The coronavirus outbreak has wreaked havoc through the British film industry, halting filming on most major TV shows. In response, the BBC has outlined a plan for assisting the UK production community.

Given that its funding is guaranteed by the licence fee, the BBC is in a most fortuitous position, keen to show that it’s using this advantage of relative stability to support program makers across the country. According to Deadline, the proposed five-point plan covers the following:

1. Supporting producers with shuttered shows. The BBC stated that it would be flexible regarding delivery times. There will also be cash flow solutions on offer, on a ‘title-by-title’ basis.

2. Doubling its Small Indie Fund. Plans were set out in January to offer access to a £1M development funding pot to producers whose revenue is below £ This fund will now be doubled to £2M.

3. Supercharging development. Although production has stopped, the BBC said it will increase development spending across the program-making community. There will also be clarifications about short- and long-term opportunities.

4. Boosting BBC Three’s nations and regions initiative. The youth channel is looking to build on partnerships with regional organizations such as Northern Ireland Screen to develop and pilot ideas from out-of-London indies.

5. Ramping up acquisitions and archive investment. The BBC has pledged to spend more on finished programs, but also archive material.


‘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 health of the industry, right across the UK’, says BBC director of content Charlotte Moore.

Bal Samra, the BBC group’s commercial director, 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.’