Britain’s Channel 4 has set out a plan of action to keep British viewers entertained during three weeks of coronavirus lockdown, including hosting an internet wedding.
The broadcaster detailed 12 shows that will form the backbone of its “creative response to the crisis.” They include a mix of newly-commissioned titles, as well as adaptations to existing shows.
Among the new commissions is Wedding In Lockdown, in which ITV Studios-owned MultiStory Media will help a self-isolating couple celebrate their nuptials over the internet. The proceedings will be overseen by First Dates star Fred Sirieix, while other celebrities will also be part of the unusual festivities.
Other highlights include renowned artist Grayson Perry helping people pick up a paintbrush at home, in Swan Films’ Grayson’s Art Club (working title), and E4’s Grime Gran On How Not To Be A Dick In A Pandemic. Made by Risky Roadz, it features an old lady — who has gone viral in the UK for dishing out no-nonsense wisdom on panic buying — advising the country in her own unique style during a daily address at 11PM.
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Channel 4 has also commissioned a range of fast turnaround documentaries on coronavirus, including ITN Productions films Coronavirus: Can Our NHS Cope? and Coronavirus: Can You Avoid It?. True Vision will lean on user-generated content to track a day in the life of the COVID-19 pandemic in Coronavirus: A Day In The Life (working title), while Britespark Films will examine what it’s like to have the disease in Coronavirus: Living With It (working title).
Furthermore, Channel 4 has pulled forward its new tentpole daily live show, The Steph Show, made by Expectation and Can Can Productions. Host Stephanie McGovern will present the program from her living room from March 30, and she aims to celebrate everyday heroes who are keeping the nation moving, as well as sharing self-isolation ideas.
Channel 4 CEO Alex Mahon said: “In these extremely uncertain and challenging times, public service broadcasters like Channel 4 play a vitally important role in holding our nation together. We are here to inform the audience with trusted news and current affairs, to help them stay in touch with what’s going on around them and, just as importantly, to lift them up and make them feel connected with the rest of the world when they are isolated at home.”
Director of programs Ian Katz added: “I want us to be the place that captures — and hopefully lifts — the mood of the nation, connects people and helps them get through the next few months of uncertainty and isolation with a combination of useful advice, stuff to do, cheering diversion and plain fun.”
Channel 4’s plan of action follows the BBC setting out similar measures to keep the nation informed and entertained. This included confirming plans, first reported by Deadline, to forge ahead with studio comedy shows including The Graham Norton Show and Have I Got News For You.