On-screen kissing could return in UK after publication of new safety rules

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Actors could film kissing scenes once again following the publication of new safety rules in the UK.
New guidance has been drawn up for productions where actors or crew need to be closer than two metres apart.

While the rules do not mention intimate scenes specifically, the BBC said that for shows to reflect real-life interactions, “we are going to need to film scenes and shows where people are closer than two metres”.
ITV, Channel 4, Channel 5, Sky, the BBC and others have developed the rules for producing TV safely in close proximity.

The guidance says that all other options must have been considered, including adapting editorial on-screen requirements.
As well as drama, the rules could potentially be followed by shows such as Strictly Come Dancing, which is returning this year with a shorter series.

The rules could also apply to shows like Strictly Come Dancing, where dancers and celebrities have to get close to each other

Details of the format for the next Strictly instalment are yet to be announced.

Under the new rules, people having to work in close proximity will have to take increased screening and daily symptom checks.

They will also have to observe social distancing in their daily life during the filming period.

The rules have been drawn up for interactions essential to a script which would require closer contact than two metres.

A BBC spokeswoman said: “Getting TV production back up and running safely is our priority.

“The BBC has already produced popular shows during lockdown following social distancing – from Have I Got News For You to Talking Heads.

“But, if we are to get back to producing the range and quality of programmes that the public love, which reflect real-life interactions, we are going to need to film scenes and shows where people are closer than two metres apart.”

An ITV spokeswoman said: “ITV has continued to be at the heart of informing, entertaining and connecting the UK through the Covid-19 crisis, and production teams continue to work hard to bring back many more loved shows.

“Working with partners across the industry, this advice builds on the industry-wide guidelines published in May and reflect the evolving situation we all find ourselves in.

“Above all, the guidance is there to ensure the safety and well-being of all those who work on the programmes.”

Coronation Street recently resumed filming – but without kissing scenes.

BBC hit Normal People featured several sex scenes and was filmed before lockdown.

Before the publication of the new rules, its intimacy co-ordinator, Ita O’Brien, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that sex scenes might have to be filmed without physical touch.

“There is so much intimacy that we can still tell – intimate stories but through intention, sculpting the gaze and perhaps a movement towards each other that might not require actual touch but which can still generate all that intimacy,” the Daily Telegraph quoted her as saying.

The guidance does not cover Wales, which has its own guidelines.

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