TELLY producers have been doing their utmost to keep shows on air during the pandemic, trying to keep outbreaks contained and to a minimum without halting production.
But it’s a bit trickier if it’s the programme’s host who gets the dreaded alert from the NHS.
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Funnyman Jason Manford has revealed how his new BBC gameshow Unbeatable was thrown into chaos by an isolation order.
He said: “I got track and traced. I’m one of the few people in the country who’ve downloaded the ‘grass yourself up’ app, and it’s somebody that I’ve been in contact with the weekend before last.
“In the middle of the week I get a phonecall. I’m already in the make-up chair. I’m just about to go and record four episodes of this new show Unbeatable.
"We’re 20 episodes in of 50. There’s 60 people on set waiting – contestants have flown up from all over the country.
“There’s this phonecall, ‘You’ve been track and traced, you need to isolate for the next ten days’. I was like ‘what, can I just do a test?’ It was ‘no’.
“There was a second where I just thought ‘should I just keep my mouth shut’. Then I thought ‘what a hypocrite Jason you would be if you did that’.
“I’ve been giving it out for the last year about people not being responsible.
“I felt an incredible amount of pressure on my shoulders about telling this multi-million pound production ‘you can’t film for ten days’.”
Jason did what anyone in that situation would do – and downloaded the new Football Manager game.
He added: “I went into isolation in a flat in Glasgow we were renting. I’ve quite enjoyed it. I’ve never had time like this to myself.
“I’ve been tested every day and I’m fine. My wife said, ‘Only one more day until freedom’ and I thought, ‘This is my last day of freedom’.”
I can only imagine what a superpower he’s built with his beloved Man City side in all that time spent playing Football Manager.
Mat's in my flat
BRAND new BBC1 romcom Starstruck follows the adventures of Jessie, who discovers her one night stand is a famous film star called Tom.
Jessie is played by Rose Matafeo while Emma Sidi plays her best pal and flatmate Kate.
And the pair are actually best pals and flatmates in real life, too.
The stars admit that they watch telly together in the evenings instead of rehearsing their lines.
Emma told the show’s press launch: “We’re good at keeping the personal and the professional separate, by that I mean we watch Dawson’s Creek in the evenings.
The show, also starring Nikesh Patel as Tom, airs next Monday.
Eleanor’s sci-fi role
FORMER Poldark actor Eleanor Tomlinson is starring in Sky science-fiction series Intergalactic, but admits she doesn’t know much about the genre.
Eleanor told Radio Times: “I can’t say I’ve watched a lot of sci-fi. I’ve never seen Star Wars, can you believe?”
Ricky comes back to life
RICKY Gervais looks thrilled to start filming the third series of his brilliant comedy hit, After Life.
The funnyman showed off the first clapperboard as cameras started to roll on the Netflix show.
Ricky, best known for BBC’s Extras and The Office, not only plays the central character of widower Tony Johnson, he is also the show’s writer and director.
I’m not sure I’d look quite so happy if I was about to juggle three jobs.
Marlene: No Ender waiting
I REVEALED last month that Only Fools and Horses star Sue Holderness had joined the cast of EastEnders for a short stint later this spring, playing “posh bird” Estelle.
The actress, famous for playing Marlene in the sitcom, has now spoken for the first time about arriving in Walford.
She said: “I’ve been fascinated by EastEnders since its very first episode in 1985.
“When EastEnders started I thought, since I had just got my East End credibility playing Marlene, the tart with a heart from Peckham, I might get the call to pop into EastEnders.
“Thirty six years later I’m invited to join the show – playing a posh bird!”
Boycey would be so proud.
Mark and Amelia’s singalong
MADE In Chelsea star Mark Francis and Geordie Shore’s Amelia Lily are the latest names to join the line-up for the second series of ITV show Celebrity Karaoke Club.
Gogglebox and I’m A Celebrity star Scarlett Moffatt won the singing contest last year.
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