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C4 preps shows for viewers in lockdown

Channel 4 has brought forward the launch of its new daily show fronted by a former BBC Breakfast co-host and ordered a programme about “how not to be a dick in a pandemic” in response to the coronavirus crisis.

Alex Mahon

The Steph Show will begin broadcasting live from the home of host Steph McGovern from March 30, having originally been slated for a launch later this spring.

It is produced by BBC Studios-backed Expectation in partnership with Can Can Productions and had been set to be broadcast live from the UK broadcaster’s new headquarters in Leeds, prior to the coronavirus outbreak.

For youth-skewing channel E4, it has ordered Grime Gran on How Not to be a Dick in a Pandemic, which comes from UK indie Risky Roadz and will air on weekdays.

The show sees Margie Keefe addresses the nation from self-isolation in her East London flat, with the octogenarian advising the country, in her own straight-talking style, on how not to behave during the crisis.

C4 has also ordered a flurry of coronavirus-themed factual programming to be broadcast over the next few weeks.

Titles include Coronavirus: Can You Avoid It? (1×60′), from ITN Productions; Coronavirus: Can Our NHS Cope? – Dispatches, also from ITN; Coronavirus: How Britain is Changing, from Argonon’s BriteSpark Films; Coronavirus: A Day in the Life (working title), from True Vision Yorkshire; Coronavirus: Living With It (w/t), from BriteSpark Films; and Coronavirus: How Clean is Your House?, from Full Fat TV.

Elsewhere, C4 is working with artist Grayson Perry, presenter Kirstie Allsopp and chef Jamie Oliver on programming under the banner ‘Lockdown Academy’ that will focus on activities viewers can do at home while the country is under lockdown.

These are Grayson’s Art Club (w/t), from Swan Films; Kirstie’s House of Craft (w/t), from Raise the Roof Productions; and the previously announced Jamie: Keep Cooking & Carry On, from Jamie Oliver Productions.

In addition, Fred Sirieix of First Dates fame will appear as the maître d’ in Lockdown Wedding Live, overseeing proceedings for couples who have had to cancel or postpone their big day. It will be produced by Multistory Media North.

C4 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 programming Ian Katz added: “The coronavirus outbreak is an enormous creative challenge for all broadcasters and, though it is having a profound impact on getting some of our productions onto screen, it’s also a time when public service broadcasters like Channel 4 can step up and help people navigate through the extraordinary challenges we all now face.

“We’ve commissioned a range of new shows to help families keep active and happy through the day. This will include Grayson Perry teaching a nationwide art course, Kirstie Allsopp sharing her home crafting ideas and, of course, Jamie Oliver helping the nation cook from their store cupboard essentials.”

“We’ve been overwhelmed by the resourceful and creative ideas we’ve received from our indie production partners and, over the coming days, we’ll be announcing a number of other new shows we’ll be bringing into the schedule.”

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