Coronavirus: BBC Commits to Supporting Indie Sector


The BBC has announced a package of measures to aid the independent production sector during the Coronavirus outbreak across the country.

The UK independent production sector plays a critical role in helping the BBC deliver its remit to make world class content for audiences, across all its platforms and services.

The BBC is therefore committed to maintaining the creative health and viability of its supply base across the UK during the current disruption and challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. All content divisions will adopt a similar approach with a particular focus on companies who are most vulnerable, but tailored to the needs and profile of their relevant production communities.

Bal Samra, BBC Group Commercial Director, says: “This is an unprecedented event, which is causing massive disruption in the market, for broadcasters, production companies, talent and freelancers. 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. The BBC will contribute to that across the breadth of our output on TV, radio, children’s and nations and regions.”

Today BBC Content is announcing a five point plan to back the broadcasting industry at this difficult time. The measures announced will provide investment in purposeful activity and enable production companies to continue a pipeline of quality ideas and programmes, in both the short and long term.

BBC Cymru Wales

BBC Cymru Wales has announced a special package of support to assist independent production companies in Wales working with the broadcaster during the Coronavirus crisis.

Acknowledging the sector’s key role in delivering BBC Wales’ content on BBC One and Two Wales, Nick Andrews, BBC Wales’ Head of Commissioning says: “We’re taking a responsible and proactive approach to the situation with the aim of supporting the creative industry during this difficult period. The independent sector provides most of BBC Wales’s programmes, outside of news and current affairs and some of our best-loved and most entertaining programmes, so it’s in all our interests to ensure the industry can continue to thrive once the current crisis is over.”

BBC Radio Cymru’s Editor, Rhuanedd Richards, says: “At this time, the people of Wales are turning to Radio Cymru to provide good entertainment, great company and a reason to be cheerful. With the support of the sector, and thanks to the overwhelming response of our listeners, we are determined to continue to deliver a great service with as much variety in our schedule as possible.”

The Editor of BBC Radio Wales, Colin Paterson, says: “The independent sector has a strong track record of rising to creative challenges – we need that now more than ever. Radio Wales has already adapted the daily schedule, responding to the changing needs of our audiences. Opening up our programmes to new ideas will allow us to go even further, supporting independent producers and lifting the spirits of our audience.”

BBC Scotland

BBC Scotland has unveiled a raft of measures including commissioning two new series on life during the lockdown, funding development of ideas for future production, re-licencing archive programmes from Scottish producers and working with network services to licence recent BBC Scotland programming in a bid to help support the hard-pressed creative sector.

In addition the corporation will work flexibly with the creative sector on contractual terms including cashflow, editorial requirements and delaying programme delivery.

BBC Scotland is also supporting creative initiatives such as Scenes For Survival, a new season of short artworks from National Theatre of Scotland, featuring short pieces of theatre created remotely by leading Scottish actors, writers and directors.

“Scotland has a dynamic creative sector which delivers great programmes for our audience. We know how important it is to support Scottish producers, writers and performers during this unprecedented lockdown,” says BBC Scotland Head of Commissioning, Steve Carson.

In the last few weeks two new series – Socially Distant with Susan Calman and People’s News: Virus Diaries – have been commissioned as part of the move to boost production while BBC Scotland has also relicensed several programmes to provide non-News content for home-based viewers keen for entertainment content as well as public service news and education content.

The move is part of BBC’s overall five-part point plan to ensure continuity and back the broadcasting industry at this challenging time.

The measures announced will provide investment in purposeful activity and enable production companies to continue a pipeline of quality ideas and programmes, in both the short and long term.