Australian TV soap ‘Neighbours’ resumes filming sans kissing, hugging and fighting

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Australian soap opera “Neighbours” is filming again with strict social distancing rule. Yes, you heard it correct. The new episodes will not have any kisses, hugs or punch-ups as cast members adhere  rules imposed to curb the spread of the new coronavirus.

The pandemic has hugely disrupted the entertainment industry worldwide and many popular television shows have had to suspend production.

The cast and crew of “Neighbours” had a month-long break while producers re-worked scripts and storylines to ensure actors were able to stay apart, in line with Australian government guidelines on social distancing.

“This is an unprecedented situation, there is no rulebook for it,” said Jason Herbison, executive producer of the series, now in its 35th year, about the residents of a fictional suburb in the Australian city of Melbourne.

“So what we really had to do was just stop, listen to the government advice and look at the way we film the show. And in consultation with our cast and crew, really formulate a plan where we felt we could all return to work safely,” he said in an interview via Skype.

This included reducing the number of characters in specific scenes. Sometimes they filmed them in “smaller components” before stitching scenes together in the editing room.