The BBC has taken its first step towards making EastEnders in HD after new studio and location cameras were ordered for the long running soap opera.

Although no date has been set for the show to be broadcast in HD, a technology refresh has been agreed as part of a new five-year resources contract between EastEnders production and BBC Studios and Post Production (S&PP).

The deal will see SD studio and location cameras that are “beyond their economic life” replaced with tapeless, HD-capable Sony HSC-300s and Sony PDW-700 XDCAM HD422 camcorders respectively.

“S&PP is buying HD-ready cameras so it is ready to support HD tapeless production when the programme and the channel decide to go HD,” said BBC S&PP head of drama services Paul Austin.

“We are at the start of the process, and while some technology decisions have been made, there are others that will be made further down the line.”

The HSC-300s are triax-based, which will allow them to be used on both the lot and in the studio without the need to upgrade current infrastructure to fibre.

S&PP (formerly BBC Resources) has supported EastEnders production since its fi rst episode in 1985.

It provides studios, technical equipment, technical crew and all post-production facilities.