16 Oct 2020 2:49 PM

With a pent up demand for product and the industry’s struggles getting productions underway, the announcement that the UK’s long-awaited £500 million Film and TV Production Restart Scheme has officially gone live after securing state aid approval from the European Union, is great news.

From today (October 16), productions can receive compensation from the scheme for future coronavirus-related losses including filming delays from illness amongst the cast and crew.  

The scheme has been accepting early applications for two weeks, with productions set to be onboarded within days. 

The deadline for productions to register and start shooting has also been extended from December 2020 until February 28 2021.

The funding will be available to all productions made by companies where at least half of the production budget is spent in the UK. The scheme is expected to support well over 40,000 jobs across the UK’s creative sectors.

The launch follows months of campaigning by the sector to secure insurance that will effectively underwrite the cost of filming, if productions are forced to shut down due to a second lockdown.

Number 9 Films’ ‘Mothering Sunday’, starring Josh O’Connor, Odessa Young, Ṣọpẹ́ Dìrísù, Olivia Colman and Colin Firth, is among the productions to have already applied to the scheme. 

Oliver Dowden, the UK culture secretary, said:

‘Our film and TV production sector is respected the world over, filled with talented people. I am delighted that this half a billion pound scheme will get cast and crews back to doing what they do best. This move will help support tens of thousands of jobs, provide work for creative freelancers and get cameras rolling across the country.’

This is the shot in the arm that the industry needs to be able to support its talent and to generate much needed product.