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UK gov’t extends Covid-19 production restart scheme for another six months

Endemol Shine’s hit crime drama Peaky Blinders has benefitted from the restart scheme

The UK government has extended its Film & TV Production Restart Scheme, aimed at productions struggling to get insurance for risks related to Covid-19, by another six months.

The £500m (US$679m) scheme was set up last July to help UK productions unable to obtain insurance for coronavirus-related risks get back up and running and to support them if future losses are incurred due to Covid-19.

The scheme was initially accepting claims for losses incurred up until June 30, 2021, before being extended to December 3, 2021.

The scheme will now remain open for applications until April 30, 2022, and provide cover for claims up to June 30, 2022. This will help it support an estimated 400 additional productions.

The scheme has so far supported 835 productions across the UK, including period crime drama Peaky Blinders.

The UK’s Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, said: “Our world-leading film and TV industry supports hundreds of thousands of jobs – that’s why it was so important we helped it to get up and running again as part of our plan for jobs.”

UK trade body Pact has welcomed the extension as it said the scheme has enabled hundreds of indies to get back into production.

John McVay

Pact CEO John McVay, said: “It’s great to see the government’s continuing support for the UK’s TV and film industry. They have recognised that by helping the industry to get back on its feet, thousands of people will keep their jobs and the UK will be able to continue to make the world-class television and film that it is famous for.”

A change to the existing scheme will see an increase to the premium, rising from 1% to 2%. According to Pact, the pandemic cost the UK production industry £455m (US$627m) in lost revenues last year.

Commenting on the change, McVay added: “The increase to the premium will be challenging for a range of producers, especially as we are still grappling with the increased Covid-19 production costs, but we hope that producers will still use the scheme while other alternatives are currently unavailable.”

In related news, the first international coproductions to benefit from the UK Global Screen Fund that was launched in April have been announced.

The first two titles to receive UK Global Screen Fund International Coproduction awards of up to £300,000 are the Israel/UK feature film My Happy Ending and animated TV series The Coop Troop.

A coproduction from Belfast-based Sixteen South with Chinese streamer Tencent Kids, public broadcaster France Télévisions and Technicolor Animation Productions, the show was co-created by Colin Williams of Sixteen South and the children’s author and illustrator Alex T Smith.


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