Although the COVID-19 outbreak has not yet completed its lethal sweep, the U.K.’s public broadcaster, the British Broadcasting Corporation is aiming to tell “the definitive story of the coronavirus pandemic in Britain.”
The broadcaster has commissioned its own BBC Studios Documentary Unit to deliver a feature-length documentary “Britain vs Coronavirus.”
“Interweaving archive and compelling master interviews with many of the key decision-makers in the crisis, the film will be a forensic retelling of the events of a seismic year in UK history when the coronavirus pandemic struck,” the corporation said. It will explore the impact of the crisis on the National Health Service, on social care, on the economy, and on society as a whole.
The film is directed by James House and the producer is Claire Kavanagh. The executive producer is Fergus O’Brien, the commissioning editor is Emma Loach. It was commissioned by Charlotte Moore, BBC director of content, and Clare Sillery, BBC head of commissioning for documentaries.
Britain has recorded 289,000 confirmed cases of the coronavirus, the seventh highest total in the world. Its death toll is 44,600, the world’s third highest, behind only the U.S. and Brazil.
The country’s response to the virus outbreak has been hotly contested and remains politically divisive. In particular, British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson is accused of ignoring warning signs.
He skipped five meetings of the Cobra emergency committee and may instead have focused on personal matters and on completing the U.K.’s exit from the European Union. Those distractions meant delays in ordering personal protective equipment for medical workers and strains on the NHS public medical services. Johnson himself fell victim to COVID-19 and was in critical condition for a few days, before making a recovery.
Since then, social distancing and stay-at-home orders have had a huge negative impact on the U.K. economy. In mid-June, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, a rich-world think tank, forecast that the U,K. would suffer the worst economic damage from the COVID-19 crisis of any country in the developed world. It forecast a drop of 11.5% in the U.K.’s national income during 2020.