The spread of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) has had a profound impact on many industries and the broadcast sector is no exception. Governments around the world have imposed various restrictions to try to limit the further spread of the virus, including strict rules around social distancing and travel, which have far-reaching implications for film and TV production.

Pact, ITV, BBC, Sky, Channel 4, Channel 5, STV, ITN, and the Association for Commercial Broadcasters and On-Demand Services (COBA) have joined forces to introduce new industry wide guidelines for producing television safely in the weeks and months ahead.

The guidelines (published on Monday 18th May 2020) are intended to enable a return to production for the television industry.

This guidance covers the broad range and scale of all TV programme making in every genre for TV and is complementary to the forthcoming British Film Commission guidance on managing the risks associated with film and high-end TV drama production.

In the guidelines, the number one priority remains the safety and well-being of production teams and those who work with them. The guidance has been produced through a collaboration of cross industry experts in this area along with external expertise provided by Dr Paul Litchfield CBE. The broadcasters have also worked with First Option, safety consultants to the media and entertainment industry, to devise this approach as well as liaising with union representatives and the Health and Safety Executive.

The guidance has also taken careful note of the recent government advice on the safe return to work. The expectation is that the guidance will evolve over the coming months as the lockdown is eased, as government advice evolves and as TV productions adapt to the new challenges posed by the Covid-19 risk and provide a framework the entire industry can work within.

The full guidance can be found here.

Broadcasters' support and opportunities

A number of UK broadcasters have announced new measures, including pots of funding, to support creative businesses and individuals during this time.

Take a look at our commissioning and development opportunities page for more information.