Sky Planning “Early Exit” Strategies For Shows Filming Amid Pandemic

Sky Studios are organising contingency plans for dramas to avoid more “catastrophic” production shut-downs in the event of another lockdown, according to Sky Studios CEO Gary Davey.

Sky Studios is reportedly set to introduce contingency plans for major dramas in the event that another UK lockdown halts production on their upcoming series.

With a number of its shows heading back into production by the end of September, like Code 404 and A Discovery of Witches, the Sky-owned production company is ensuring that producers write “exit routes” into scripts in case filming is forced to wrap early, Deadline reported.

Sky Studios CEO Gary Davey told the publication: “In order to be cautious about whether or not there is a second wave of COVID, it’s been a really interesting exercise to rethink the editorial of a lot of the shows, especially the bigger shows.”

“So, for example, we have rethought the number of episodes and had a good look at the editorial to figure out that, if there were a crisis, is there a way of rounding the story up early. So if it’s a 10-episode production, is there a way of managing the script in such a way that — if you had to — could you get out after six [episodes].”

The Sky Studios boss added that a 55-page “bible” of safety protocols has been written, with the studio working on the basis that shows will have to continue shooting through further COVID-19 spikes.

“It’s prudent to do that because having to shut down a big production again mid-shoot would be really quite catastrophic,” he said.

Sky’s chief commercial officer Jane Millichip added that the company’s coronavirus protocols rely on “reduced sets, grouping, distancing and testing” to allow in-house production and producers to return to work, but that Sky is also planning for “the long haul” so that crews can continue filming throughout spikes.

Sky is restarting production on nine of its titles which were disrupted by the coronavirus, including Britannia, There’s Something About Movies, Breeders and The Great British Bake Off – produced by its subsidiary Love Productions. Radio Times

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