'EastEnders' Adam Woodyatt frustrated by 'painfully' slow social distanced filming

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - JUNE 03:  Adam Woodyatt  attends The British Soap Awards at The Lowry Theatre on June 3, 2017 in Manchester, England. The Soap Awards will be aired on June 6 on ITV at 8pm.  (Photo by Jeff Spicer/Getty Images)
Adam Woodyatt has played Ian Beale in 'EastEnders' for 35 years. (Getty Images)

EastEnders star Adam Woodyatt has admitted he could “fall asleep” on set, as the extra social distancing measures are making the filming process painfully slow.

The 52-year-old actor - who has played Ian Beale in the BBC soap for 35 years - admitted the new method of placing Perspex screens between actors to enable them to stand closer together than two metres while shooting the soap is not always going to plan.

Woodyatt told the Radio Times: “Some days it works really well. Other times, it's been a pain.

Read more: 'EastEnders' drafts in real-life partners for kissing scenes

“If rain gets on the Perspex, you can't shoot through it and you can only wipe it dry with a certain type of cloth. And when we're inside, we're getting reflections.

“Until everything gets back to normal, if it ever does, this is the way we have to do things.

Adam Woodyatt and Milly Zero filming on the 'EastEnders' set separated by a Perspex screen. (BBC)
Adam Woodyatt and Milly Zero filming on the 'EastEnders' set separated by a Perspex screen. (BBC)

“But it's honestly taking forever. I could fall asleep between takes.”

Last week it was revealed that plastic shields had been introduced to the set, which are then digitally edited out before broadcast, providing a loophole to social distanced filming measures introduced in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

Fellow EastEnders stalwart Letitia Dean, who plays Sharon Watts, is more patient when it comes to the new safety measures.

She said: “You can't move for that two-metre stick and sanitiser!

“Filming with the screens took some getting used to, but we've been using them now for two months, so it's becoming second nature.

Sharon Mitchell (LETITIA DEAN) - (BBC - Photographer: Kieron McCarron/Jack Barnes)
Letitia Dean plays Sharon Watts in 'EastEnders'. (BBC)

“And I don't mind the slower pace. If it means we can keep making television, then that's great.”

Read more: EastEnders to use CGI in 'almost every shot' for social distancing filming

It has just been revealed that The One Show is to be extended by 10 minutes to fill the gap in schedules as EastEnders episodes will be cut to just 20 minutes due to the filming complications.

The soap will be return to BBC One on Monday 7 September, broadcasting four nights a week.

It had been reduced to two episodes a week in order to make the pre-filmed instalments last longer.

During the hiatus the BBC has been airing airing classic episodes as well as behind-the-scenes interviews in Secrets From the Square as hosted by Stacey Dooley.