How the BBC plans to keep the nation entertained
- Arusa Qureshi
- 25 March 2020
Including programmes to lift the spirits and Glastonbury and Eurovision specials for fans at home
It's safe to say that many of us are relying on TV to get us through this period of self-isolation and social distancing. While streaming platforms like Netflix and Prime have a range of films and TV series to catch up on, the BBC has just announced that it intends to keep the public entertained with a whole host of new programmes and specials to look forward to.
Two major highlights include the Glastonbury Experience and Eurovision: Come Together, both of which will allow fans to enjoy elements of both events from their homes. The Glastonbury Experience, which will air on the last weekend of June, will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the festival with the best in music across radio, television and online. Fans can expect special performances as well as throwbacks to classic Glasto moments, with more details to be announced soon. On Sat 16 May, BBC One and Graham Norton will host Eurovision: Come Together, a special broadcast featuring classic Eurovision performances, a look at what Eurovision 2020 could have been and artist interviews (fingers crossed we hear from these Icelandic legends).
Sports fans will be pleased to hear about Peter Crouch: Save Our Summer, a live entertainment show planned for summer 2020 to fill the void left by live sports and the Euros. Led by the former professional footballer, the series will include contributions from BBC Radio 1 presenter Maya Jama and comedian Alex Horne and his band the Horne Section, and will be broadcast live. Expect replacement sports action, but also live music, comedy, celebrity guests and interactive fun for audiences.
BBC One and Two will also continue to host weekly shows including The Graham Norton Show, Have I Got News For You and The Mash Report. Have I Got News For You will air on BBC One on Friday nights as usual, with the 59th series starting on Fri 3 Apr with Steph McGovern hosting and guests Miles Jupp and Helen Lewis. The Graham Norton Show will be back on Friday nights too from 10 Apr, not quite in its same format but still featuring big stars and entertaining stories. The Mash Report, meanwhile, will be back on BBC Two with Nish Kumar joined virtually by the likes of Rachel Parris, Geoff Norcott, Ellie Taylor, Steve N Allen, Catherine Bohart, Desiree Burch, and Ahir Shah.
Other highlights include new natural history series Primates, looking at the world of apes, monkeys and lemurs; The Choir: Britain In Lockdown, where choirmaster Gareth Malone will be bringing together people stuck at home to form The Great British Home Chorus; The Vivienne Takes On Hollywood, which follows the winner of the first series of RuPaul's Drag Race UK on her adventures in Hollywood as she sets out to make her first ever music video; and Models: From Street To Catwalk, a new series which gives a behind the scenes look at the UK's biggest modelling agencies, following the potential next generation of modelling elite.
In terms of new BBC drama to look forward to, there are plenty of programmes coming up soon including new Killing Eve and Between The Lines, Normal People, the TV adaptation of Sally Rooney's best-selling novel, and The Luminaries, based on Eleanor Catton's 2013 Man Booker Prize-winning novel.
'The BBC is determined to do all it can to raise a smile and keep the country entertained during these testing times,' says Director-General Tony Hall. 'We have lots of great shows already recorded, but we have also found ways to keep many other shows going so that the familiar faces people love will still be in their living rooms in the weeks and months ahead. I think that is incredibly important.
'The BBC will also deliver a range of virtual events to replace some of those that have now had to be cancelled. We can all still have a Eurovision moment, even if it is different from the past. Our pledge is offer the best escapism, fun and distraction we can, alongside the news and information everyone needs.'
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