The United Kingdom Authorizes Media Companies Like Warner Bros. and Netflix to Resume Film and TV Production

Henry Cavill as The Witcher.
Henry Cavill as The Witcher.
Image: Netflix

Big productions like The Batman might resume filming in the United Kingdom sooner rather than later.

As reported today by The Guardian, the United Kingdom has signed off on new guidelines that would allow film and television production in the country to resume even amidst the threat of the ongoing pandemic caused by the novel coronavirus. The guidelines, drafted by the British Film Commission and the British Film Institute, were agreed upon and signed off on by the UK Department for Culture, Media and Sport, Publis Health England, and the Health and Safety Executive.


The guidelines includes provisions for “physical distancing, safety training and temperature tests,” according to the Guardian. Earlier this month, Deadline leaked an in-progress draft of the document, which included required coronavirus safety training for all crew, specified covid-19 supervisory crew members, two-meter social distancing requirements, and twice-daily temperature checks alongside pre-shoot health screenings, alongside provisions for quarantining out-of-country cast and crew and the banning of communal food preparations. However, the specifics may have changed since the publication of that draft.

With these guides in place, major players are now able to make their own plans to resume filming in the United Kingdom. This includes Warner Bros., which had begun filming The Batman and the third Fantastic Beasts film when the pandemic hit, alongside Disney’s Little Mermaid live-action remake and Netflix’s The Witcher, which is in progress on filming its second season. If companies take the UK up on the offer, this would be the first major resumption of film production since mid-March, when nearly everything shut down as the coronavirus spread across the world, sending most countries into lockdowns, many of which are ongoing.

As The Guardian notes, the UK is big, big money for the film business, with a record £3.6 billion spent last year (about $4.4 billion) in the country, most of which went to big-budget blockbuster movies and TV shows. It’s a certainty that these companies want to make those ongoing investments worthwhile and resume production as soon as possible. One just hopes that these guidelines are enough to make it safe to do so.


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io9 Weekend Editor. Videogame writer at other places. Queer nerd girl.

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The UK at the moment has the highest daily death toll in Europe, if what I’ve read is correct. This is just more craziness from a government who couldn’t find their own arses with a sat nav and a team of Sherpas. They’ve relaxed lockdownin England by giving people an inch and have sat back while they’ve taken several miles (250 of them in the case of the PM’s closest advisor).

In Scotland we’re still under more stringent lockdown, but also being gently relaxed, and also a mistake at this point imo.

It’s frightening. Hell, a couple of days ago three idiots hospitalised themselves (you know, stretching already hard-working emergency services) by jumping off a cliff into the sea because the sun was out and “lockdown is over”.

So while a part of me is dying to see new content being produced, I’m honestly a bit horrified at how easily Westminster are throwing caution to the wind in many aspects. There’s going to be a huge second spike coming in a couple of months, I’m absolutely sure of it.

(Here endeth the cowering, mewling quim of a rant. My apologies.)