Advanced Television

ITV commissions lockdown dramas

April 20, 2020

UK commercial PSB ITV has commissioned a series of four short dramas from Oscar nominated writer and producer Jeff Pope, inspired by true stories and reflecting life in lockdown across the country.

Isolation Stories, produced by Pope’s Factual Drama label, part of ITV Studios, will feature a “stellar” cast (TBA) and comprise of four 15 minute episodes.

Each episode will reflect what families are going through after weeks of lockdown, featuring moments that are funny, sad, heartwarming and poignant.

Jeff Pope (Philomena, Stan & Ollie, A Confession, Little Boy Blue) is executive producing the series along with Tom Dunbar (A Confession) and has also written one of the episodes. Gaby Chiappe (The Level), Neil McKay (The Moorside, Appropriate Adult) and William Ivory (Torvill & Dean, Burton and Taylor) have each written one episode.

Paul Whittington (White House Farm, Little Boy Blue) and Paul Andrew Williams (A Confession, Broadchurch) will each direct an episode. The series will be filmed observing the strict rules of lockdown with actors and their families filming the scenes themselves, watched remotely by the directors.

Pope said: “Like everybody else I have been isolating at home, and in my case watching my wife suffering badly with the virus. I wanted to do something to catch the mood. I knew it would be very difficult to try and shoot dramas in these circumstances, but I felt the public would understand if things were a little rough and ready, if we at least had a go.”

Executive Producer Tom Dunbar said: “Exceptional circumstances require us to think in a brand new way about creating drama. Our priorities are the safety of all involved in the production and finding a way to work within all the restrictions to create something relevant and resonant.”

ITV’s Head of Drama, Polly Hill, has commissioned the series which will air in the next few weeks: “It’s amazing that Jeff has managed to make these short films so quickly, to reflect the times we are living in. These are moving and funny tales of isolation with an incredibly talented team on and off screen. They are stories told from isolation to an audience in isolation. It’s not often drama can be made this quickly so huge thanks to everyone involved in making this happen and I hope they bring some joy to the audience, in what we know are difficult times.”

Isolation Stories will be distributed internationally by ITV Studios

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