As lockdown restrictions ease, now is the time to start keeping a watch on whether some of the changes made by broadcasters become permanent or indefinite.
The most obvious superficial change concerns social distancing. Following the announcement about the relaxation of the 2-metre rule, how quickly will presenters start to sit more closely together?
If the aim is to set a good example, will extra distancing remain until the rules are relaxed across the UK?
Production of most programmes has been badly disrupted and it will take a while for the supply of soaps and many other productions to be fully restored. They will be back just as soon as possible.
But here’s s handy checklist of other changes to the everyday schedule to tick off.
- Regional opts during Breakfast;
- 9am BBC News;
- Extended 10pm news and late regional bulletins.
- 10.45pm start time for Newsnight.
- Curtailed regional news bulletins at lunchtime and at weekends;
- Regional weather at 11.10am and 3.59pm;
- STV Central and STV North joint news service;
- ITV branding on UTV.
Of course, there are still many practical difficulties for producers to confront – especially because of any form of social distancing and advice to work at home.
But as restrictions (hopefully) continue to ease and the news agenda becomes more mixed, those changes which stay will start to look like they have become permanent by stealth even if that was never the original intention.
There are cases to be made, for instance, for keeping the 9am news on BBC One as long as the demand is there. It increasingly includes non-coronavirus stories.
Watch this space…
PICTURED: presenter social distancing as implemented on The One Show. SUPPLIED BY: Online/BBC iPlayer. COPYRIGHT: BBC.