
  • Office staff continuing to work from home to ensure fewer people on the ground
  • No location filming
  • Scripts featuring a smaller number of actors and fewer scenes to avoid camera moves

ITV added that the crew have also attended a meeting with the company’s medical adviser and participated in a health and safety induction which saw the new working environment procedures explained in detail.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: SOAP: ITV's Emmerdale has resumed filming, but with new social distancing measures. Picture: Emmerdale/ITVSOAP: ITV's Emmerdale has resumed filming, but with new social distancing measures. Picture: Emmerdale/ITV

When will the new episodes air?

The new episodes will ensure Emmerdale stays on air in June bringing the audience topical stories from much loved characters.

What can viewers expect to see ion the new episodes?

A ITV spokesman said: "Inevitably, with time on their hands the characters will begin to think about what’s important in life.  

"We’ll see resentments and past feuds resurface, old wounds further exposed, relationships scrutinised, with doubts and insecurities laid bare.

"Some seize the opportunity lockdown presents to heal divisions, whilst others get some sizzle back into their lives.

"With the backdrop of the pandemic, the characters also reflect the nation’s immense gratitude and thanks for the NHS with the weekly clap for carers and the people working on the frontline keeping our country safe."

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: PRODUCTION: ITV's long-running soap Emmerdale resumed filming on Wednesday, May 20. Picture: Emmerdale/ITVPRODUCTION: ITV's long-running soap Emmerdale resumed filming on Wednesday, May 20. Picture: Emmerdale/ITV

Who will star in the new episodes?

The six new episodes – Cain and Aaron (Jeff Hordley and Danny Miller), Chas and Paddy (Lucy Pargeter and Dominic Brunt), Sam and Lydia (James Hooton and Karen Blick), Marlon, Al and Ellis (Mark Charnock, Michael Wildman, Aaron Anthony), Mandy and Vinny (Lisa Riley and Bradley Johnson) and Jimmy and Nicola (Nick Miles and Nicola Wheeler) – will be recorded over a two week period and directed by Ian Bevitt.

What have the production team at Emmerdale said?

Jane Hudson, executive producer of Emmerdale said: "Lockdown has created an opportunity for us to focus on what is important in our lives.

"When we first discussed commissioning these episodes back in March the writers instantly rose to the challenge. 

"Seven weeks into lockdown and the scripts have an added poignancy and meaning.  The response from everyone at Emmerdale to filming these episodes has been fantastic and we’re really grateful for their support.” 

John Whiston, managing director of continuing drama for ITV Studios and head of ITV in the North has been overseeing the soaps plans to return to filming.

He added: "It's brilliant that Jane and the team at Emmerdale have risen to the challenge of getting these episodes shot using the new protocols for filming drama while observing the Government's social distancing guidelines.

"Also, it will be great to see what the likes of Chas and Paddy and Jimmy and Nicola have got up to while they've been going through lockdown the same as the rest of us."