The BBC’s director of content Charlotte Moore has revealed that the British broadcaster is planning to resume filming on Top Gear and EastEnders next month following the coronavirus production shutdown.
In a blog on the BBC website, Moore said production will restart on the BBC Studios car show and soap opera by the end of June, while plans are also being drawn up to resume shoots on other independently-produced shows.
Her commitment to a restart follows Deadline revealing this week that the government has given the green light for TV and film production to resume in the UK as part of its plans to get the country back to work.
“We’ve been looking very carefully at how we can safely put some of our shows back into production, and I’m pleased to announce that we plan to begin filming again on both EastEnders and Top Gear by the end of next month,” Moore said.
She added that the BBC will be “working within government guidelines,” which are currently being finalized by the British Film Commission and could be published as early as next week. It will mean that crews are set to be “strictly limited,” Moore said, explaining that cast will have to do their own hair and makeup, and social distancing will be enforced.
“We want to serve our audiences and help TV production get back on its feet, but the number one priority will remain the safety and well-being of production teams and those who work with them,” Moore said.
“How we make shows will continue to evolve in the months ahead as lockdown restrictions are eased and government advice develops. But we all want the whole industry to safely return to production. Our shared goal is to find new ways of working to help fire up the engines of British TV production – safely and sensibly.”
The BBC downed tools on EastEnders and other dramas, including Peaky Blinders and Line Of Duty, in March and has been working feverishly to find safe ways of resuming filming. BBC Studios director of content Ralph Lee told Deadline last week that he has been collaborating with ITV Studios managing director Julian Bellamy to get soap operas back on their feet. ITV had to halt Coronation Street and Emmerdale and will run out of episodes in the coming weeks.
Meanwhile, a lot of Season 29 of Top Gear was recorded before BBC Studios had to shut down 80 shows in March. The motoring show, which is moving to BBC One this year, records studio elements closer transmission. Doctor Who is another brand the BBC hopes to have back in production in the fall.