Hollyoaks has become the last UK soap to announce that it has shut down production and filming amid the Coronavirus epidemic. It comes after the government has urged extra measures to be taken for isolation including closing down pubs, theatres and gyms.

The soap had already cut down to three weekly episodes with Lime Pictures taking every necessary precaution and guidance to make it safe for cast and crew to carry on.

All staff not needed to be on set have been working from home and storyline adaptions and writing will continue during the hiatus.

A spokesperson for the show said in a statement: Dear Hollyoaks viewers. It is with a heavy heart that we have made the decision to pause filming of Hollyoaks.

‘From Monday 30th March, we will be reducing the number of our weekly new episodes from five down to three, which will air Monday to Wednesday. To make sure we stay on air every week night, fans can look forward to extra special episodes every Thursday and Friday on E4.

We will remain as present as ever on our social platforms so please keep in touch with us here, stay safe and take care of yourselves. Thank you for your ongoing support.

‘We begin a brand new series of ‘Hollyoaks Favourites’. Introduced by Kieron Richardson and Jorgie Porter, this series will give viewers a chance to revisit some of our biggest episodes, from weddings, bust-ups, heartbreaks and some of our biggest and best stunts.

‘We will start the series with Mercedes’ fourth wedding, to Dr Browning. Soaps are an important part of people’s lives and we have 25 years of Hollyoaks Favourites to revisit over coming weeks, celebrating the history of the show that you love.’

The news comes after ITV announced they would be shutting down production on Coronation Street and Emmerdale after making all efforts to continue to keep episodes going.

It is the first time in the history of Coronation Street that it has had to stop production and will likely impact on storyline plans for the 60th anniversary if the shutdown is long term.

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Similarly for Hollyoaks, an intricate storyline was storylined and scenes from New Year’s Eve 2020 had already been shown a year in advance but depending on the time the show has to be off production, some creative changes may have to be made to this too.

BBC had previously shut down EastEnders, Holby City, Casualty, River City, Doctors and Pobol y Cwm.

In Australia, Home and Away has ceased production although Neighbours cast and crew have returned to work for now after a week’s hiatus.

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