This nation loves reality TV. Especially with covid-related lock-downs keeping us indoors, we want nothing more than to watch Paul Hollywood critique cakes and Essex couples break up and make up just to break up all over again.

But how will our beloved pastime adapt to social distancing measures this autumn?

We’re relieved to see some of our favourites making a return to screens, though socially distanced. So, how exactly are these reality TV shows taking on social distancing?

The Only Way Is Essex

Original filming for the latest series of TOWIE was cut back in March, but the cast started filming again at the end of July. The show is set to return with a tenth anniversary special on 6 September, followed by the rest of the series shortly thereafter.

Cast and production members have been socially distancing on set, with pictures released of them using hoops to mark out their placings on set, and having their temperatures taken upon arrival.

Celebs Go Dating

Channel 4’s dating show was put on hold during the pandemic, with obvious setbacks to the celebs’ ability to attend mixers and dates. Instead, the show created a spin off called Celebs Go Virtual Dating. As the name suggests, the celebs went on Zoom dates, before going on socially distanced ones once restrictions relaxed.

This series aired over July and August and was a mere 5 episodes long. The series featured Love Island’s Shaughna Phillips, TOWIE’s Pete Wicks, Geordie Shore’s Chloe Ferry, and rugby player Levi Davis.

The Great British Bake Off

Bake Off premiered the first look of this year’s series just yesterday with an advert referencing the pandemic, specifically the flour drought it caused a few months ago.

Filming for the show apparently finished in August, and required contestants and crew members to live in a “self-contained biosphere” for the duration —basically a locked off hotel in the South-East of the country.

Members allegedly had to self-isolate for 9 days and take three coronavirus tests before entering the biosphere.

We’re excited to see if Paul Hollywood traded his famous handshakes for a corona-friendly elbow bump.

Strictly Come Dancing

With the show set to start on 24 October, a confirmed line-up is starting to take shape. Celebrities including BBC Radio 1’s Clara Amfo, The Wanted member Max George, and boxing Champion Nicola Adams – who will be part of the show’s first same-sex dance couple – are joining this year.

Though social distancing between dancers will of course be impossible, they will likely form social bubbles, meaning they can safely practise and dance together.

Audiences will allegedly be allowed but will be seated at socially distanced cabaret-style tables with one household allowed per table.

Sam & Billie Faiers: The Mummy Diaries

Though the show was likely easier to resume filming than some others, thanks to the main cast being only two households, The Mummy Diaries started filming again in July when lockdown measures first relaxed. The ex-TOWIE stars have been photographed filming with a small, socially distanced crew.

I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here

Here at The Focus we put together a handy package with everything we know about the ITV show so far.

As we explored, I’m a Celeb will take place this year in Wales, at Gwrych Castle, though it is unclear how, or if, contestants will socially distance.

Ant and Dec recently confirmed while on This Morning that they have joined a social bubble together. Meaning, everyone’s favourite duo will not need to keep a distance while filming— phew.

MasterChef: The Professionals

MasterChef: The Professionals is the first of the UK MasterChef franchise to resume filming. The show returned to its London studios in July, but is apparently sticking to social distancing measures.

A spokesperson for MasterChef said, “We are ensuring that all covid-19 filming protocols are being adhered to as set out in industry-wide filming guidelines published last week.​”

The guidelines advise that people adhere to the 2-metre rule, but when they can’t, to take appropriate steps to preventing transmission including side-to-side filming rather than face-to-face.

Photo by James D. Morgan/WireImage

Britain’s Got Talent

ITV’s hit talent show is normally a spring favourite, but after audition episodes aired on their normal schedule, live semi-finals were put to a halt as the pandemic worsened.

Reportedly, the first semi-final episode will air on 5 September as a pre-recorded run with no live audience. Some acts will happen on set while others will perform virtually via video link.

Though contestants will need to socially distance, hosting duo Ant and Dec will be allowed to come close to each other, as mentioned before.

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