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BBC likely to rely more heavily on repeats: Ofcom

Several broadcasters had to halt filming as a result of lockdown.

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Filming was paused across the industry (Dominic Lipinksi/PA)

Filming was paused across the industry (Dominic Lipinksi/PA)

Filming was paused across the industry (Dominic Lipinksi/PA)

The BBC is likely to rely more heavily on repeats as a result of the pandemic, TV watchdog Ofcom has said.

Broadcasters around the world had to halt filming as a result of lockdown, while social distancing guidelines has made returning complex.

Ofcom has now said repeats could be more likely in future.

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EastEnders has resumed filming (BBC/PA)

EastEnders has resumed filming (BBC/PA)

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EastEnders has resumed filming (BBC/PA)

It made the comment in a report giving the BBC the green light to axe Newsround’s afternoon slot as the broadcaster puts more children’s resources online.

“We note that the BBC is likely to have to rely more heavily on repeats at present and possibly going forwards, as a result of the impact that the Covid-19 crisis and lockdown has had on production,” it said.

The regulator is “engaging with the BBC separately about the wider impact of the crisis on its ability to meet its operating licence conditions”, it added.

The BBC has resumed filming EastEnders, Top Gear and Holby City and ITV is shooting Coronation Street again.

Bosses at the BBC previously said the pandemic’s effect on schedules will be starker next year.

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The BBC’s James Purnell previously said there could be more repeats next year (PA)

The BBC’s James Purnell previously said there could be more repeats next year (PA)

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The BBC’s James Purnell previously said there could be more repeats next year (PA)

James Purnell, director of radio and education, told the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee: “Yes, we are going to have to have some repeats. The main thing driving that is it’s very hard to film right now.

“On the television side, in children’s, we have had to cancel quite a significant proportion of the dramas and comedy we were planning to film over the summer.”

A BBC spokeswoman said: “Everyone recognises that much TV production – like lots of sectors – had to pause due to the pandemic and major sporting events were lost, but the good news is that lots of productions are restarting soon.

“The BBC did, however, keep most of what it does going, and even during the height of the pandemic, we were able to offer lots of live productions and use our airwaves for everything from exercise classes for older people, religious services, recipes and advice on food for older people and low-income families, and education programming for children while away from school.

“There is a huge amount for audiences to choose from across BBC services and we’ve seen record numbers on iPlayer.”

PA