When lockdown began in March, nobody was too worried about a dearth of new TV shows and films. Streaming catalogues would fill the void, surely, and it was only going to be a few months, at worst. As far as Covid-19 anxieties go, it ranked pretty far behind getting infected, losing your job, and being cold-called by Gal Gadot to discuss a “powerful idea” she’d just had.
In retrospect, though, shows like Normal People, Tiger King and The Last Dance – filmed prior to lockdown and released into a world of unknowns – played a huge part in helping us cope and connect during that period of isolation. Conversation exploded on Twitter feeds, Facebook groups and Zoom chats. Memes were churned out at record speed. Someone even dedicated an entire Instagram account to Connell’s chain (181k followers and counting.) Call it collective hysteria if you like, but each one provided a much needed dose of escapism.
Alas, most of the projects that wrapped up in the latter half of 2019 have already been released, and studios have only had a few months of eased restrictions to film new shows and movies. An empty release schedule may prove to be a problem if we end up spending a considerable amount of time under socially distanced conditions in 2021. So what does the November lockdown mean for the film and TV industry’s plans?
Not a huge deal, it seems. While all pubs, restaurants and non-essential businesses (leisure, entertainment) in the UK will now close until 2 December, people in the film and production can continue to work under heightened precautions.
The changes mean people should WFH where possible
But where this is not possible, travel to a place of work will be permitted - e.g. this includes (but not exhaustive) elite sport played behind closed doors, film & tv production, telecoms workers
— Oliver Dowden (@OliverDowden) October 31, 2020
Following Sunday’s national briefing, Culture Secretary Oliver Bowden said: “The changes mean people should WFH [work from home] where possible. But where this is not possible, travel to a place of work will be permitted – e.g. this includes (but not exhaustive) elite sport played behind closed doors, film & tv production, telecoms workers.”
Which is all particularly good news for The Batman, which director Matt Reeves has been shooting in Liverpool and Glasgow over the past few months ahead of its delayed October 2021 release. Ditto the much-anticipated second season of The Witcher and, of course, Love Island USA (quarantine bubble edition! No, we’re not joking!)
Until then, Star Wars spin-off The Mandalorian just dropped on Disney+, and we’ve got the fourth season of The Crown to keep us busy this month (filming was rushed through in early March). Then there's some much-needed Oscar-bait in the form of David Fincher’s Mank, arriving on Netflix on 13 November. And just in case Covid-19 stops Hollywood in its tracks once again, Michael Bay’s early-2021 pandemic thriller Songbird will arrive to turn us all of off movies forever. Helpful.
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