The BBC has announced a wide-ranging list of new measures that will be put in place to provide viewers with informative and entertaining shows during the coronavirus outbreak and subsequent isolation period, which will include new programming for students should schools be closed down, a series of TV shows being rereleased on iPlayer, and up-to-date information on coronavirus regularly being broadcast.
BBC has announced changes to the service
Speaking about the new changes, director-general Tony Hall explained: "We all know these are challenging times for each and every one of us. As the national broadcaster, the BBC has a special role to play at this time of national need. We need to pull together to get through this. That’s why the BBC will be using all of its resources - channels, stations and output - to help keep the nation informed, educated and entertained. We are making a series of changes to our output to achieve that. We will continue to deliver all the essential news and information - with special programming and content."
Shows including French and Saunders will be rereleased
He continued: "We also will do everything from using our airwaves for exercise classes for older people, religious services, recipes and advice on food for older people and low-income families, and should schools close, education programming for different age groups. We will also be launching a whole new iPlayer experience for children. And of course there will be entertainment - with the ambition of giving people some escapism and hopefully the odd smile. Clearly there will be disruption to our output along the way, but we will do our very best."
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New shows that will be reintroduced to BBC iPlayer will include Spooks, The Missing, Waking The Dead, French And Saunders, Wallander and The Honourable Woman. The network have also announced plans in case schools are eventually closed, and will be offering BBC Bitesize content and two educational podcasts while BBC Four and BBC Red Button will devote a block of programming each weekday evening to show programmes that support the GCSE and A Level curriculum.
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Concerning the coronavirus, they have also announced plans to use The One Show to cover all aspects of the crisis, including advice on health and wellbeing. Due to the lockdown, there are also plans to launch a virtual church service on Sunday mornings on local radio in England which will be led by the Archbishop of Canterbury. The BBC have said that they will also be exploring how to support other religions and denominations, including in the run-up to Ramadan.