“We will continue to deliver all the essential news and information – with special programming and content. We also will do everything from using our airwaves for exercise classes for older people, religious services, recipes and advice on food for older people and low-income families, and should schools close, education programming for different age groups. We will also be launching a whole new iPlayer experience for children. And of course, there will be entertainment – with the ambition of giving people some escapism and hopefully the odd smile.” – BBC Director-General Tony Hall
The Beeb announced a wide-ranging package of measures including bringing a ‘trusted news’ offering that will provide the latest information on the virus. The news offering will see the corporation attempt to keep a full BBC One service of the UK’s most-watched morning show BBC Breakfast, along with the most-watched news programmes the One, Six and Ten and ensure they continue to perform a vital role.
With Good Morning Britain – branded in ITV News, but not part of it – this week seen to spread fear via its irresponsible and unprofessional male host, the BBC will bring facts and experts to their real news shows, not personal un-educated guess-work.
The main channel will broadcast a weekly prime-time Coronavirus special on Wednesdays while Question Time is relocated to an 8pm peak viewing slot on Thursdays, with call-in audiences and remote guests.
Other projects launched by the BBC will see the corporation record a daily edition of the Coronavirus podcast, and film it where possible for News channel use in the UK and abroad. They will also bring listeners the most up-to-date information on Coronavirus through 5 Live. 5 Live will be answering listeners’ questions with regular phone-ins.
The output on local radio will see open phone lines and expert advice for local communities between 6am and midday. Under the umbrella Make A Difference, every local radio station will join up with local volunteer groups to help co-ordinate support for the elderly, housebound or at risk, making sure people know what help is available in their area. The BBC Red Button will also offer additional information and CBBC is to retain regular updates via Newsround.
“We all know these are challenging times for each and every one of us. As the national broadcaster, the BBC has a special role to play at this time of national need. We need to pull together to get through this. That’s why the BBC will be using all of its resources – channels, stations and output – to help keep the nation informed, educated and entertained. We are making a series of changes to our output to achieve that.” – BBC Director-General Tony Hall
The Beeb has also announced their will attempt, where possible, to help people in the UK deal with the impact of the crisis on their own lives, by providing advice, education and support.
This includes using The One Show as a consumer programme show for all aspects of the crisis. This will include health and well-being advice, keeping fit and healthy eating tips, as well as links to other BBC output that can help and support. In BBC One daytime, Health Check UK Live will directly address the concerns of viewers who are in isolation, offering tips on how to keep healthy and happy at home.
For those online, the BBC Homepage will supply clear information on the issues during the virus concerns while religion is to be brought to the centre for those who can’t attend church services with a virtual ‘radio’ church is launched on Sunday mornings across local radio in England, led initially by the Archbishop of Canterbury.
Subject to outside broadcast capacity BBC One also aims to broadcast a weekly Sunday morning church service and explore how to support other religions and denominations, including in the run-up to Ramadan. The corporation is also looking at providing exercise content for those who are isolating from their regular routines as well as planning for school shut-downs, that will see the Beeb bring educational content to screen.
“Clearly there will be disruption to our output along the way, but we will do our very best. It will take time to emerge from the challenges we all face, but the BBC will be there for the public all the way through this.” – BBC Director-General Tony Hall
In keeping the UK entertained the corporation will be digging into their archives to bring ‘top-quality entertainment’ to the TV channels as well as the iPlayer.
“We will bring back many favourite shows, allowing people of all ages to escape into some top-quality entertainment both on our channels and on BBC iPlayer. New boxsets going up shortly include Spooks, The Missing, Waking The Dead, French And Saunders, Wallander and The Honourable Woman, as well as more from BBC Three.” – BBC
Dangerous views, GMB, covered in ITV News branding, has seen Piers Morgan ranting factless fear.