Australian soap opera Neighbours has resumed production, making it perhaps the first English-language show to be up and running since COVID-19 shutdowns, according to Variety. The iconic show launched the careers of Russell Crowe, Kylie Minogue, Margot Robbie, and The Bold and the Beautiful's Ashleigh Brewer (Ivy), among others.
Production team Fremantle Media announced that Neighbours' new filming techniques would allow for governmental regulations to avoid contagion. It shared:
(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.
Fremantle's chief exec, Chris Oliver-Taylor, spoke to ABC Australia, which reported that "the studio has been divided into quadrants, with an operational hub, three distinct production teams and only three actors allowed to cross between the units."
There will be no more than 100 people a day in any area, we'll implement the four-square-metre rule and the one-and-a-half-metre social distancing rule.
We've got a nurse on set, different catering for everyone, males will have no make-up, women's [make-up] will not be touched up, there are no intimate scenes.
Perhaps most intriguingly, Oliver-Taylor said:
We're going to assume if someone does get sick we don't need to shut the entire shoot — we just close that group and carry on.
Australia is different than the United States for many reasons, not least of which is that its COVID-19 curve has already begun to flatten more than ours has.
But can our soaps follow Neighbours' lead when their casts and crews are so massive? What are your thoughts? Sound off in the comments!