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Line Of Duty fans are in for some bad news as the hit BBC crime drama wont’t return until coronavirus testing has improved, according to showrunner Jed Mercurio. The warning comes after filming for series 6 had to be halted as the UK lockdown commenced.
We shot for four weeks in a pre-lockdown world, and all that material would have to be re-shot if we were going to change things
But since Prime Minister Boris Johnson moved England into the next phase of the recovery plan, the BBC were given the all-clear to continue with production of the highly-anticipated new season.
This may sound like good news, but in order to ensure cast and crew are totally safe, Jed believes it’s too soon to return to set.
Appearing on The Andrew Marr show, he explained: “The problem was when [testing] was abandoned by the Government, we were looking at a situation where we couldn’t apply that.
“Nobody knows how this is going to unfold and we’ve just got to make sure everybody’s safe. I feel for a lot of the crew, it’s a difficult time when you’re out of work.”
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“I want to get back as soon as we can, but that’s got to be when it’s safe and we’re not a show that is similar to the soaps,” he added.
The government set a target of 100,000 coronavirus tests per day across the UK by the end of April and on April 30 managed to log 122,347 tests.
On Monday, 100,678 tests were provided and the government is working towards a fresh target to get to 200,000 tests a day by the end of this month.
The BBC noted that this figure seems to refer to testing “capacity”, not the actual number of tests carried out.
While the figures are still drawing a blank with Jed, he also revealed the latest series could have to be rewritten due to the on-going crisis in the real world.
“We’re all considering [a re-write],” he noted.
“We shot for four weeks in a pre-lockdown world, and all that material would have to be re-shot if we were going to change things. That would have huge cost implications, but we are considering it.
If a re-write goes ahead, he considered bringing coronavirus into the storyline – making the hit series a lot more life-like.
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“Where there’s a possibility of bringing the actual subject of corona into the storyline, where that could make it slightly easier for them to adapt to it, whereas it’s currently not in Line Of Duty‘s world,” he pondered.
“To be honest with you there’s a lot we can do within the industry, but until wider society has the public health infrastructure of test, trace and isolate in place it’s going to be very hard for anyone.”
“I just don’t think, unless wider society has got the process right, we’ll be able to work in isolation.
The cast feel differently.
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Vicky McClure, who plays DI Kate Fleming, added that she couldn’t wait to get back.
“I am [wanting to go back],” she revealed.
“Even if it means re-shooting what we’ve already shot.”
One things for sure, this series will be a good one.
Line Of Duty is available now on BBC iPlayer and Netflix.
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