BBC Studios Extends Freelancer Furloughs Through August

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BBC

The BBC's commercial arm says it will reduce the number of those on furlough from 600 before the end of July "by bringing them back to work on several productions planned to restart over the coming weeks and months."

BBC Studios, the commercial arm of U.K. public broadcaster BBC, said Tuesday that it would extend its use of the British government’s furlough scheme for freelancers through the end of August.

BBC Studios has furloughed around 600 freelancers working on approximately 70 productions paused under government rules for the lockdown due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.

The company said on Tuesday that it would be reducing the number of those on furlough before the end of July "by bringing them back to work on several productions planned to restart over the coming weeks and months." BBC Studios didn't provide a figure for how many freelancers would return to work or detail the shows scheduled to go back into production. 

The extended furloughs apply to so-called fixed-term contractors and freelancers who pay taxes and national insurance on a "pay as you earn" basis. 

BBC Studios said it has begun writing directly to those freelancers who are impacted and have not already returned to work.

While many productions were paused, some continued, including The One Show, Gardeners’ World, Countryfile and Springwatch, as well as one-off live events like the Queen's official birthday parade, Trooping the Colour. Motoring showTop Gear is already back in production, and soap opera EastEnders will begin filming again over the coming weeks, "with other productions starting up again as soon as it is practical to do so," BBC Studios said.