BBC uses classic sitcom clips to encourage people to stay at home

By Laura Harding, PA Senior Entertainment Correspondent

The BBC will use clips from hit shows including The Thick Of It and I’m Alan Partridge to encourage people to stay at home during the coronavirus crisis.

The corporation will also use archive footage from Miranda and The Mighty Boosh to urge viewers to help stop the spread of the illness.

A clip from Armando Iannucci’s political satire shows government spin-doctor Malcolm Tucker, played by Peter Capaldi, ordering an immediate lockdown, with no-one going in or out.

At the end a message appears on screen reading: “Seriously, stay at home. Please help stop the spread.”

A classic clip from I’m Alan Partridge shows Steve Coogan’s character organising a James Bond film marathon to fill the day.

Its ends with the message: “Set a routine to get through staying in.”

A clip from Miranda shows Miranda Hart’s character conducting an orchestra made up of wooden spoons and vegetables after saying: “Previously in my life I have proved that living alone can be genuine fun.”

Meanwhile another clip is of The Isolation Song from the surreal comedy The Mighty Boosh.

Lord Tony Hall, director-general of the BBC, 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.”

Kerris Bright, chief customer officer, added: “We’ve found four classic clips in the BBC’s extensive archive which we hope will raise a smile during these tough times.

“But the message behind this series of information films is very serious. We want to do everything we can at the BBC to help spread the message that we must all stay at home to help slow the spread of this virus, and to develop a routine to make our days that little bit more bearable.”

The corporation has also announced that some of society’s most vulnerable people will get free DAB radios to help them while they are isolating.

The digital radios will be given to people nominated by local radio listeners as part of the BBC’s Make A Difference campaign, which was launched in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.

It is running across all 39 BBC local radio stations in England and is aimed at connecting communities.

The radios have been donated by Argos, Currys PC World, John Lewis & Partners, Pure and Roberts Radio, and will be distributed by loneliness charity Wavelength, who provide technology to those in need.

Manufacturer Duracell UK will provide batteries for the radios.