ITV sets out response to coronavirus crisis

The television industry is one of many affected by the coronavirus.

Coronation Street and Emmerdale will remain in production, but viewers will be seeing less of them from Monday 30th March.

Emmerdale will air Monday to Friday at 7.00pm, losing its extra Thursday episode, whilst Coronation Street will be on three times a week with episodes on Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 7.30pm.

“Through a mix of changes to production and scheduling we are confident that we can keep broadcasting new episodes of both shows over the coming months. On the production front we are filming with fewer cast and crew and we’re scaling back location shooting whilst adhering to the Government’s guidelines. From a scheduling point of view we will reduce the planned 12 episodes a week to eight episodes a week from Monday 30 March.” – ITV

It follows the news earlier today that the BBC is suspending production on all of its soaps including EastEnders, Holby City, Casualty and River City.

Coronation Street will be going thrice-a-week from the end of March.

Teatime favourites such as The Chase and Tenable and evening dramas such as Belgravia and Liar won’t see any interruption due to being recorded well in advance of transmission.

ITV assure viewers that they will over the coming months be able to still provide new peak-time programming such as Quiz, Honour, Alan Carr’s Epic Gameshow, Gordon, Gino and Fred’s Road Trip, Harry’s Heroes: Euro having a laugh, Our Queen At War, Absolutely India: Mancs in Mumbai and The Sister.

“However, with the spread of COVID-19 increasing, inevitably our ability to produce shows is being affected and shows will no longer be recorded with studio audiences. For example, Ant & Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway will air this weekend without a live audience for the first time and we appreciate the huge efforts, across production, our on-screen talent and commissioning, that have gone into making that happen.” – ITV

The Voice UK knockouts, which are pre-recorded, will continue to be broadcast this weekend and Britain’s Got Talent audition shows are due to be broadcast in the next few weeks as planned. However, The Voice’s live semi-final and final, which were due on air on the 28th March and 4th April, have been postponed until later in the year.

“We have, however, taken the difficult decision to postpone until later this year The Voice UK’s live semi-final and final, which were due on air on the 28th March and 4th April, and are working to replace them in the schedule with some bespoke Voice specials. We are also working with our production colleagues to see how we can make the BGT live shows work in an ever-changing situation and we will update on this in due course.” – ITV

National and regional news will continue.

“This week has seen an escalation in the impact of the coronavirus with the Government ramping up measures and recommendations that are having profound implications for people and organisations across the UK. Whatever happens, we will continue to broadcast our six channels, which, between them, offer hundreds of hours of content every week for free and accessible to everyone in the UK.” – Carolyn McCall, ITV’s CEO

ITV note that over-70s who rely solely on Free to Air TV will be able to enjoy as usual the content of ITV3, which is the home of much-loved dramas like Midsomer Murders, Foyle’s War, Agatha Christie’s Marple and Poirot. The channel also screens Classic Coronation Street and Classic Emmerdale episodes. Young viewers will also see a ‘refreshed’ CITV Channel schedule from Monday 30th March.

“As a public service broadcaster, ITV has a vital role to play in helping to provide the latest information, insight and guidance to viewers, told through trusted presenters and programmes. Our News teams across national and regional programmes are continuing to produce the highest quality journalism while our live Daytime output continues to evolve and contingency plans in place would allow us to air from alternative locations and in more nimble ways – such as guests appearing remotely via other studios or Skype and FaceTime.

“Today we are announcing a new, weekly Monday night show Coronavirus Report, produced by ITV News, that has been newly commissioned to give viewers an in-depth insight into issues affecting them during the current crisis. We will continue to explore new ideas that will allow us to react to the world around and reflect that in our schedule in the weeks ahead.” – Kevin Lygo, ITV Director of Television

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