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Corrie's return to six episodes a week 'will be autumn at earliest'

Corrie's return to six episodes a week 'will be autumn at earliest'
© ITV
ITV Studios' head of soaps says that it will take until the autumn for Coronation Street to return to six episodes a week.

ITV Studios' head of soaps John Whiston has predicted that it will take until the autumn before Coronation Street is in a position to produce six episodes a week again.

ITV halved the soap's transmission to three episodes a week in March after filming stopped due to the coronavirus pandemic in order to ensure that it would not be forced off the air.

Corrie began filming new material this week, albeit with enhanced health and safety measures - including 2-metre social distancing - applied to the production.

"We'll get up to six as soon as we can but I don't think it will be before the autumn," Whiston told a virtual press conference of soaps journalists. "It's a phase [situation]... so we'll be up to our three or four units and we'll start producing more so we can build that little bit of a buffer.

"My biggest fear, of course, is that there is a second lockdown or a second stoppage so we don't want to be too aggressive about saying, 'Ok, we're definitely going to be at six by that stage'. But I think it will be in the autumn.

"We have to plan for when certain storylines are going to peak. So we do have a plan that will get us to that. So we have a plan to carry on to 2021 without a pandemic so we just don't know quite where we'll be.

"The other issue we've got is Christmas, so if we get knocked off our kilter then we might have to do a Christmas bubble. But we're prepared for all those things - we've got plan A, plan B, plan C and plan Z."

The first of the new post-lockdown episodes is due to air from mid-July.

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