How soaps stayed on air during Covid

Blog > What to watch
12 Apr • 5 min read

No genre attempts to reflect the real world as closely as soaps. Not just in their subject matter, but in the frequency of their episodes and the way the show looks and feels. That's why we've spent the last year glued to our screens - fascinated by how the UK's top soaps kept the show on the road. In this week's blog, we're taking a look at how three of our favourites handled the pandemic.

Let’s start on the Weatherfield cobbles of Corrie. The Manchester-based soap was quick to react to the initial lockdown news way back in March 2020 and immediately adapted storylines to ensure social distancing was adhered to, this meant kissing was placed firmly on the shelf! We also saw the ITV soap take measures to ensure vulnerable cast members were written out of storylines during the height of the pandemic. Hats off to the Coronation Street team here, the attention to detail in both ensuring the pandemic wasn’t brushed under the carpet in scripts as well as following all of the correct Government guidelines is to be celebrated!

Now, let’s move over to Corrie’s Yorkshire counterpart in Emmerdale, and in theory, a countryside-based programme should have had no problem adapting to a socially distanced landscape. Emmerdale used its downtime to show classic episodes from yesteryear, a nice touch that was adopted by their peers.

Since resuming, the show set in the Yorkshire dales has been the biggest proponent of making a clear effort to include the pandemic into their storylines, with characters constantly seen wearing masks during scenes in public spaces. A small, but poignant touch and one that went some way to add another layer of realism that our favourite British programmes crave.

An all-in-all different approach from the two ITV soaps but an interesting one nonetheless!

We saw a different approach from Eastenders however, one that clearly set out to make sure their ‘doof doofs’ were packed with a sense of escapism. Far fewer mentions of anything Covid-related in scripts, as well as some clever camera shots to make sure socially distanced scenes were still brimming with tension!

The East End favourite drafted real-life couples to carry out some of the more intimate scenes instead of shelving them altogether as we mentioned before. We perhaps saw some of the more unorthodox camera angles on Albert Square too for places where socially distanced scenes wouldn’t quite cut it.

What’s been most refreshing with how our favourite soaps have handled the pandemic is that they’ve all found their own ways to make the situation work as best as possible! We’ve definitely found a new appreciation for them now after their very brief hiatus from our screens. Just where would we be without our beloved soaps eh?

Which soap's approach to Covid impressed you most? Let us know on Facebook or Twitteror if you have more to say,  - we'd love to hear from you!