Channel 4 lockdown message ditched


Channel 4 has abandoned its on-screen alert to viewers, as lockdown rules in England change.

For the past six weeks, Channel 4 has reminded viewers to stay at home via a permanent on-screen graphic broadcast on its main and subsidiary channels.

By doing so, it followed a number of channels across Europe which launched similar on-screen messages when their respective lockdowns were announced.

Although the advice to residents of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland remains to stay at home, lockdown rules are less clear-cut in England, where ministers have spent the last few days clarifying last Sunday's Prime Ministerial announcement.

Other developments

BBC Two's national services have begun to return: early on during the lockdown, BBC Two Wales and Northern Ireland suspended their own programming, joining the main network BBC Two, serving England and Scotland. Some variations are  now returning, with BBC Two Wales running different 9pm programmes on Monday and Tuesday of this week.

No return to normal

Social distancing, self isolation and shielding among staff mean most broadcasters are still planning on a reduced staffing model for the foreseeable future, with changes to services made in March likely to remain through the summer and in some cases possibly until a vaccine is available.

There are also no plans for an imminent resumption of the Freeview clearance programme in the 700MHz band in North West England and the Isle of Man. Officially, the scheme, which will require households to retune Freeview in the affected areas, is on hold until it is "safe and operationally viable" to continue, as in-home support remains impossible to deliver to vulnerable households and care homes. With the planned Ofcom auction of the 700MHz band still pending, there's no hurry to complete clearance before next year.