Wednesday, May 31, 2023
Support Our Journalism
HomeFeaturesAustralian soap opera Neighbours resumes filming, safety rules include no kissing or...

Australian soap opera Neighbours resumes filming, safety rules include no kissing or touching

Actors have to stand five feet apart and there are daily temperature checks on the set of Neighbours, which has been running for 35 years.

Text Size:

New Delhi: Even as the coronavirus pandemic continues and the number of infections and fatalities due to the virus continues to rise, many countries are reopening economies and resuming life.

The entertainment industry has been hit hard by the virus and the restrictions on movement and activity, coming to a virtual standstill as all studio shoots were stopped.

Now, there are some signs of revival, one of the first coming from Australia where the long-running soap opera, Neighbours, has resumed work.

According to the New York Times, the cast and crew members of the show returned to the set for filming, but with a few new riders and rules. Everyone has to stand five feet apart and actors cannot hold hands, kiss or enact a brawl.

The show, which is based on the everyday lives and relationships of people who live on Ramsay Street in Erinsborough, is extremely popular, and has run for 35 years with more than 8,000 episodes aired. The show had been on a month-long hiatus after the lockdown meant a halt in filming.

Executive producer of Fremantle Studios, which is in charge of the show, Jason Herbison, said, “What we do have is a lot of space. We’re able to very quickly monitor everyone’s interaction and footprint, should we have an incident. We’ve been adapting.”

Also read: No kissing, no extras: How to make TV in the age of the virus

All precautions in place

Though work might have resumed, the virus has not gone away and there are many safety precautions in place. All cast and crew members have to get their temperature checked when they enter the studio and the set is divided into separate shooting units. Only three actors are permitted to be in one unit at a time.

Cameras are positioned to make the cast appear closer than they are actually standing or  sitting, and the male actors wear no makeup, while the female actors forego their touch-ups. The set also has no extras. Because of ban on touching and kissing, producers have said the camera will cut away in cliff-hanging moments, like before a kiss or punch.

Stefan Dennis, who has played one of the protagonists of the show since 1985 said, “It’s going to take all our efforts to play our characters as believably in love as what they are without the access to each other’s intimate proximity. Thank God I did all those years of theater training and mime.”

Also read: Coming soon on Netflix: ‘Social Distance’, a Covid show from ‘Orange Is the New Black’ maker

Impact of Covid-19 on the entertainment industry

According to the interest group Screen Producers Australia, the Covid-19 shutdown in the country has cost Australia’s film and television industry more than $325 million. The Hollywood Reporter estimated that coronavirus could cost the movie business in the US at least $17 billion in box-office revenue until the end of May. Closer home, in India, trade analyst Atul Mohan predicted a weekly loss of $10.5 million for the Hindi film industry.

The Covid-19 pandemic has infected more than 4.2 million people across the world and led to more than 2.8 lakh deaths due to the virus.

Subscribe to our channels on YouTube & Telegram

Support Our Journalism

India needs fair, non-hyphenated and questioning journalism, packed with on-ground reporting. ThePrint – with exceptional reporters, columnists and editors – is doing just that.

Sustaining this needs support from wonderful readers like you.

Whether you live in India or overseas, you can take a paid subscription by clicking here.

Support Our Journalism

Most Popular