In the wake of this unprecedented situation, here's a quick note and update on S4C's response to Covid-19.
First a heartfelt thanks to all companies and freelance workers who are doing their utmost to ensure that programmes and other content reach us in S4C. We appreciateeveryone's effort, professionalism and co-operation shown during these challenging times. We have held a number of constructive and productive conversations with producers and companies over the past week. They have all shown flexibility and willingness to make things work not only with S4C but also in working together.
It is our intention to try to maintain a timetable as close to normal as possible, but "normal" changes daily. You may have heard that Pobol y Cwm and Rownd a Rownd have stopped shooting. We will therefore be cutting Pobol y Cwm down to 2 episodes a week from 31 March onwards. A contingency schedule is being planned depending on which productions can deliver. Again this is changing on a daily basis as we learn about the differing challenges everyone is facing.
Maintaining the technical broadcasting service at Parc Tŷ Glas is clearly a priority and we have a daily dialogue with the BBC – who are responsible for delivering the service.
Despite the obvious challenges, it is more important than ever that we continue to fulfil our responsibility as a public service broadcaster. Over the next few months, it is vital that S4C not only is a source of information and entertainment but also a friend and companion to the whole nation – especially to those who are older or frail and are isolated. To do this we are prepared to commission content that meets these objectives, and can meet delivery . Please contact the relevant Commissioner if you have any ideas.
If there are questions about previously commissioned productions, talk to the relevant genre Commissioner as first contact and then the Business Affairs team.
In general, as stated in our previous statement we advise companies as follows to:
* Follow the official advice of the UK Government, Welsh Government and relevant agencies e.g. Public Health Wales.
* Consider, on a case by case basis, whether any production requires postponing, delay or cancellation and discuss your intention with your Commissioner.
* Please inform your Commissioner as soon as possible if you are likely to fail to deliver by the agreed date and cc firstname.lastname@example.org.
* Our general intention is to continue with commissions that have been cancelled or postponed when normality resumes. However, we are not in a position to guarantee this as the implications of the crisis are currently unclear to S4C. Commissions will need to be considered individually on a case by case basis and a decision made whether or not they remain appropriate for broadcast.
* You will be aware that Owen Evans has written to the Economy Minister Ken Skates asking him to create a programme of support for companies and individuals in the creative industries sector. https://twitter.com/ywasgS4Cpress/status/1239923742681247745 Owen is also pressing for a meeting to take this forward.
* We advise that meetings with the Commissioners and others in S4C should be held over Skype for the time being.
* We are happy to discuss a letter of support for companies that need to contact the bank. This will be dependent on the nature of your production, of course. In the first instance contact the relevant Commissioner.
In order to share more information and answer specific questions, we plan to hold an on-line Skype meeting around mid-April when we will discuss opportunities to fill vacant slots in the schedule as a result of contents that fail to shoot/deliver. We invite ideas for new programmes that can be filmed safely during the summer and autumn period.
Thank you again for your hard work and your co-operation, we hope that everyone keeps safe and that this period will come to an end as soon as possible.
18 March 2020