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Are we going to run out of tv?

From Covid supervisors on set to filming series via Zoom, the UK’s show-runners are doing all they can to make sure the well of stuff to watch doesn’t run dry. Andrew Lowry looks into whether they’ll succeed

When Covid-19 hit the UK earlier this year, TV was one of the industries most in the viral firing line. How on earth do you make a sector in which the whole production model is predicated on gathering large numbers of people in small spaces Covid secure?

With difficulty, is the answer. The fast-moving, largely freelance nature of life for TV or film crews could be tailor-made for spreading the coronavirus (as anybody who has ever heard gossip at Pinewood will tell you). Options were at first limited. From prestige megashows such as Succession and The Handmaid’s Tale having to delay their next season start dates to EastEnders and Coronation Street going on their longest hiatuses ever, few were spared.

Yes, television of course works far in advance and as such there was plenty of stuff in the locker — or just being finished — that was ready or almost ready to roll. But now? Six months on, much of that content has been aired while our appetite for new shows, particularly when we’re all locked up indoors for weeks on end, remains as fervent as ever. So how are TV-makers coping with the task of ensuring we’ll not be forced to — yikes — actually talk to our families over Christmas?

“We joked that it would have been easier to shoot during the actual apocalypse”

- Charlotte surtees

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Emily in Paris

"With Covid, there was no playbook... It really felt like the whole industry was on the line"

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Schitt's Creek

"There are 200 countries in the world, which means you have 200 Covid policies to think about"

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"I think what people have managed, often against the odds, is a real tribute to just how inventive people in the creative industries can be"

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