The BBC has outlined its plan of action for assisting the UK production community through the coronavirus pandemic, which has ripped through the industry hing filming on most major TV shows.
The BBC is in a unique position given that its funding is guaranteed by the licence fee, and it is keen to show that it is using this position of relative stability to support program makers around the country. Its five-point plan is as follows:
Supporting producers with shuttered shows: The BBC said it would be flexible about delivery times and will offer cash flow solutions on a “title-by-title basis.” Doubling its Small Indie Fund: The BBC set out plans in January to offer access to a £1M $1.2M development funding pot to producers with revenue of less than £10M. This fund will now be doubled to £2M. Supercharging development: While production has ground to h, the BBC said it will increase development spend across the program-making community, as well as being clear about short- and long-term opportunities. Boosting BBC Three’s nations and regions initiative: The youth channel will look to build on partnerships with organizations such as Northern Ireland Screen to develop and pilot ideas from out-of-London indies. Ramping up acquisitions and archive investment: The BBC pledged to spend more on finished programs, as well as archive material.
BBC director of content Charlotte Moore said: “We recognise this is an incredibly challenging time for all of those working in the creative industry and especially the smaller independent production companies. We want to do what we can to keep creativity focused and thriving so that we can continue to bring audiences the high-quality content that they expect. These measures demonstrate our long term commitment to sustaining the creative heh of the industry, right across the UK.”
BBC group commercial director Bal Samra added: “It's at times like these that the creative industries need to pull together — to make sure the sector we return to at the end of the pandemic is as rich and vibrant as the one we have now.”
The BBC is also using its muscle to help the freelance community. It has pledged to make a £500,000 $615,000 donation to the COVID-19 Film and TV Emergency Relief Fund set up by the BFI and the UK's Film and TV Charity, while it joined other major broadcasters last week in writing to the government to ensure financial support is extended to TV crews.
Police in Crowley, Louisiana have issued an apology for using the siren heard in “The Purge” to signal the 9pm local time curfew that has been put into effect in the city because of the coronavirus outbreak via NME. The curfew prohibits citizens from leaving their homes between the local hours of 9pm and 6am. The police department said the curfew went into place because the city is located in the state’s Acadia Parish, which has “received the worst rating for the rapid spread of the virus. It has been put into place in order to try and slow the spread.” Police are giving citations to people who violate the curfew. People traveling to or from work must have documentation from their employer.
An alarm used by police at the beginning of the month was the same alarm heard in “The Purge,” James DeMonaco’s 2013 horror thriller about a fictional America where for one night it becomes legal to commit any crimes, including murder, for a 12-hour period. The alarm in “The Purge” is heard to signal that the killing and crime sprees can begin. The first “Purge” film starred Ethan Hawke and launched a franchise that includes three follow-up movies and a series on USA Network.
Crowley Police chief Jimmy Broussard said in a statement to the local ABC news affiliate KATC that he was unaware the signal being used for the coronavirus curfew was the same signal heard in “The Purge.” The chief assured citizens that the “Purge” siren would not be used again. The siren caused enough of a stir that an additional statement was released by Acadia Parish sheriff K.P. Gibson.
“Last night a ‘Purge Siren’ was utilized by the Crowley Police Department as part of their starting curfew,” the statement said. “We have received numerous complaints with the belief that our agency was involved in this process. We were not involved in the use of the ‘Purge Siren’ and will not utilize any type of siren for this purpose. Calls regarding this matter should be directed to the Crowley Police and Chief Broussard and not the Acadia Parish Sheriff’s Office.”
Universal Pictures is scheduled to release the next “Purge” movie in theaters this summer, but the film is likely to be delayed because of the coronavirus. The studio was not involved in the Crowley police department’s use of “The Purge” siren.
The BBC has announced plans to host a coronavirus telethon on April 23, bringing together its two charity partners, Comic Relief and Children In Need, for the first time.
Produced by BBC Studios, The Big Night In will go live for three hours on BBC One and aims to cheer up the nation by spotlighting stories of kindness, humor and hope during the catastrophic coronavirus pandemic.
Along the way, the show will invite donations which will go towards vulnerable people who have been impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. Comic Relief and Children In Need will funnel the cash to local charities on the frontline.
The BBC said the show would be star-studded, but is yet to name any famous names taking part. The broadcaster’s last telethon, Sport Relief, was hosted by the likes of Top Gear presenter Paddy McGuinness and featured contributions from the Stranger Things cast.
The BBC added that The Big Night In will be broadcast live while respecting “all current social isolating government protocols.” Peter Davey and Colin Hopkins will executive produce. It was commissioned by BBC director of content Charlotte Moore, entertainment chief Kate Phillips and Katie Taylor.
Moore said: “BBC One will bring the nation together for this special one-off live charity event. I would like to thank both BBC Children in Need and Comic Relief for joining forces in these unprecedented times to provide their support to local charities, projects and programmes across the whole UK; and to all of the stars taking part in this unmissable night of entertainment when the country needs it most.”
The BBC’s Big Night In follows similar plans in the U.S., where Jimmy Fallon, Jimmy Kimmel and Stephen Colbert will front One World: Together At Home across NBC, ABC and CBS on April 18. The event, which is curated by Lady Gaga, has been put together by social action platform Global Citizen and the World Health Organization.