Channel 4 sets out creative plan to help the nation navigate through the coronavirus crisis, support them through isolation and keep them entertained

Category: News Release

The Steph Show to move forward and air daily from Monday 30th March

Lockdown Academy to include art with Grayson Perry, crafts with Kirstie Allsopp and cooking with Jamie Oliver – while Fred Sirieix will be maître d’ for a very unique wedding

As the nation grapples with the unprecedented impact of the coronavirus outbreak and life in lockdown, Channel 4 today outlined the first of its creative plans to help the audience navigate through the crisis, 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 to the crisis, which will include 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.

This will be in addition to increasing the channel’s commitment to award winning Channel 4 News, current affairs and factual output which 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 and 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 Wedding in Lockdown (w/t), with Fred Sirieix overseeing proceedings for the whole country to enjoy.

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 are 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, just as importantly, to lift them up and make them feel connected with the rest of the world when they are 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 – and 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.

“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. 

“At the same time, together we are at our best when we use our creativity and ingenuity to respond to challenging circumstances and I’m incredibly grateful to them for the way that they are working with us to respond to this and help entertain and inform our audiences through these strange and unprecedented times.”

Director of Programming Ian Katz said: “The coronavirus outbreak is an enormous creative challenge for all broadcasters and though it is having a profound impact on getting some of our productions onto screen, it’s also a time when public service broadcasters like Channel 4 can step up and help people navigate through the extraordinary challenges we all now face.

“The need for high quality, trusted journalism is never greater than at times of national crisis and we will be regularly extending Channel 4 News over the coming weeks – alongside a range of current affairs and factual programming which will help keep our audience well-informed through these uncertain times.

“But I believe Channel 4 can go much further than this – and I want us to be the place that captures – and hopefully lifts - the mood of the nation, connects people and helps them get through the next few months of uncertainty and isolation with a combination of useful advice, stuff to do, cheering diversion and plain fun.

 “The perfect person to do that is Steph McGovern, one of the best loved and most versatile broadcasters in the country and I’m delighted that we have been able to bring forward the launch of her new show, broadcast live from her Yorkshire home daily from Monday.

“Giving people a structure to their day – and helping them to use their time stuck at home constructively - is going to be incredibly important and I’m delighted to be announcing a range of new programming under the banner of Lockdown Academy.  

“We’ve commissioned a range of new shows to help families keep active and happy through the day.  This will include Grayson Perry teaching a nationwide art course, Kirstie Allsopp sharing her home crafting ideas and of course Jamie Oliver helping the nation cook from their store cupboard essentials.

“We’ll be broadcasting a wedding celebration live for one couple’s loved ones – and everyone else - to enjoy from the safety of their homes.  And, at around 11pm each night we will be hearing from Grime’s favourite octogenarian Margie Keefe, aka Grime Gran, giving her own unique Thought for the Day on the world as she sees it.

“We’ve been overwhelmed by the resourceful and creative ideas we’ve received from our indie production partners and over the coming days we’ll be announcing a number of other new shows we’ll be bringing into the schedule.”



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.”



The full range of new programmes announced today includes:


Production company:  Expectation in partnership with Can Can productions

TX: Daily from Monday 30th March, 12 noon

Commissioning editor: Jayne Stanger with Head of Daytime Jo Street

Presented by Steph McGovern, the daily programme will be broadcast live from Steph’s living room in Yorkshire as she celebrates the everyday heroes who are keeping the nation moving, as well as sharing ideas on how to fill your time while self-isolating. The Steph Show will also feature the latest information and advice to help people through these uncertain times, plus a mix of entertainment, lifestyle and a variety of guests beamed live into the living room via digital platforms.



