Emmerdale weekly episodes cut to keep soap on air until ‘at least early summer’

By PA Reporters

The number of Emmerdale episodes to air each week has been reduced by ITV to keep the soap on air until “at least the early summer”.

The broadcaster has already suspended filming on the Yorkshire-based soap and Coronation Street because of concerns over the coronavirus pandemic.

Emmerdale will now air three times a week – on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

The change, from next week, “to Emmerdale’s transmission pattern will ensure we have episodes of both soaps airing on ITV until at least the early summer”, ITV said.

A cut in the weekly number of Coronation Street episodes, to also screen on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, has already been announced.

Other changes, previously revealed, will see Lorraine and Loose Women stop broadcasting live.

Loose Women will not broadcast live from Monday, ITV has said (Ian West/PA)

“This decision has been made to minimise the number of staff travelling in and out of our studios and working together on shift at any one time,” a statement said.

An extended version of Good Morning Britain will now air from 6am until 10am and feature Charlotte Hawkins as co-host until 9am, with Lorraine Kelly joining Piers Morgan for the remainder of the programme.

“We’re focusing our efforts on providing to viewers the latest news on the rapidly changing situation which aims to offer some stability and continuity in all our lives whilst so many of us are at home right now,” ITV said.

“That’s why we have taken this tough decision to protect our GMB News programme in the morning and keep This Morning on air for as long as possible.”

Some “favourite” repeat episodes of Loose Women will replace the live programme “to give viewers something to smile about each day at lunchtime”.

The new arrangements will be reviewed “on a day-by-day basis”.

In a tweet, Good Morning Britain host Morgan said his co-presenter, Susanna Reid, who is self-isolating at home after one of her sons developed symptoms of the virus, will join the show via video-link.

Last week, the BBC suspended filming of EastEnders and other top BBC dramas including Casualty, Doctors, Holby City, River City and Welsh series Pobol y Cwm.

EastEnders fans will still be able to get their fix of Walford from episodes already filmed, and TV bosses say just two episodes will air each week to make them last as long as possible.

Filming on Channel 4 soap Hollyoaks has been paused, Lime Pictures has said (PA)

Filming on Channel 4 soap Hollyoaks will also be paused and the number of weekly episodes will be reduced from five to three. These will be broadcast from Monday to Wednesday.

A statement from Lime Pictures, the maker of Hollyoaks, said the decision had been made with a “heavy heart”.