‘The Crown’ Producer Left Bank Considering Relocation of Shoots Due to COVID-19 (EXCLUSIVE)

Manori Ravindran

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“The Crown” producer Andy Harries, CEO of Left Bank, has said the feat of restarting production will present “complex challenges” that will require the relocation of production as countries emerge from lockdowns.

Speaking as part of BBC Radio 4’s “The Media Show” on Wednesday alongside Variety and Jonathan Hewes, boss of “Ocean Autopsy” producer Pioneer Productions, Harries said Left Bank is considering relocating a thriller it plans to shoot in Hungary this fall to London.

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“We had a thriller to shoot in Hungary but which we hope to shoot in London (now). Whether we can make it work with social distancing laws, I don’t know. Where does the crew stand? Where do you park the cars? How do you feed and water the crew? There are so many areas that provide complex challenges,” said Harries.

One of the biggest names of British drama production, Harries warned that though “some fairly simplistic dramas” can get up and running, “something more complex and overseas” will take time to resume.

He added that one major question was whether a broadcaster or platform “is going to pay the amount of money (required) to try switching that (location),” estimating that switching locations  “could add 15-20% of the budget.”

“The Crown” completed shooting season four just days before the U.K.’s lockdown was enforced on March 23.

“We would have liked to have a few more days. We were chasing the light,” said Harries of finishing up season four in March. He said the show is “on target” to be released on Netflix in November, though the post-production process has not been without its challenges with gear sent to writer Peter Morgan and other crew members’ homes to complete the process remotely.

Harries is hoping the next and final season of the Netflix show will be in the clear of restrictive production protocols in time to start production in May 2021.

Reflecting on what may be ahead for British scripted commissions in the future, Harries — whose recent production, “White Lines,” recently launched on Netflix — said uplifting fare will be sought by broadcasters and platforms when the pandemic subsides.

“People are looking for more upbeat (shows) — musical perhaps, and comedy stuff. Feel-good drama will be the order of the day,” said Harries.

Left Bank had one of the few scripted successes for broadcasters during the lockdown period with ITV and AMC co-production “Quiz,” which aired in April to rave reviews and solid ratings for the channel.

“It was perfect timing. It was just perfect to amuse and entertain people just a few weeks into the lockdown,” enthused Harries.

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