Australian Soap Opera Resumes Production For A Socially Distant Season

May 14, 2020
Originally published on May 14, 2020 4:29 am
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RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

The Australian soap opera "Neighbours" is beloved all over the world. It airs every single weekday and has churned out more than 8,000 episodes.

(SOUNDBITE OF MONTAGE)

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #1: (As character) Oh, Lynn, are you, OK?

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #2: (As character) I'm sorry...

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #3: (As character) Oh, that is rich, you reporting me for interfering in an investigation when you once did exactly the same thing...

REBEKAH ELMALOGLOU: (As Terese) But life's too short. And I can't miss any more time with you.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

What's most notable about "Neighbours" is how normal it all is. It's set in a fictional Melbourne suburb. And the characters wear shorts and flip-flops while living out their daily dramas. Like the rest of us, those daily dramas have been on pause because of the pandemic. But now they're coming back because "Neighbours" is one of the first live action TV shows in the world to resume production.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

BEN HALL: There's no kissing, hugging, touching of any sort. So if you're in a relationship on "Neighbours," it's going to be a socially-distanced relationship.

MARTIN: That's actor Ben Hall in a video the show tweeted out talking about how they're going to manage the new reality on set. Sarah Mayberry, one of the show's longtime writers, said in an email, she's had to get creative with how she depicts romance by, quote, "focusing on the yearning." Other safety measures include keeping the cast and crew separated in small units, giving everyone a temperature check when they're on set. Here's another of the actors, Matt Wilson.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

MATT WILSON: Everyone wants to stay safe and stop the spread of the virus, first and foremost. And the fact that we get to work and do that is just an added bonus.

MARTIN: The socially-distanced episodes of "Neighbours" will air this summer.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "NEIGHBOURS")

BONNIE ANDERSON: (Singing) Neighbours... Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.