Production company: Swan Films

Commissioning editor:  Shaminder Nahal


At this time of crisis Grayson Perry is on a mission to help bring the nation together through art - and unleash the great British public’s creativity. Grayson, with the help of other leading artists, will try to teach us how to sculpt, draw and create. Not only will Grayson be speaking to famous artists, but he will also be speaking to you at home- are you an amateur water colourist? A satirical meme creator? Photographer? Still life drawer? Grayson wants to see what you have been creating in quarantine. To keep the nation’s spirits up, Grayson will encourage viewers are artists alike to use this time in isolation to produce visual representations of the unique time we are living through as a community, at the end of which Grayson will display the art created in an exhibition that will chronicle the changing moods of Britain in isolation.  



Production company: Raise The Roof Productions

Commissioning Editor: Clemency Green


In a brand-new daily series, Kirstie will be helping the nation get through lockdown by offering creative ideas and crafty projects for the whole family. In her Lockdown Craft Club Kirstie will encourage us all to craft along with her, get creative and learn new skills. From knitting projects to arts and crafts with the little ones, Kirstie’s tips and tricks will have been designed to use simple materials available around the house. The Lockdown Craft Club format will include archives of classic Kirstie crafty content as well as lots of brand-new makes that will spark innovation and handmade joy.



Production company:  Jamie Oliver Productions

TX:  Starts Monday 23rd March, 5.30pm

Jamie Oliver is set to show the nation some incredible recipes, tips and hacks, specifically tailored for the unique times we’re living in. He wants to teach you how to make the most of your kitchen staples and how to be creative with whatever ingredients you’ve got, whatever your budget.

There is no need to stockpile as Jamie will be demystifying bread making, showing viewers at home just how simple it can be to create a classic dough and how to add their own special twist to their loaves with what they have to hand. No pasta? No problem! Jamie will show viewers how to make pasta from scratch and offer new ideas on what to cook with it using simple ingredients.

With ingenious ideas on what to do with those panicked pantry purchases and forgotten frozen food Jamie will be on hand to show us all how to make frugal food taste delicious.



Production company: Risky Roadz

Commissioning editor: Navi Lamba

TX: Monday to Friday at 11pm

E4’s very own Grime Gran, AKA Margie Keefe, addresses the nation from self-isolation in her East London flat.  The octogenarian will advise the country, in her own straight-talking style, on how not to be a d*ck in a range of scenarios that are facing us all…



Production Company: Multistory Media North

Commissioning Editors: Harjeet Chhokkar and Madonna Benjamin


For hundreds of couples across Britain, isolation and social distancing have meant putting their plans for a dream wedding on ice. In a historic first for Channel 4, one bride and groom will be given a wedding celebration like no other – live online with the support of some famous faces - for their loved ones (and the whole of the UK ) to watch and enjoy from their homes.


Production Company: ITN Productions

TX: Friday 27th March, 8pm 

Commissioning Editor: Adam Vandermark

This one-hour specia presented by Dr Helen Lawal looks at the current outbreak of coronavirus in the UK by exploring the reasons behind the lockdown and the extraordinary measures we are all being asked to take.  The film will show how easy a virus can be spread at home, on the commute and in the workplace. A series of visual tests reveals the hotspots where viruses can be transmitted, how many times you touch your face through to looking at how respiratory droplets are spread when someone coughs or sneezes. The film features interviews with experts in virology, microbiology and epidimology giving the pubic best strategies for staying healthy. 



Production Company: ITN Productions

TX: Monday 30th March, 8.30pm 

Commissioning Editor: Adam Vandermark

A&E doctor Saleyha Ahsan looks at the pressing questions many of us are now asking. Will the NHS run out of beds? Will it have enough vital equipment, such as ventilators? Are there enough nurses and what is being done to protect NHS workers? Dr Ahsan also examines the impact on the many thousands across the country, who now face delays in receiving regular treatment and operations.  



