European pay-TV broadcaster Sky has decided to pause all UK drama productions that involve international filming until Spring 2021 (Autumn AU) because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Director of Drama Cameron Roach said productions are being looked at on a case-by-case basis, but he does not expect shows with overseas shoots or travel elements to resume for around 12 months.
Instead Sky will look to create more local scripted shows, like hit thriller Save Me, which are not so expensive or challenging to produce in the current environment.
“I have said to those indies that (are making them) that it is probably better for us to plan those shoots for spring 2021 rather than having to be shooting in 2020,” he said.
“This might be viewed as too cautious, but I want us to be realistic and work carefully with our partners across the pipeline.”
He pointed to Mark Strong thriller Temple as an example of a drama that is “manageable” because it is set-based and involves two-handers.
“What’s been really important for all of us is to have something to aim for. The future is completely unknown, but that’s hard for people to motivate themselves towards. By saying a mid-summer period of pre-production or heading into production, that means the writers’ room, the prep teams can be focused on that.
“But what I have been clear about is the relative demands on each show. So anything with significant foreign shooting or a show that travels as it shoots, we are recommending it shoots in 2021.”
SKY dramas have included Riviera, Save Me, Tin Star, Fortitude, Hit & Miss and coproductions such as The New Pope, Britannia, Patrick Melrose, Penny Dreadful and Chernobyl.