Coronavirus impacts on TV networks

The BBC and ITV have announced a number of changes as a result of the coronavirus crisis.

BBC changes

The BBC has announced that filming on contuing dramas has been suspended, following the latest government advice:

“In light of the spread of Covid-19, after much consideration, it has been decided that filming on EastEnders will be postponed until further notice.

“We will continue to follow the latest news and advice from the World Health Organisation and Public Health England.”

Summary of changes announced today by the BBC:

  • Production on all BBC Studios-produced show – such as EastEnders, Casualty, Holby City, Doctors, Pobol y Cwm and River City – has been suspended.
  • Recorded episodes of EastEnders will be rationed – the programme will now air twice-a-week, on Monday and Tuesday.
  • A special coronavirus update each Wednesday evening on BBC One.
  • A daily coronavirus podcast for the BBC News Channel.
  • Regular coronavirus phone-ins on BBC Radio 5 Live.
  • The One Show will become a consumer programme, providing information about coronavirus, as well as health and wellbeing advice.
  • A new daytime BBC One programme, Health Check UK Live, providing an outlet for the concerns of those in isolation.
  • Dedicated coronavirus programmes offering advice to listeners, each morning on BBC local radio.
  • Local radio stations will partner with local volunteer groups to help co-ordinate support for vulnerable members of the community.
  • Increased educational offerings on iPlayer and the red button, with a daily educational programme for different key stages or year groups.
  • An expanded BBC Bitesize service.
  • A Sunday morning virtual church service on local radio in England.
  • Newsround updates throughout the day.
  • A new iPlayer experience for children.

We all know these are challenging times for each and every one of us. As the national broadcaster, the BBC has a special role to play at this time of national need.

We need to pull together to get through this. That’s why the BBC will be using all of its resources – channels, stations and output – to help keep the nation informed, educated and entertained.

Tony Hall, BBC director-general

ITV changes

Key points:

  • Studio audiences will no longer be present for live shows or recordings of shows that would normally have them.
  • Live daytime shows such as Good Morning Britain, This Morning and Loose Women: “Our live Daytime output continues to evolve and contingency plans in place would allow us to air from alternative locations and in more nimble ways.”
  • Ant and Dec’s Saturday Night Take Away will be broadcast as planned this weekend but without a studio audience.
  • Filming schedules for soaps will be revised, to minimise the number of cast and crew.
  • Emmerdale will continue to air five-nights-a-week, Monday to Friday.
  • Coronation Street will be reduced to three programmes a week – airing on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
  • A weekly Coronavirus Report, produced by ITV News, will air on Mondays.
  • If national news programmes can’t be produced in London, they will switch to ITV regional centres.
  • The Voice UK live semi-final and final – due to air on 28th March and 4th April respectively – have been postponed. They’ll be replaced by special editions of the show.
  • Britain’s Got Talent audition shows will be broadcast as planned. There’s no decision yet regarding Britain’s Got Talent live shows.

This week has seen an escalation in the impact of the coronavirus with the Government ramping up measures and recommendations that are having profound implications for people and organisations across the UK.

All businesses are being deeply affected and ITV is no exception, but as a Public Service Broadcaster we remain committed to doing everything we can to continue to provide news, drama, entertainment and factual programmes to our viewers to keep them informed about this crisis and to offer them an escape from it.

The health of our own people and those who work with us remains our priority and we will implement the latest official guidance. I would like to thank everybody for the extra efforts being made in every team across ITV. We are also working closely with our partners in the industry to keep our shows on air.

Whatever happens, we will continue to broadcast our six channels, which, between them, offer hundreds of hours of content every week for free and accessible to everyone in the UK.

Carolyn McCall, ITV CEO

RELATED ARTICLE: BBC News announces programme changes.



PICTURED: Coronavirus graphic. SUPPLIED BY: Online. COPYRIGHT: Unknown.

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