EastEnders returning back four-nights-a-week schedule with 20 minutes episodes

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When the show comes back to screens later this year, EastEnders will switch back to a four-nights-per-week schedule.

Show bosses cut episodes to a slightly shorter length of 20 minutes in order to make a change possible.

The next week after new episodes running out that were filmed before the UK lockdown, the BBC soap will go off the air. Filming on EastEnders will also resume at the BBC Elstree studios at the end of June.

The executive producer of EastEnders, Jon Sen, commented: “Resuming production is incredibly exciting and also challenging.

“Since we’ve postponed shooting, we’ve been working on non-stop trialling techniques, filming methods, and new ways of working so that we can go back to the screens four times a week – as EastEnders should be.

“Filming will inevitably be a more complicated process now, so creating 20-minute episodes would enable us to ensure that when we come back, EastEnders will still be the show that the audience know and love.”

The show has only aired two nights a week – Mondays and Tuesdays – since filming on EastEnders went on hold in March.

The upcoming change will ensure that even spread of EastEnders throughout the week again – a welcome step back to business as usual for soap viewers.

Length of the short episode is a temporary measure, as filming is affected the COVID-19 pandemic.

EastEnders usually airs longer episodes than other soaps, as BBC One doesn’t have adverts.

The temporary measure would put the show into line with other serial dramas like Coronation Street, Emmerdale and Hollyoaks, which continue to run for around 23 minutes per episode.

When production resumes on EastEnders in the coming weeks, all cast and crew will follow strict government guidelines and social distancing measures.

While the shooting has been on hold, the EastEnders team worked on plans to maintain the show’s quality, with the current restrictions in place.

Some of the production team already have experience in socially distant shooting from working on the upcoming Talking Heads revival in BBC One, which was produced on the East Enders back in April.

The techniques learnt from that will now be applied on a much wider scale as EastEnders returns to work.

An official return date for the new episodes of EastEnders is yet to be announced, but some speculation has been raised that the show will be off-air until September.

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