One of the few things we can all do in this weird pandemic world is sit down and watch TV. The only thing is, with filming new stuff currently impossible without compromising the safety of film crews, fresh content is already starting to dry up.
The BBC, for instance, has already cut down on broadcasts of Eastenders while it’s unable to shoot and edit new episodes of the soap, while the suspension of filming for flagship programmes like Peaky Blinders will inevitably mean future series debuts are going to be delayed. However, the organisation is pressing ahead with plans to restart filming for Eastenders and another show you’ll likely be more interested in - Top Gear.
In a Telegraph column, BBC director of content Charlotte Moore confirmed that filming of the shows will resume “by the end of next month”. It’ll have to be done quite differently to normal, however.
Social distancing measures will need to be applied, meaning smaller crews. Although not mentioned in the piece, the kind of international travel Top Gear is known for will be out of the question for the foreseeable.
Also, cast members are going to have to take care of their own hair and make-up. Social media hilarity from stars Chris Harris, Paddy McGuinness and Freddie Flintoff will surely follow. Harris, for his part, has effectively had a practice already, revealing some fabulous bleached locks recently.
“This is great news for viewers, but it’s also essential for the success of the many independent companies around the country who make these programmes and who have felt the economic shockwaves of this pandemic,” Moore said, later adding, “We want to serve our audiences and help TV production get back on its feet, but the number one priority will remain the safety and well-being of production teams and those who work with them”.
Top Gear’s popularity with viewers has surged since its new presenter line-up was deployed in series 27, with viewing figures in series 28 regularly topping five million - something the show hasn’t managed since the Clarkson, Hammond and May era.
As for when we’ll see the new trio back on our screens, it’s hard to say. With the most recent outing ending in February, we would have expected series 29 to kick off at some point in summer, but thanks to the break in filming, autumn seems more likely.