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'The Archers' to stay on air during coronavirus outbreak with new format

'The Archers' to stay on air during coronavirus outbreak with new format
Radio 4 outlines plans to keep The Archers on air throughout the coronavirus outbreak, with actors instead recording their scenes from home.

Radio 4 has confirmed that long-running soap The Archers will continue to air new episodes through the coronavirus outbreak.

Production on all UK TV soaps, including EastEnders, Coronation Street and Emmerdale, has been halted due to the deadly disease - meaning that they are likely to drop off air early in the summer once all episodes already filmed have aired.

The Archers has outlined plans to continue in a new format, however, with cast recording their scenes from home.

Episodes already recorded will last until the end of April, after which the new 'from-home' episodes will air, featuring fewer characters who will share more of their private thoughts with the listener - and include reference to the coronavirus crisis.

"For nearly 70 years Ambridge has been a haven for our audience, and so it continues to be," said Jeremy Howe, editor of The Archers. "Whilst Coronavirus might be coming to Borsetshire, listeners can still expect The Archers to be an escape, and the residents to be bickering and as playful and witty as ever.

"We want this new approach to The Archers to still be a picture of the way we live now in rural England that it has always been. However, these are unprecedented times and the team has worked tirelessly to make sure we can continue to visit Ambridge.

"I am enormously grateful to the production team, the cast and the crew for all their magnificent efforts and creativity. The Archers will sound different and will be simpler, but I think keeping the show running and giving us all an opportunity to hear from beloved characters will be a treat loyal listeners will want and need."

As a result of the changes, the soap will be cut to four episodes a week from Monday, May 4.

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