BBC Question Time will run audience-less during the coronavirus outbreak

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The show, which normally sees political figures and commentators take questions from a studio audience, will also move to a prime time 8pm slot on BBC One.

Other changes to BBC news programmes are expected to be announced also.

Amol Rajan, BBC's Media Editori, said that major news bulletins will be spared, but many other programmes will "initially be cut down" with "further phases as the virus spreads".

Question Time's next episode, currently hosted by Fiona Bruce, is due to be filmed in Weston-super-Mare, Somerset, this Thursday.

In the US, for the first time since 1976, Sunday's debate between prospective presidential candidates Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden was also conducted without a studio audience.

Other UK shows, including ITV's Loose Women and Channel 5's Jeremy Vine, have already opted to film without a studio audience as the virus spreads.

Filming on dramas like Peaky Blinders and Line of Duty has been suspended and the Bafta TV Awards have been postponed until later in the year.