Being a writer, the logistics of how I do my job in times of Covid doesn't change that much. Sure I might drink more Coke Zero and stay in my shed longer than is healthy, but I still use my brain and my computer to try and find funny things for people to do.
The same cannot be said for everyone else who helps make TV. While I don't have to do anything different, they've had to reinvent their entire jobs.
Given that some of the TV shows I contributed to over lockdown are starting to see the light of day, I wanted to give a shout out to those unsung, gunge splattered heroes of kids TV who have done everything Eastenders and Strictly managed to do only quicker, funnier and with about an eighth of the budget.
First up -Crackerjack. There's a whole new series on the way and all of it was filmed back in October in a time of great uncertainty. The Christmas special aired on BBC One over, well Christmas, and you can still see it HERE
Not only was it filmed in Manchester, at a time when Manchester was facing flip flopping restrictions, it is a show that relies heavily on a full studio audience bellowing it's catchphrase repeatedly at the top of their voices - not very Covid compliant. There's also lots of slapstick and non Covid compliant gunge with kids battling against each other in a series of silly games.
Almost everything had to change.
The studio audience went and games were made socially distanced. The presenters Sam and Mark were put in one bubble, the sketch cast in another and all the kids on the show had to maintain social distance from each other while doing very silly things. The crew had to work differently too. The only time anyone got close to the kids they had to be in a full body suit costume - the frankly terrifying cabbage monster - but it was the only way they could make Double or Drop work.
They got ten episodes made, the very least you can do is check it out! I bet you won't even spot the joins, which is testament to the work that went in to making it happen. Take a bow.
Now if that isn't something to shout about I don't know what is. Filming on location in a leisure centre is hard enough. Continuing to film while it pops in and out of lockdown and customers are allowed in and out of the venue is insane!
Those shows were all live action, which posed a certain set of challenges, Dave Spud is a cartoon and that posed a whole load of different ones.
We started writing this one in January 2020 and the first episodes hit the screen right after Christmas. You know the long list of names you see at the end of a cartoon? They all worked on this show without ever being in the same room. Some of them weren't even in the same country. The voice talent often recorded their parts remotely, sometimes in makeshift home studios with direction being given over a video link. Once again, I have no idea how they did it, I just know they did. Dave Spud is a quintessentially British cartoon. If you haven't seen it please do have a look - Basement Jaxx did the theme tune. It is THAT good.
That's a small selection of what's been coming through, but by no means everything I - and many others - have worked on. All have kept going with a cheery disposition despite massive and varying disruption, making television for children because it's what they do best.
I hope you enjoy watching it when it comes out and if you do, this year, of all years, take the time to watch the credits - these guys deserve every single one.