The BBC is releasing a set of “Stay at Home” public information films in response to the coronavirus crisis, enlisting the help of some of its most beloved comedy characters from throughout the years.
In one of the films, The Thick of It’s sweary spin doctor Malcolm Tucker, played by Peter Capaldi, can be seen yelling at his staff: “Right people, listen up. It’s a f***ing lockdown right now. This is the f***ing Shawshank Redemption, right, but with more tunnelling through s*** and no f***ing redemption.
“Nobody move, nobody gets f***ing truncheoned in the face. This is a lockdown, right, this office is now an isolation unit.”
At the end of the clip, the BBC logo appears alongside the words: “Seriously, stay at home. Please help stop the spread.”
The video will be used on the BBC’s social channels rather than on television due to its graphic language, but other scenes from Miranda, I’m Alan Partridge and The Mighty Boosh will be shown in the gaps between BBC shows and on Twitter.
A classic moment from I’m Alan Partridge, in which the presenter organises a James Bond-a-thon, is also being shown with the message to ‘set a routine, to help staying in’, encouraging viewers to add some structure to the time we’re all going to spending in isolation over the upcoming weeks or months.
Tony Hall, the BBC's outgoing director general, said: “Acting on heath advice will save lives. Using our stars is a good way of getting the message out far and wide. Even if it makes just a small difference, it will be worth it.”
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