‘It felt so warm and lively and really got the best out of some great guests’

Monkey Kingdom for ITV2

After two series on air, Monkey Kingdom’s panel format was forced to adapt to Covid protocols and launch its third series amid a global pandemic.

Unlike many lockdown versions of entertainment shows, the judges felt the distanced set gave the show a sense of “scale and performance” rather than feeling “cavernous”. In fact, the judges felt that the lockdown adaption added to the look of the show and made it more popular than its pre-pandemic iteration.

Don’t Hate the Playaz was praised for its diverse casting, featuring the UK’s first all-back female panel line-up, as well being able to tap into a diverse audience. One judge said the casting felt “refreshing” and full of “fun and energy”.

The hip-hop comedy panel show has earned a reputation launching and nurturing new talent, with agents praising the format for helping boost the careers of young comics and musicians. “Every element felt right” was one judge’s verdict about the show’s lockdown episodes. “It felt so warm and lively and really got the best out of some great guests,” they added.

The set was purposely designed to feel like a gig-style environment with a minimal stage allowing the audience and talent to take centre stage, adding to its “authenticity” said one judge. “This was incredibly impressive to pull off during lockdown.”


How’s Your Head Hun?
World of Wonder Productions for BBC3

The judges praised World of Wonder’s BBC3 series for its authenticity and its exceptional editing skills for a home-produced lockdown show. Shot entirely by Drag Race judge Michelle Visage’s husband, How’s Your Head Hun? embraced the chaos of early amateur home filming but managed to weave together a “myth-busting, genre-busting, funny, revealing, affirming and feminist” series, according to one judge.

League Of Their Own
CPL Productions for Sky 1

The long-running sports comedy panel show managed to keep the lights on during lockdown, returning for series 15 with LA-based James Cordon succeeded by Romesh Ranganathan. The change in presenting talent and a set of socially distanced challenges gave the format a welcome refresh after 10 years on air.

Lockdown Juice
Talkback (a Fremantle label) for ITV2

A mere few weeks after the government-imposed lockdown kicked in, Keith Lemon hosted a Celebrity Juice special from his home video, dialling the likes of Holly Willoughby, Mel B, Roman Kemp and Mark Wright. Talkback managed to pull off a well-executed, hilarious spin-off of the ITV hit, keeping the country entertained through those hard early days of restrictions.

InterConnected: Salvation Calling
BBC Writersroom for BBC Writersroom website and social media

Designed in response to the uncertainty created by the first lockdown, InterConnected challenged writers of all experience levels to create short videos of characters, relating their life in under restrictions. Such was the response to the call that BBC Writersroom received nearly 7,000 scripts. Eight were turned into videos with professional cats.

There’s Something About Movies
CPL Productions and Motion Content Group for Sky 1

Just a week into pre-production on the panel show’s third series on March last year, the pandemic hit and its stars were sent home. However, by the following Monday, revisions had been made, meaning production could continue. The show late became one of the first shows out of lockdown, returning to the studio in mid June.