The Crown producer Andy Harries has said he does not know when his shows will be able to resume filming normally, and cast doubt on whether it would be possible for them to use social distancing.
The chief executive and co-founder of Left Bank Pictures, which makes the big budget show as well as a raft of other hits including ITV’s Quiz and Netflix drama White Lines, told a Bafta masterclass that productions face challenging times in the wake of the coronavirus crisis and new guidelines that are due to be introduced.
He said: “I hate to be doomy and gloomy because I am an optimistic guy.
“Every day is a new challenge and everyday you’ve got to be up for that challenge and you have got to plough on.
“Obviously we are facing challenging times and I don’t know when we will return to filming normally.
“I am not sure if we can film socially distanced. I am sure some productions could do it but I am not sure that the shows we are doing would work, but we are looking at it very closely.
“Obviously we don’t know how long this will go on. It’s going to be hard to because I suspect that, because all the big broadcasters will be losing a lot of money, a lot of productions will be trimmed back – a lot of budgets will be trimmed.”
He added: “It will be tough for producers and it’s hard to pretend otherwise, I am sorry to say.”
Harries also revealed that US broadcasters were worried The Crown was “too much British content” before the show went to Netflix.
The show has been a global hit for the streaming service.
He said: “The play (The Audience, starring Dame Helen Mirren as the Queen) had gone to Broadway and had been very successful in the UK and the film (The Queen) had done very well, so we knew there was a big appetite for dramas about the royal family so we were pretty confident it would do well in the US and would break out.
“When we went to the meetings with HBO and Showtime and all of those companies were interested in doing it and they loved Peter (Morgan’s) writing and Stephen Daldry was part of the team but they were worried it was too much British content.
“But for Netflix, who at the time were about to open up globally, it was the perfect show.
“So we were in the right place at the right time with a writer at the peak of his powers and a clear vision of what the show would be.
“It was a game changer for us obviously and the game changer for Netflix.”