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Emmerdale to show characters dealing with lockdown

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Emmerdale has started its "phased return to filming", by recording new episodes showing characters dealing with lockdown, ITV has announced.

Six new episodes are currently being worked on at the soap's studios in Leeds, with a scaled-down crew.

They will explore key characters reflecting on life, and past feuds.

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

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

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Filming on the Yorkshire-based show ground to a halt in March, in the wake of the Covid-19 outbreak.

Now, social distancing measures have been introduced on-set, in line with new government guidelines, and there will be no filming on location during the two-week shoot, which will "ensure it stays on air in June", Thursday's statement read.

'Added poignancy'

Hudson stressed that after seven weeks of lockdown, the new scripts - which feature a smaller number of actors and scenes than usual - 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," she went on.

Other popular soaps like EastEnders and Coronation Street are also due to return to filming in a similar manner next month, and storylines will reference the ongoing pandemic, while not necessarily focusing on it.

The Metro's soaps editor Duncan Lindsay this week argued that such shows should not include the current real-life situation in their "fictional world."

However, John Whiston, ITV's head of drama, said: "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."

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