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Covid-19 has threatened small producers’ survival and made it “almost impossible” to remain independent, according to veteran drama producer Jane Tranter.
Speaking at the London Film Festival, the founder of His Dark Materials producer Bad Wolf, which is backed by Sky Studios, said that assembling the cash reserves needed to proceed with filming has got tougher in 2020.
“True indies, start-ups or those whose output is not of critical mainstream worth are going to really struggle,” she said.
“The whole point of the terms of trade is to allow 1,000 flowers to bloom and diversity of voices and talent within the production industry to be heard - but that is genuinely under threat.” 
Tranter urged the industry to keep pressure on the government to release money to smaller producers via the £500m production insurance scheme, which she said had been swamped with claims since opening for applications.
She described production delays on series three of Bad Wolf’s Sky/HBO drama A Discovery of Witches, with all parties committing money to cover filming delays.
“We were able to do this because all of our other shows have wrapped but if this was our first year then we might have gone out of business,” she said. “It’s almost impossible to remain independent now and that is a genuine worry.”
However, Tranter said there would continue to be co-production opportunities, as UK content remains in demand from US broadcasters and streamers.
The former BBC drama head used her platform to rally the industry to stick up for the BBC and its central role in the UK’s culture and arts community.
“What used to be a sort of affectionate picking over of the BBC has in 2020 become a ‘pick the flesh off the bones until there is a small crumbling skeleton’ approach,” she declared.  
“I would encourage all of us to think about what the BBC provides rather than kicking it in the shins.” 

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