BBC shares broadcasting plans for elderly and children amid "challenging times"

Josh Peachey's picture

The BBC has set out its broadcasting plans to keep the nation "informed, educated and entertained" in these "challenging times" of the coronavirus pandemic.

In a statement, the Corporation said that they will do 'everything we can to maintain Breakfast, the One, Six and Ten and ensure they continue to perform a vital role on BBC One.'

The BBC will also bring in new initiatives to help the elderly, those who may be self-isolating, and a brand iPlayer experience for children.

Last night, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that all schools were to close from Friday and the BBC has promised that it will increase educational programming, create educational podcasts for children, daily shows for different year groups, and expand BBC Bitesize content.

Director-General Tony Hall said: “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."

Outlined measures include a weekly Wednesday prime time coronavirus special show on BBC One, the most up-to-date information being shared and questions answers on Radio 5 Live, and a daily edition of the broadcaster's coronavirus podcast. 

Tony Hall added: “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.

Under the umbrella ‘Make a Difference’, every local BBC radio station will join up with local volunteer groups to help co-ordinate support for the elderly, house-bound or at risk, making sure people know what help is available in their area.

The outgoing Director-General also said: "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."

New boxsets will be added to iPlayer to keep the nation entertained, and the BBC will aim to create live fund-raising events to raise money for coronavirus-related good causes.

A 'Culture in Quarantine' show that will keep the arts alive in peoples homes has also been proposed, spanning across online, TV, and Radio stations. 

Tony Hall ended by saying: “Clearly there will be disruption to our output along the way, but we will do our very best. 

"It will take time to emerge from the challenges we all face, but the BBC will be there for the public all the way through this."