EastEnders boss Kate Oates was emotional when she returned to set

EastEnders boss Kate Oates has opened up about how she felt emotional when returning to set of the BBC One soap.

The soap producer told Metro.co.uk: ‘I felt a real mix of emotions. I had been on maternity leave so I was coming back after quite a long time so I was a little nervous as a lot of people will have been.

‘The reassuring normality was great and I came back for a really special occasion – we unveiled the mural to reflect what was going on in London around Black Lives Matter. It was a really special occasion.

‘A moment like that, TV history in front of you, I feel so lucky to be here I love everything about the show. I got very emotional.’

The BBC One soap was forced to shut down production amid the Covid-19 pandemic, and — in spite of pre-recorded episodes having been rationed out — it was forced to go off the air for the first time in history.

Filming recommenced in June with social distancing measures implemented on set in accordance with government guidelines, and the serial drama will return to screens next month.

Speaking about the difficulties she, fellow producer Jon Sen and the EastEnders team faced prior to filming recommencing, Kate told us: ‘The biggest thing was going into the unknown which is always weird. We didn’t know how we’d get back to work and there were so many logistics.

‘We still film so far ahead – the news and guidelines change all the time. We have to make a judgement call about what the world looks like when we jump in. Masks are seen in reality more often and so we will see them sometimes, there will be some businesses open, some starting to open.

‘I think they all work but it was hard to work out. The reassuring thing is when we started storylines, it felt so business as usual.

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‘The ambition and the kinds of stories we want to tell felt the same but bigger – we have many more points to prove and so much to achieve. Once all the writers and scripts were back on board, it felt cool to be back.’

EastEnders returns Monday, September 7 at 8:05pm on BBC One.

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