The spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus) has had a profound impact on many industries and the broadcast sector is no exception. Governments around the world have imposed various restrictions to try to limit the further spread of the virus, including strict rules around social distancing and travel, which have far-reaching implications for film and TV production.
The UK film and TV industry has responded by drawing up guidance documents to help film and TV programme makers return to production safely and to stay within wider Government guidelines.
Broadcaster guidance (Latest version published Wednesday 23rd December – version 5)
Pact, ITV, BBC, Sky, Channel 4, Channel 5, STV, ITN, and the Association for Commercial Broadcasters and On-Demand Services (COBA) joined forces to introduce new industry wide guidelines for producing television safely during the Coronavirus pandemic.
The latest version of the guidance (Version 5) can be downloaded here.
BFC high-end TV & film production guidance (first published Monday 1st June 2020)
The BFC document is intended to provide high-level guidance to manage COVID-19 specific risk in producing film and high-end TV drama in the UK. In the case of high-end TV drama productions, the BFC guidance should be considered alongside the broadcaster guidance above.
The BFC guidance document can be downloaded here.
Film and TV quarantine exemption
The British Film Commission (BFC) guidance document specifically in relation to the film and TV quarantine exemption, which has been approved by the Government, can be viewed and downloaded via the BFC’s website here.
TV productions quarantine exemption (posted on 7th December 2020)
Changes made to the Health Protection (Coronavirus, International Travel)(England) Regulations 2020 now allow certain persons working on TV Productions to be partially exempt from the requirement to self-isolate on returning from abroad.
UK Screen Alliance post-production guidance (first published Monday 1st June 2020, updated Wednesday 26th August)
The UK Screen Alliance has published guidance for safe working in visual effects and post-production during the pandemic. The guidance aims to provide a framework for post and VFX companies as they transition back to on-premises working with client attendance, whilst ensuring the safety of their employees, contractors, and clients (including producers).
The document can be downloaded here.
Pact Production Restart Bible
On Friday 5th June Pact published a Production Restart Bible for Pact members. The document provides members with the necessary contract wording, as UK production restarts, to address the impact of COVID-19 on production. It also sets out a checklist of key heath and safety policy/production protocol considerations that producers may wish to put in place, as well as draft health declaration wording.
The document can be downloaded from the Pact Resource Library here.
All film and TV industry guidance should also be read in conjunction with the latest UK Government guidance. Productions based in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales should additionally check for relevant devolved Government guidance as it may differ.