MediaCity in Salford, Greater Manchester, began its rapid expansion into a world-leading TV production centre 10 years ago, when BBC staff moved in soon after Dock 10 launched its new studios and post-production business.
Back in 2007, when Salford City Council and the Peel Group won their joint bid to house the BBC’s new northern base, I received a call from a very animated Felicity Goodey, the main visionary behind the project.
RTS NETB explores how teams got creative to keep dramas and soaps such as Vera and Emmerdale in production during lockdown.
The “Covid – creativity in a Crisis” panel includes Emmerdale director Ian Bevitt, Danny & Mick production co-ordinator Victoria Griffin, Teesside-based independent producer Matt McGough (Ithica Films) and Fahima Chowdhury, Line Producer for Vera.
Jane Millichip: Chief Creative Officer, Sky Studios
Wayne Garvie: President of International Production, Sony Pictures International
Seetha Kumar: CEO ScreenSkills
Roger Morris: MD Elstree Studios
Fast-tracking new and diverse talent into a variety of roles, the scheme will offer year-long contracts to successful candidates as well as mentoring and training.
The Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols from Kings College, Cambridge, was first held on Christmas Eve 1918. Its fame grew after the service was heard on radio in 1928 and, with the exception of 1930, it has been broadcast at home and abroad ever since. In 1954 Christmas Carols from Kings was televised on Christmas Day as part of a live exchange of programmes with other countries with Midnight Mass coming from Paris on Christmas Eve and Winter Games from Switzerland on Boxing Day.
In late August, RTS London invited a panel of Arrow representatives, chaired by Muki Kulhan, to explain how the factual indie did it.
Production executive Carrie Pennifer explained that lockdown had meant no shooting or access to the edit suite, and everyone working remotely. Post-production manager Kyran Speirs had more than 20 unfinished programmes to deliver.
Unprecedented times demand creative thinking. An RTS webinar heard that shows as different as ITV’s Coronation Street, the BBC’s Top Gear and Channel 4’s Sunday Brunch have all learnt how to adapt their production routines to keep cast and crew safe in the age of Covid-19.
Nearly nine in every 10 people working in the sector have experienced mental health problems, according to research from The Film and TV Charity, which co-hosted the online event in early June.
“That is significantly higher than the UK population as a whole, where the figure is 65%,” said Alex Pumfrey, CEO of the charity. “There is a much higher prevalence of mental health problems for people working within film and television.”
She added: “More than half of people working in the industry have considered taking their own life.”
The guidelines provide practical suggestions for assessing and managing the risk of coronavirus (COVID-19) whilst in production, but in practical terms what are the biggest challenges? How are different departments having to innovate? What is the impact on the finished product? What at the biggest challenges? How are we balancing physical and mental well-being of cast and crew? And what learnings can be shared between productions and between countries?