Producers’ trade body Pact has put together the latest advice from broadcasters for their indie suppliers

Pact members should head to the Pact website for the latest advice as it is obviously developing quickly.

All broadcasters are naturally encouraging Skype or phone meetings rather than face to face meetings with producers.

Channel 4 are reviewing programmes on a “case-by-case” basis and have categorised productions as high, medium and low risk. They review the status of each programme three times each week. Any queries or concerns can be raised with Production Finance. They will approach force majeure issues in “good faith” and try to work with the producer to develop a plan for the resumption of production.

Channel 5 has also said it will approach production issues caused by Covid-19 on a case by case basis. If producers have particular concerns, they could speak to their usual contact under Nan Whittingham’s team at the Channel.

BBC says that producers should follow Government advice in relation to the safety of all involved in the production. Particular care should be taken in relation to overseas travel, participation events and programmes involving audiences. “If you have any concerns about coronavirus in relation to a current or new BBC commission, its impact on production, delivery or contractual terms including insurance, please speak to your Business Affairs contact in the first instance. Each programme will have different considerations, which we can discuss on a case by case basis as necessary. We will be monitoring the evolving medical and travel advice in relation to our commissioning briefings and will deliver these online if needed over the coming weeks. Should producers prefer to hold commissioner meetings by video conference at any point, we have the facilities to accommodate that.If you have any other questions, please contact your usual commissioning or business contact.” David Pembrey, Chief Operating Officer, BBC Content.

ITV has advised suppliers to put together a business continuity plan for the possible scenarios which may occur as a result of COVID-19 including key crew and talent being absent; production and post facilities not being available, equipment being in short supply and whether studio shows can be made without an audience. “We would also stress that it is very important that both ITV and Producers keep communicating with each other and most importantly if there is any coronavirus (COVID-19) related issue that may affect your ability to deliver a programme either on time or inaccordance with the Editorial Specification, or otherwise other than as expected (for example if a cast member can no longer participate or there might be additional costs) then you must contact your ITV Business Affairs contact and/or the Commissioning Editor as soon as you become aware of the issue.”

Sky has advised “common sense” procedures while on set or on location including providing hand washing facilities, sanitising gel and mandatory regular hand washing throughout the day and after touching ‘shared’ surfaces like lift buttons, shared keyboards, cameras, meeting tables. Productions should also introduce daily temperature checks and think about deferring shoots involving crowd scenes or large audiences. “If anyone has doubts about next steps, please contact the appropriate exec at Sky and we will escalate for further guidance. We will of course provide further updates.We all want to keep our productions on track. But I am sure we all share the need to consider safety first.”

Jon Creamer

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