Changes in Production-supported by OctopusPMI Blog Post

How did TV and film production change during lockdown?

In his final interview with BBC Radio Four’s The Media Show with Amol Rajan, out-going BBC Director General Tony Hall said of lockdown: “…we have learned that we don’t need to be in buildings all the time,”

From wholesale changes to working practices, to alterations in the way the general public consumes TV and film, production experienced massive changes after the governments around the world announced lockdowns. So how did TV and film production change during lockdown? What changes might be here to stay? And what lessons have been learned?

How production adapted to lockdown conditions

Lockdown necessitated an immediate change in production, with filming as we knew it entirely suspended while production companies and crews figured out what would be possible.

But the industry rose to the challenge, with clever adaptation of TV production that gave the UK The Last Leg: Locked Down Under and the 59th series of Have I Got News For You; all delivered with presenters and participants getting involved remotely and, crucially, without a studio audience.

Quickly we saw programmes created during lockdown, with Isolation Stories on ITV being written, filmed and edited during the UK lockdown. The cast filmed scenes at home, adhering to social distancing, and were advised remotely by production staff. The BBC swiftly followed with a remake of Alan Bennett’s Talking Heads.

In film, production crews spent their time working remotely on either pre- or post-production, which both lend themselves to a certain amount of remote working and social distancing. Scouting new locations or video casting and polishing scripts in pre-production, with special effects, adding scores and editing for those in post-production.

What TV and film production changes might be here to stay?

Many of the programmes aired during lockdown felt similar to “bottle episodes”, which generally take place in a single location with a limited cast. Think Eastenders episodes with just two cast or the 2008 Midnight episode of Doctor Who which took place entirely in a car in which the doctor was trapped.

An increase in programming using this technique may be the natural consequence of social distancing’s impact on cast and production crews.

And having been forced to work from home, there has been a proof-of-concept about which parts of production can be achieved remotely, and which need people to come together; meaning there’s unlikely to be a return to the assumption that everyone has to be in the same location to get the job done.

How did OctopusPMI help production crews during lockdown?

Luckily for the production crews using OctopusPMI, our system is available entirely remotely, including by app on your smart phone which has a number of useful functions whilst working on the hoof. This allows up to date Production Costs to be tracked and Cost Reports produced without the usual tedious reconciliations, regardless of where the system is used or accessed from.

In a world where keeping control of finances and running shoots efficiently will be ever more important to the survival of the industry, OctopusPMI provides the perfect platform for much-needed financial control and visibility.

For your free demonstration of our smart system, get in touch by calling on +44 (0)20 8906 6960 or visit or simply email us at