ABC is not expecting to resume Drama production until towards the end of the year as it navigates new protocols which impact on filming, and it awaits the return of international actors.
Michael Carrington, ABC Director of Entertainment & Specialist content told C21, “As we move towards the end of the year and the regulations lift, we will pivot quite quickly to a return to production. But we had a couple of major series almost complete, Harrow and Wakefield are 2 big series for our primetime slot on Sunday that we had to stop.
“So we’ve continued to script and to do other development work, ready to go on location and to start filming those again. The issue we’ll have though is that remote Australia, where we mostly film, has large indigenous communities and those communities are the most vulnerable, as it turns out, with regards to COVID-19.
“So it’s likely that the locations we use won’t be available to us until…. towards Christmas, probably, which isn’t too bad. But then the summer hits and the temperatures rise, and it all becomes quite difficult. So we’re still in the planning stage.
“We don’t see production happening very soon. We’re taking our time. We’re working through what the new protocols might be, in terms of introducing a Safety Officer, for example, who’ll be responsible for maintaining the physical distancing in helping us with actors.
“That’s a big challenge for us. How do we do performance when you have to stay apart? How many crew can be on location with you? How do you get make-up and hair and costume? All of that stuff is still being worked out. It’s early days for us. We see the light at the end of the tunnel, but probably not till the end of the year.
“I guess another aspect to getting back into production is that some of our shows, particularly the high end drama, usually has an international talent as either a lead or as part of the main cast.
“Those people quickly left Australia and are now home either in the UK or Los Angeles or other places, and there’ll be some time before Australia starts flying again and allowing people to come in. So we’re also working with a screen agencies here in Australia and the government on what that might look like and potentially how we bring cast back to Australia to help us finish those series and start new ones.”