MLF Exec Producer Liz McLeod Writes Article for C21 on Keeping Chinese Co-productions on Track During Covid

Meridian Line Films exec-producer Liz McLeod wrote an article for C21 which recently headlined their Context Bulletin. The article reveals how MLF has kept a slate of Chinese copros going since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.

You can read an excerpt of the article below and read the full version here, which also contains some spectacular pictures of our co-productions with China over the past few years.

“At the start of 2020 we were looking forward to the year ahead with excitement. Not only were we about to celebrate our fifth birthday as a Yorkshire-based specialist factual indie, we were starting the edit on a science series for up-and-coming Chinese online channel Bilibili. With four international copros on China about to start pre-production, we were also quietly confident about some development we were doing for a UK broadcaster. We also had two reversioning projects ready to go. 2020 looked busy but good.

On January 24, we flew a producer/director (PD) and a presenter to Beijing to film the first of our China-based projects. Were the stories of a new SARS-like virus in Hubei something to worry about? We didn’t think so. The quarantining of Wuhan city didn’t feel significant, as our filming was in another part of China. In Beijing, the PD reported that the hotel guests were leaving and going home, that the hotel staff took his temperature four times a day, that streets were deserted, all tourist sights closed and everyone was masked.

As permission to film or travel around became increasingly restricted, day by day, we wrote and rewrote the script – thinking in typical TV mindset that flexibility would get us through. After four days, our Chinese partners learned that all TV production was suspended and our team should not only leave but also self-quarantine on return to the UK. It all sounded like a bit of an over-reaction.”