Stacey Dooley steps in after coronavirus forces EasteEnders off air

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Stacey Dooley steps in after coronavirus forces EasteEnders off air

An Eastenders spin-off featuring Stacey Dooley and classic episodes will plug the gap when the soap goes off air because of coronavirus.

Production had to be halted because of the pandemic and filming is due to resume by the end of June.

But the BBC will run out of episodes on June 16, and it’s not known when a fresh run of episodes will be ready.

In the meantime viewers will see Eastenders: Secrets From The Square on Monday nights – a celebration of the 35-year-old show hosted by documentary maker and presenter Stacey Dooley.

She will host the show from the soap’s restaurant Walford East from June 22, with two members of the cast who will reflect on their time on the show and tease what’s to come.

EastEnders stars Letitia Dean, Adam Woodyatt, Danny Dyer, Diane Parish, Tameka Empson and Kellie Bright are among those taking part.

BBC One will also screen “a selection of iconic episodes including the classic two hander between Den and Angie, Sharongate and the explosive reveal of Max and Stacey’s affair” on Tuesdays.

BBC entertainment controller Kate Phillips said: “EastEnders has been at the heart of BBC One since its inception 35 years ago.

“While going off-air was never in their plan, we and the EastEnders team knew straight away that this would be the perfect opportunity to celebrate the show, look back on cherished memories of all those momentous episodes whilst taking a look around Albert Square and they may just give us some teasers as to what’s to come when they return.”

Dooley said: “I grew up watching EastEnders, so walking on to Albert Square was a surreal experience as well as taking a trip down memory lane and interviewing some of the legends of Walford has been great, I’ve loved every minute of it!”

Coronation Street will resume filming next week, while Emmerdale’s cast returned to work last month.

Older members will be absent when Corrie returns, meaning stalwarts such as William Roache (Ken Barlow), Barbara Knox (Rita Tanner) and Sue Nicholls (Audrey Roberts) will be off-screen.

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