Coronation Street producer reveals role of coronavirus in future episodes

Coronation Street producer reveals role of coronavirus in future episodes

Coronavirus will feature in future episodes of Coronation Street but will not "dominate" the soap's storylines, its producer has confirmed.

The programme will reflect the real world by showing its characters following hand-washing protocol, while Weatherfield's restaurants will shift to offering food deliveries.

ITV has halted production on Coronation Street and Emmerdale and reduced its transmission of both soaps to make the episodes which have already been recorded last longer.

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Pictures of the week: May 3 - 9
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Pictures of the week: May 3 - 9
Wendy Doig and Roy Barker from St James Church in Woolton Village dress Jimmy the War Horse ahead of VE Day celebrations tomorrow, as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus. PA Photo. Picture date: Thursday May 7, 2020. See PA story HEALTH Coronavirus. Photo credit should read: Peter ByrnePA Wire
Border Force officers bring to shore men thought to be migrants in Dover, Kent, after small boat incidents in The Channel earlier this morning as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
A man takes a break during his daily exercise at Gorleston-on-Sea in Norfolk as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
A man walks over London Bridge towards the City financial district during what would normally be morning rush hour, as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
The beach as the moon rises over Worthing Pier in West Sussex, ahead of the final supermoon of the year, which will be visible over the UK on Thursday evening. The full moon in May is also known as the "flower moon", signifying the flowers that bloom during the month.
Artist Victor Fraser, from Toronto, Canada, finishes his pavement artwork showing support for the NHS in Scotland on Leith Walk, Edinburgh, as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
A small dedicated team of horticulturists care for RHS Garden Wisley near Woking, Surrey, while spring highlights burst into bloom, as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
Three women wearing protective face masks buy fruit and vegetables at a high street market stall in East Ham, east London, as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
A cyclist passes a boarded up shop in Glasgow with the wording HEROES written on it as a tribute to the NHS as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
A view of boarded up restaurants and pubs in Ashton Lane in Glasgow as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
People exercise near Windsor Castle, Berkshire, as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
Painted pebbles showing support for the NHS and keyworkers, and containing positive messages, which have been left by members of the public on Avon beach in Christchurch, as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
Funland in Hayling Island, Hampshire, remains closed as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
The sun rises over Canary Wharf in east London as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
Sam Orchard dressed as a Stormtrooper out for for exercise in a South London park on the 4th May Star Wars Day 2020 as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
Members of the public stay socially distant on the Central Line as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
A goose sits on her four eggs after she took advantage of the lockdown and nested in York railway station, as the rest of UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
Firefighters observe a minute's silence outside Tynemouth Community Fire Station, during Firefighters Memorial Day in memory their colleagues that lost their lives in the line of duty across the UK and around the world.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson takes a morning walk in St James' Park in London before returning to Downing Street, as the UK enters a seventh week of lockdown to help stop the spread of coronavirus.
Members of the Islamic community in Bethnal Green, east London go about their daily business during the holy month of Ramadan as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
Workers prepare orders in Five Guys restaurant in Kensington, London, after the burger chain reopened eight of their sites, as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
Customers maintain social distancing in a queue to enter a Homebase store in north London, as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
**Parental permission granted** Two families maintain social distancing while talking to each other outside a home in Hampstead, north London, as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
Large Banner on the gates of Captain Tom's house, The Old Rectory during the covid-19 pandemic. Messages of Congratulations all around the village of Marston Moretaine, Bedfordshire, UK to celebrate the 100th Birthday of Captain Tom Moore, who lives with his family in the village, set out at the beginning of April to walk 100 laps of his garden to hopefully raise �1000 for the NHS (National Health Services) during the Covid-19 Pandemic. Press coverage of his walk went worldwide and the phenomenon finally raised over �32 million and cementing himself as a National - and International - Hero. (Photo by Keith Mayhew / SOPA Images/Sipa USA)
A woman pushes a trolley away from The Range in Leicester as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
Artist Symon Mathieson alongside the mural he painted in tribute to Captain Tom and the NHS on a garden shed in Dundee centre, as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
People observing social distancing on a bench in Hyde Park, London, as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
A cyclist passes the closed V&A Museum in Dundee as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
A near-deserted Warwick town centre as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
Kevin Sartorius who is walking 100 laps of Liverpool's Sefton Park, five laps a day which is 12 miles per day on his daily exercise to raise money for the NHS, as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus. PA Photo. Picture date: Sunday May 3, 2020. See PA story HEALTH Coronavirus. Photo credit should read: Peter Byrne/PA Wire
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Iain MacLeod said the show appealed to viewers because it "reflects modern Britain" and that, when filming restarted, ignoring the pandemic on-screen would turn Coronation Street into "a parallel fantasy land".

"We took the view that it has to exist in our world," he said.

"However, I am also aware that people tune into Coronation Street for escapism, to some degree, and to see drama and stories that they would never normally experience in their own lives, and stuff they would normally never see in their own living rooms played out on screen.

"While the virus will exist in Coronation Street, we were also keen that it wouldn't dominate every single story and every single scene.

"If your lives are anything like mine, certainly coronavirus is pretty much the only topic of conversation in my house, but people wouldn't want to tune into Coronation Street and see every scene was people talking about coronavirus.

"It will be there. You will be able to see evidence of it in the way people behave – hand-washing protocols and things like that.

"The way our businesses are run will be tweaked to do more takeaways and the like, as food outlets are doing in the real world.

"But we will still continue telling the same brilliant, dramatic stories with the healthy dollop of comedy that we always do, because to do otherwise would be, again, to turn the show into something the viewers don't recognise.

"It will be there. It will be handled with a light touch. Other than that, our storytelling will be business as usual."

MacLeod said the long-running show would continue to air "hard-hitting" storylines, and not move towards showing only light-hearted content.

British Soap Awards 2016 - London
Shelley King (right) featured in a recent stroyline about coercive control (Matt Crossick/PA)

"People want to watch drama and they want to watch the same hard-hitting stories that Corrie does so well. They don't want suddenly to be watching a different programme," he said.

A recent episode of Coronation Street saw Yasmeen Nazir (Shelley King) stab her husband Geoff Metcalfe (Ian Bartholomew) following months of coercive control abd abuse.

MacLeod said fans should expect Geoff to receive "comeuppance" for his coercive behaviour before the end of the year, despite the changed schedules due to the lockdown.

He said: "The timelines have obviously been shunted around slightly as a result of the lockdown and things like that but I think it is fair to imagine it will certainly be this year, we think.

"What form that comeuppance takes is still in discussion. What we wanted to make sure, in the way we told the story, was that it was a redemptive ending for Yasmeen."

Coronation Street continues on ITV.

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