Production Company: Britespark Films 

TX: W/C Monday 6th April 

Commissioning Editor: Louisa Compton

As Coronavirus takes hold of Britain, Dispatches investigates the long-term effects of the outbreak and asks how the deadly Covid-19 is changing Britain in the long term.  As the death toll rises, we look at everything from seismic changes in economic policy to shifts in the way we view and treat other people, and from a drop in pollution to the widening of the gaps between rich and poor, young and old and the North and South , this film asks what a post-Covid 19 Britain, torn apart by the disease, might look like.  As news outlets inevitably cover the day-to-day, Dispatches will take a step back and look at a virus which has the potential not just to change the way we live in the short term but forever.



Production Company: Candour Productions

TX: Expected Monday 6th April 

Commissioning Editor: Siobhan Sinnerton 

Life in a Day will be shot across the UK on Friday 3rd April. Using a combination of footage our team will shoot with footage we are asking the general public to provide us with, we will be capturing life in that 24 hour period - life in lockdown; homeschooling; how to care for people who are ill or self-isolating; working from home!; police; nurses; doctors; binmen; supermarket shelf stackers… we want to capture life for people at home and at work.. what creativity and acts of kindness are going on? The film will be a mixture of funny, inspirational, poignant and downright heartbreaking.. as we understand what the impact of CV19 is on people across the UK. The film will be shot on April 3rd and transmitted on April 6th  



Production Company: Britespark Films 

TX: Expected Monday 20th April  

Commissioning Editor: Siobhan Sinnerton

Investigating the question everyone is asking - what’s it actually like to catch coronavirus? – we’re  giving cameras to people all over Britain to document their experiences living with the disease. Using experts to explain the science, the film examines how different people respond in different ways, with symptoms ranging from mild to life threatening. The film also looks at the way the virus impacts on people’s mental and economic health.  



Production Company: Full Fat TV 

TX: Thursday 9th April, 8pm

Commissioning Editor: Adam Vandermark

Coronavirus is spreading around Britain, fast. But not as fast as the daily papers, 24-hour news and social media are spreading a tsunami of information about how to avoid getting infected when we go out. But what about staying safe in our own homes? Should we all be deep cleaning? Behind our front doors, do we need to change our behaviour to try to protect those closest to us?   

Two families will have their houses forensically swept for fingerprints to find evidence of what they may be unwittingly spreading around their homes. We show how the virus works, how it uses our behaviour to get from outdoors to indoors and – out of all the products we use to clean our homes - which ones could stop it in its tracks, and which ones we shouldn’t bother with. Interspersed with the actuality there will be VTs packed with consumer science content and best practise take-out. Presented by Dr Javid Abdelmoneim and Dr Lisa Cross.




With over 12000 hours of content available to stream for free on All 4, audiences can binge all day on Channel 4 favourites Queer as Folk, Shameless and Skins; US classics Seinfeld, ER and Dawson’s Creek, and when a cheer up is needed -  the very best of British comedy from The Inbetweeners and Friday Night Dinner to Green Wing, Peep Show and The IT Crowd. Not forgetting drama from around the world brought to you by Walter Presents.



The coronavirus outbreak and the need to follow Government and PHE advice has had an impact on a number of existing productions – in particular on the scripted slate and as a consequence filming has paused on in-production titles such as Ackley Bridge, Back and Frank of Ireland.  We hope filming will resume as soon as it is safe to do so. 

We also announced this week that filming on Hollyoaks has paused, however in order to make sure the show stays on air for as long as possible we have adapted the schedule and further reduced the number of episodes per week to two from Monday 6th April.

To ensure Gogglebox stays on air for the remainder of the current series we’ve been busy making sure we can film with rigged with cameras allowing the families to take part without any contact from crew.

The new series of Joe Lycett’s Got Your Back will launch in April as planned, however the final two episodes were not filmed with a studio audience.

Due to the current restrictions on international travel, production on Travel Man has been paused. 

On E4, filming of Made in Chelsea has also paused, but the new series launched as planned on Monday 23rd March for a slightly shorter run.


Contact: Channel 4 press office

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