Channel 4 has commissioned a slate of factual and current affairs shows that follow the human stories of those on the frontline of the Coronavirus pandemic and the scientists and experts racing to tackle it.  Story Films, Voltage, Five Mile Films and Quick Silver have won the commissions.

Pandemic:  Can science beat Coronavirus? by Voltage will feature leading scientists around the world debating key questions about the origin of the virus, how it should be tackled and how it will affect our lives for months to come. Commissioning Editor is Fatima Salaria.

NHS Heroes will follow a small group of frontline staff as they self-film their daily lives battling the virus.  The hour-long film will tell the their stories as well as highlighting the challenges the NHS heroes face every day. It’s produced by Story Films and the commissioning editor is Danny Horan.

The award-winning director of Prison, Paddy Wivell, will spend the next few months in lockdown documenting the impact of the crisis on his own neighbourhood for Corona Street, a film that will explore and capture how self-isolation and social distancing is affecting communities. Five Mile Films will produce and the commissioning editor is Alisa Pomeroy.

What did South Korea get right? is a one-off film looking at the country’s astonishing approach to mass testing and contact tracing in order to avoid a UK-style lockdown. The production company is Quick Silver and the commissioning editor is Siobhan Sinnerton.

Ian Katz, Channel 4 Director of Programmes said: “Our first slate of commissions responding to the crisis, under the Lockdown Academy strand, was designed to help viewers negotiate the challenges of isolation and being stuck at home with family. I hope these new films will bring viewers up close with the extraordinary bravery, dedication and humanity of those on the frontline of the battle against Coronavirus, as well as capturing the way in which the crisis has been reshaping our communities.

“Reflecting the full impact of the Covid 19 pandemic and helping our viewers through it is one of the biggest challenges public service broadcasters have ever faced.  These challenges are particularly acute for commercial broadcasters who are experiencing huge disruption to their revenues, but we believe it is vital to keep serving our audiences with shows that help them both understand and withstand the most severe global crisis of the modern era.

We are hugely appreciative of the imagination and resilience of our colleagues in the production sector in helping us find ways to tell these urgent stories despite the huge challenges they face themselves.”

Staff Reporter

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