“Little did we know Neighbours has pretty much paved the way”

Neighbours star Stefan Dennis has detailed how the 10 Peach drama is succeeding with its model of filming under COVID-19 restrictions.

Since the Fremantle drama signalled a return it has won praise from around the world.

“It’s really weird. On the one hand it’s fantastic, because we’ve got the opportunity to go back to work. And little did we know the production of Neighbours has pretty much paved the way with this blueprinted model that we’re doing now,” he told UK show This Morning.

“I have to say it’s working, it’s actually working,” he added, comparing it to “walking into a surgery” with crew members wearing rubber gloves, masks and gowns.

“Obviously we have to keep the one-and-a-half metre distance rule, that is extremely strict,” Stefan continued. “What we have done is we’ve actually broken the studios up into four groups, four teams, which are all colour-coded.

“If you’re in team A as opposed to team B, we cannot cross over. That’s really weird, because when my son was working a few weeks ago, he was at work and I was at work, and I couldn’t even see him. It wasn’t that I wasn’t working with him, I couldn’t see him as he was on one side of the building and I was on the other.”

“We have medical officers, and a nurse who does a temperature check, you’re not even allowed into the building without being temperature-checked by the nurse and given the all-clear.

“The alleyways and hallways are divided in half and you have to get well to the wall so you have that distance. We do see other cast members and other people, and when you’re in a studio it’s inevitable. You have to, we’re still working. But there’s no touching and a certain amount of actors on set at one time.”

Central to Neighbours success is its large backlot at Nunawading, where the show is the sole site occupant.

But the Erinsborough drama has also chosen not to incorporate coronavirus into storylines.

“It’s a funny old thing, because we’re working on a soap filming three months ahead,” he explained. “It’s a different story when you’re working on a film that might not be released for a year or two years and has a particular story. Neighbours is carrying on with day-to-day life.”

Source: Digital Spy


  1. Neighbours have a longer lead time to understandable not to include it but in the UK with a quicker turnaround it makes more sense to reference it and also means social distancing can happen on screen too.

    So far Emmerdale the only UK soap back filming with six special two handed episodes set in lock down featuring just 2-3 characters per episode.

  2. Instead of competing with UK dramas to try and cover coronavirus, they can save a “mystery virus” storyline for a rainy day in 5 or 10 years, and it can have some familiar parallels, like Lassiters being shut down for a month, teen characters forced to study at home and the inevitable character or three killed off

  3. As much as i appreciate that Neighbours show real life events and occasions taking place, it’s still an escapism. One that I am happily enjoying without the Coronavirus impacting things. Let’s be honest the residents of Erinsborough have enough to deal with without that too. ๐Ÿ˜

  4. It’s good and all, although I don’t know what their hurry was as they still haven’t run out of pre Covid episodes. As much as I love neighbours, I could have survived and finally watched my dvds of neighbours season one lol. I don’t like that they have not incorporated Carona Virus in their story-line, as they are supposed to be living in our world, not a parallel universe. The UK soaps will be doing it, I guess as they have had an actual break off air, it would be easier to explain.

    • Maybe they wanted to keep their 100+ crew in work? If they stop production, their cast and crew are out of a job. Given how. badly their industry has been hit by this virus, they cannot afford to stop production longer than they absolutely have to.

    • I think the view is that soaps are escapist. My concern would be that by the time corona stories hit screens in 3 months it will be the last thing we care to be reminded about. So on that front I get it.

      • Agreed. I like that they’re not bringing it in. People do need an escape from Corona, even just for half an hour to watch the residents of Ramsay Street. I think it’s a smart move on their part.

    • Actually, I would argue that it is a parallel universe, one in which no one does their shopping at Coles, Woolies or Aldi, or visits Kmart, Target, Big W, Myer or David Jones. They don’t sit down in front of the TV and watch anything thatโ€™s currently on the air. They don’t discuss politics or current Australian or world leaders, nor do they discuss world events (the hastily filmed scene about the bush fires earlier this year was a first for them). They do make reference to dates and in their parallel universe, their events are taking place pretty much on the same timeline as ours (with time shifts to account for weekends). Given this, when they made reference to ANZAC Day, they couldn’t possibly have known in January when filming those episodes that the country would be in lockdown on April 25th, so in their parallel universe, it was business as usual. Theyโ€™ve made the right…

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