The UK actors' union Equity has reached a pay deal agreement with British broadcasters to help soap stars through the Covid-19 pandemic.

Production on shows such as Coronation Street, EastEnders and Emmerdale closed down last month as a result of the spread of coronavirus.

Now cast members under contract on the affected shows will get a monthly payment while filming is suspended.

The union added the payments "either meet or come very close to the benchmark set by the government".

Adding that many actors and workers on various shows "are not paid significant sums", Equity insists it had "pushed very hard for more," but settled on what is felt was the best possible result in this "difficult economic climate.

John Barclay, head of recorded media at Equity, said: "By securing financial protection for artists now, we go some way towards safeguarding a vibrant future for the industry when this crisis is behind us and production can resume.

"I want to give a huge thank you to the Equity deps (deputies) on the shows and Equity staff for their hard work and resilience during this challenging time."