BBC Chief Tony Hall Admits Services Could Go Dark Because Of Coronavirus

BBC director general Tony Hall has admitted that some of the British broadcaster’s services could be knocked off air by the spread of the coronavirus in the UK.

Speaking before British Parliament’s Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee, Hall said there “could be” a situation where some news and local services suffer if there is a coronavirus outbreak among staff.

The outgoing leader stressed, however, that the BBC is working hard to make sure this does not happen and is gaming out different scenarios to put contingency plans in place.

“We’re also looking at our resilience, if a service was to be hit for a while. We have to make sure our news services keep transmitting on television and on radio,” he told MPs. “We intend on keeping absolutely everything open. We know that globally, nationally and locally, people… turn to us for information.”

Bob Shennan, the BBC’s group managing director, is chairing a daily taskforce on coronavirus, while Hall is also presiding over regular meetings on the matter.

“We’re putting out daily information to the staff. This morning’s work has been around guests coming into the building and checking we know the history of guests, where they have been and so on,” Hall explained.

It comes as Deadline revealed the first major UK television production casualty as a result of COVID-19: Studio Lambert’s BBC One show Celebrity Race Across The World has been postponed. It was due to start filming next month.

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