'Coronation Street' star Andy Whyment warns soap could go off air

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Andy Whyment has played Kirk Sutherland in 'Corrie' for 20 years (ITV)
Andy Whyment has played Kirk Sutherland in Corrie for 20 years. (ITV)

Coronation Street star Andy Whyment has warned the soap could go off air if filming does not resume by June.

The ITV show – Britain’s oldest soap opera, launched in 1960 – has stopped production due to the government lockdown to limit the spread of coronavirus, and has already been cut from airing six episodes a week to just three.

Whyment, who plays Kirk Sutherland, told The Sun newspaper: “We worked up until the Friday when Boris [Johnson] closed all the pubs and clubs.

Read more: This is the new soap schedule amid COVID-19 health crisis

“We had a schedule to work until the following Thursday then on the Sunday we got an email saying they were standing everyone down.

“It was the right thing to do.

“We’ve got until July in the can, so we need to get back mid-June otherwise it’s going to go off air.”

The government has yet to give any official statement on when or how lockdown sanctions might end.

If filming resumes on 'Corrie' social distancing rules could still cause problems (ITV)
If filming resumes on 'Corrie' social distancing rules could still cause problems (ITV)

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Until then people are being asked to stay at home and only leave their homes to work if they cannot work from home. Production on all soap operas and many TV shows and films has been halted in compliance with the guidelines.

People over the age of 70, which includes some of the cast of Corrie, have been told they are classed as vulnerable and warned to self-isolate at home for a minimum of 12 weeks to avoid catching coronavirus.

Social distancing rules also mean people are asked to stand at least 2 metres apart, which could cause complications with filming.

Read more: 'Coronation Street' actor self-isolating over coronavirus fears

Andy Whyment took part in I'm A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here! in December 2019. (ITV)
Andy Whyment took part in I'm A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here! in December 2019. (ITV)

Whyment, 39, has been in the soap since May 2000. Last year he took part in I’m A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here!, camping in the Australian jungle on a rationed diet.

He said his stint in the jungle reality show had helped him deal with the lockdown: “It’s definitely helped in the last few weeks. On the plus side I get to eat more than just rice and beans.

“But at least on I’m A Celeb I could get out the camp.

“Now the furthest I go is Morrisons at the top of the estate!”

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