Coronavirus will be coming to the fictional world of The Archers, months after the pandemic reached the UK.
The long-running Radio 4 drama will incorporate the virus into its storylines from 4 May.
Life in the fictional county of Borsetshire has so far remained untouched by the international health crisis due to episodes being recorded weeks in advance.
Due to the fast-moving nature of the situation, the BBC say: “The production team’s priority was recording episodes so listeners could still go to Ambridge in the usual way for as long as possible rather than re-writing and re-recording.”
Producers say the virus will be reflected “in a way that the programme’s many loyal listeners might expect”.
The rural drama will also undergo other temporary changes over the coming months.
Reflecting social distancing measures, each episode will have fewer characters who will be sharing more of their private thoughts instead of multiple characters interacting together.
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Actors are also recording from home to avoid groups of cast and crew congregating in the studio.
The production team is described as “working flat out” over the last few weeks to deliver the new-sounding show.
Due to the pandemic, five episodes of the show will now air per week, instead of the usual six.
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Jeremy Howe, Editor of The Archers, reassured fans that the spirit of the drama would remain the same.
He said: “Listeners can still expect The Archers to be an escape, and the residents to be bickering and as playful and witty as ever.
“We want this new approach to The Archers to still be a picture of the way we live now in rural England that it has always been.
“The Archers will sound different and will be simpler, but I think keeping the show running and giving us all an opportunity to hear from beloved characters will be a treat loyal listeners will want and need.”
The world’s longest-running drama, The Archers has been broadcast for nearly 70 years, with its jaunty theme tune instantly recognisable to listeners across the globe.
SOURCE : https://news.sky.com/story/coronavirus-covid-19-is-coming-to-the-archers-in-may-11965693