Coronavirus: 'Coronation Street' and 'Emmerdale' to include reminders about handwashing

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 29:  General View of the Rovers Return Inn at the new Coronation Street set on November 29, 2013 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Richard Martin-Roberts/Getty Images)
Coronation Street will include reminders about handwashing (Getty)

ITV soaps Coronation Street and Emmerdale are going to incorporate reminders about washing your hands to help viewers.

In response to government advice about the importance of handwashing and not touching your face to prevent the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19), the soaps aim to include scenes highlighting the steps they can take.

Monday night’s episode of Corrie saw Geoff Metcalfe (Ian Bartholomew) instruct wife Yasmeen (Shelley King) to wash her hands to the tune of Happy Birthday after cleaning the bathroom.

Medical advice is to wash hands thoroughly for 20 seconds in a bid to combat germs – and the song Happy Birthday is thought to last about 10 seconds.

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Geoff Metcalfe (Ian Bartholomew) told wife Yasmeen (Shelley King) to wash her hands to the tune of Happy Birthday (ITV)
Geoff Metcalfe (Ian Bartholomew) told wife Yasmeen (Shelley King) to wash her hands to the tune of Happy Birthday (ITV)

A spokeswoman for Coronation Street admitted it was a coincidence as the scene was written last year and filmed back in January.

But ITV said in a statement: “Because we script and shoot so far in advance we don't generally reflect contemporary issues. However, we are going to use the soaps to remind people of important public health issues such as the need to wash their hands. We'll try and do more such messages going forward.”

Read more: Susanna Reid reveals how she plans to spend her 14 days in self-isolation

Corrie and Emmerdale is shot six to eight weeks in advance. Filming is currently going ahead as normal.

E4 soap Hollyoaks is also continuing to film as normal, while adhering to NHS guidelines relating to coronavirus.

(left to right) Adrian Dunbar, Vicky McClure and Martin Compston attending a photo call for BBC One's Bodyguard at the BFI Southbank in London. Picture dated: Monday March 18, 2019. Photo credit should read: Isabel Infantes / EMPICS Entertainment.
Line of Duty has suspended filming due to the coronavirus. (PA)

BBC dramas Line Of Duty and Peaky Blinders have suspended filming.

Police drama Line of Duty – starring Martin Compston, Vicky McClure, Adrian Dunbar and Kelly Macdonald – tweeted a statement: “In light of the spread of Covid-19, after much consideration, @worldprods are suspending filming of #LineofDuty S6 with the support of the BBC.”

Period crime drama Peaky Blinders, which stars Cillian Murphy and Helen McCrory, announced: "After much consideration and in light of the developing situation concerning Covid-19, the start of production of Peaky Blinders series 6 has been postponed."

And as part of the limit on mass gatherings ITV daytime show Loose Women is not being filmed with a live audience in the studio.

Read more: Idris Elba reveals he's tested positive for COVID-19

A statement said: "In order to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, ITV has asked all producers to consider whether shows which normally have a live audience can be made without one.

“Decisions need to be made on a show by show basis, in consultation with commissioning teams [at ITV network] and taking into account the role of the audience in each show.

“Although we love to have an audience on Loose Women, we are following this guidance and adapting the show during this period so we don't have an audience on set."

A BBC spokesman said of shows filmed in front of a live audience: “We will continue to review all productions on a case by case basis and will continue to follow the latest news and advice from the Foreign Office, World Health Organisation and Public Health England.”