TV gets creative and innovative during lockdown

As COVID-19 continues to provide new challenges to almost all sectors as well as individuals across the globe, the UK’s commercial broadcasters are rising up to the challenge and responding to the crisis in a myriad of different ways. Below is a round-up of just some of the different creative and innovative ways that they are meeting the changing needs of audiences and advertisers.


  • Channel 4 launches new ad campaign ‘The Great High Street Comeback’, partnering with major brands to fund ads for independent retailers across the UK
  • Channel 4 offers advertisers a free ad production service from 4Creative to create brand new or transform existing ad copy, utilising remote production and editing techniques. ITV also offers advertisers use of its in-house creative resource to produce ads or provide an interim fix for brands whose copy might need adapting
  • AdSmart from Sky launches ‘SME100’, a £1million support scheme offering 100 SME businesses the opportunity to advertise on TV for free via AdSmart
  • Channel 4 and ITV introduce measures to support advertisers as lockdown begins, including reduced late booking fees, shorter advance booking deadlines, and a number of new pricing initiatives
  • ITV creates an advertising package aimed at supporting the charity sector, combining cost-effective airtime with free creative production support
  • Sky gives free airtime to some of their biggest partners, including Age UK to promote their advertising campaigns
  • Channel 4 launches an initiative that will match-fund commercial airtime to small and medium-sized enterprises that have not previously advertised on TV

On screen

  • TV leads the way with #ClapForOurCarers moment across the nation on Thursday evenings. Channel 4 collaborates with 39 advertisers for a special #ClapForOurCarers ad break takeover; ITV’s NHS Day features specially themed content across daytime, continuing with bespoke content throughout the schedule; and Sky News presents coverage from around the UK during the now-weekly event
  • ITV and BT partner up to launch ‘Beyond Limits: Top Tips on Tech’, 12 dedicated ad breaks featuring TV talent, created to equip the nation with the digital skills it needs to get through lockdown
  • Created by Publicis, the ‘Shop Responsibly’ ad break takeover across ITV, Channel 4, Sky One, Channel 5 and Sky Atlantic encourages viewers to "only buy what you need”
  • Sky makes a raft of Sky Arts content available to watch for free to help the nation get its fix of arts and culture 
  • Channel 4 creates a ‘Stay at Home’ digital on-screen graphic (DOG) shown during all programming across all its channels
  • Famous icons from the world of sport feature in a new Sky Sports campaign calling on fans to continue to be part of sport from the safety of their homes
  • ITV asks viewers to create their own versions of five classic TV ads for The People’s Ad Break on 23rd May. The ads chosen are from Aldi, Haribo, Honda, Walkers and Weetabix
  • Sky makes ‘Learning From Home’ educational collections available on Sky Kids, with the aim of helping families who will be spending more time together at home
  • ITV's mental health campaign ‘Britain Get Talking’ returns with a special message for the nation during the coronavirus crisis - “Apart. But never alone.”
  • UKTV shakes up its schedule, moving up repeats of comedy entertainment programmes into earlier 7pm slots and scheduling more shows such as Red Dwarf during daytime on Dave. Sister channel W has increased its volume of ‘reassuring’ formats in double and triple bills.
  • Sky partners with NBCUniversal, making a range of movies available to rent at home on Sky Store, the same day as their global cinema premieres
  • ITV launches its second phase of its ‘Britain Get Talking’ with a special message from famous faces followed by a series of animated text message between people, encouraging viewers to reach out during Mental Health Awareness Week.
  • ITV partners up with Aldi, Haribo, Honda, Walkers and Weetabix, asking viewers to re-image their own versions of five famous and well-loved adverts, launching them in a specially curated ad break during Britain’s Got Talent. 


  • Channel 4 launches ‘Lockdown Learning’, a series of webinars from their insight team, designed to help deepen knowledge for brands and agencies during the UK lockdown
  • ITV launches ‘The Powerbank’ series, weekly webinars focusing on cultural insights, viewing information and practical tips to help brands
  • Channel 4 presents a new insight study, looking at the impact of the Coronavirus outbreak on audiences, and exploring what consumers want to see from brands


The UK broadcasters’ programming teams have been quick to respond to lockdown, with a number of new shows appearing and some of our favourites adapted for the times:

  • The Last Leg: Locked Down Under: new season broadcasts simultaneously from Melbourne, London and Huddersfield (Channel 4)
  • Redknapp’s Home Fixture – Jamie and Harry talk with famous faces from the world of sport & entertainment from the safety of their own homes (Sky One)
  • Mo Gilligan’s All Star Happy Hour: sketches, viral hits, plus Mo pitches against celebs in a series of challenges (Channel 4)
  • Isolation Stories: four short dramas filmed in the actors’ homes, each depicting a different family lockdown experience (ITV)
  • Russell Howard’s Home Time: Topical entertainment show with Russell interviewing guests from his home (Sky One)
  • Spring at Jimmy’s Farm: viewers see spring erupt in the countryside from the safety of home (Channel 4)
  • How To Keep Your Dog Happy At Home: inspirational stories and helpful tips to get you and your pooch through lockdown together (ITV)
  • Home Alone with Joel Dommett: a comical window into Joel’s home as he celebrates the fun and ridiculous things Britain is doing to pass the time (ITV2)
  • Grayson’s Art Club: hosted from his studio, Grayson Perry and other famous creative types help viewers get arty at home (Channel 4)
  • Portrait Artist of the Year: launches a live version, inviting audiences online to paint celebrity sitters posing live in their own homes (Sky Arts)
  • Reasons to be Cheerful with Matt Lucas: a warming look at what the public, celebrities and even some pets are doing to entertain themselves (Channel 4)
  • Gemma Collins: Diva on Lockdown: cameras capture the nation’s favourite Essex diva at home (ITV2)
  • The Steph Show: Steph McGovern’s daytime show live from her home to help Britain navigate these unique times (Channel 4)
  • Jamie: Keep Cooking and Carry On: Jamie Oliver shows the nation some easy-to-follow recipes, tips and hacks, specifically tailored for the lockdown (Channel 4)
  • How To Leave Your Abusive Partner Safely in Lockdown: a documentary looking at how lockdown is affecting those who have become isolated with their abusers (Channel 5)
  • The Late, Late Show with James Corden (From His Garage): James is joined by an array of celebrities who chat and performing via video link (Sky Comedy)

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