Channel 4 launches COVID-19 plan to keep the nation entertained


Channel 4 has outlined the first of its creative plans to help keep viewers entertained throughout the coronavirus crisis.

Entertained and connected

The aim is to stay connected with the rest of the country, to help families stay occupied in isolation; and most importantly to keep spirits high with a range of great entertainment.

Chief Executive Alex Mahon and Director of Programmes Ian Katz today set out the key pillars of its creative response.

Steph Show brought forward

This includes pulling forward the launch of new daily show The Steph Show; which will be broadcast live from the home of Steph McGovern from Monday 30th March.

A range of new programming to keep families entertained and active through their isolation will also include, Grayson Perry creating art with the whole nation; Kirstie Allsopp sharing craft ideas for all the family; and Jamie Oliver helping people cook with store cupboard essentials.

More news

This will be in addition to increasing the channel’s commitment to award winning Channel 4 News, current affairs and factual output. This will cover the impact of Covid-19 on Britain and the world; give advice and guidance to viewers to help navigate the crisis; get under the skin of its impact on the NHS; and explore the science and technology needed to battle it.

The duration of Channel 4 News has been extended on a number of days with major news developments recently. It will now be extended to 90 minutes every Monday; with the programme producing a fortnightly hour-long debate special on the crisis.

Channel 4 will also invite viewers to share in the wedding celebration of a couple who have had to cancel their big day plans in Lockdown Wedding Live, with Fred Sirieix overseeing proceedings for the whole country to enjoy.

‘Stay at Home’ ident

Channel 4 has activated a ‘Stay at Home’ digital on-screen graphic (DOG) – which will be on screen during all Channel 4 programming across all its channels – to help deliver this vital public health message during the coronavirus crisis.

Chief Executive 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’re 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 to lift them up and make them feel connected with the rest of the world when they’re isolated at home.

“Nothing has demonstrated this more clearly than the record audiences we have seen for Channel 4 News in the past two weeks. Of particular importance is our reach and connection with young people; with audiences to our main programme last week up 120% year-on-year for 16-34 year olds; and more than 55 million views to our news content on YouTube in the last month.

Covid-19 challenges

“Of course, the Covid-19 outbreak presents huge challenges for broadcasters and the creative industries; and we’re doing all we can to support our partners at independent production companies to help them through this.

Steph McGovern, host of The Steph Show added: “So this might not be how we planned it, but I’m itching to get on air and get chatting to all the people out there doing amazing stuff through these crazy times.

“Whatever you’re up to, we want to bring some much-needed joy to your day and help you navigate your way through the madness.”

See also:

Sky launches learning shows for kids while schools are shut