Ross Kemp series to celebrate the UK’s Covid-19 ‘volunteer army’

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Ross Kemp will show audiences the invaluable work being done by volunteers

Ross Kemp is to front a new TV series celebrating the efforts of some of the UK’s 750,000 volunteers during the coronavirus crisis.

Britain’s Volunteer Army will see the actor join those helping the vulnerable with everything from shopping to delivering hospital equipment.

The BBC One daytime show is among a raft of new programmes aimed at helping audiences through the lockdown.

New comedy, including a Charlie Booker special, will also come to BBC Two.

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Charlie Brooker’s Screenwipe is being renamed Antiviral Wipe

And ITV will screen a series of one-off dramas under the Isolation Stories banner, featuring such stars as Sheridan Smith, Robert Glenister and Eddie Marsan – and in some cases their families too.

The actors and their families have filmed the scenes themselves in isolation, with directors watching remotely and giving advice about camera positioning, scene composition and lighting.

Smith will star in Mel as a heavily pregnant isolated woman facing childbirth alone, without the married father of her child and without her family, who have given her the cold shoulder.

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Sheridan Smith will play an isolated expectant mother

Smith said: “I am heavily pregnant and have been isolating at home so I jumped at the chance to make a drama about the massive drama going on all around us right now.

“I think it’s really important to try and reflect what’s happening to us whilst it is still actually happening.”

Glenister and his actor son Tom will star in Ron and Russell. The Hustle and Spooks star will play a man suffering with coronavirus, who is isolated with his son in an increasingly tense home environment.

Marsan will be joined by his sons Blue and Bodie in another instalment, while further episodes will feature David Threlfall, Darren Boyd and Angela Griffin.

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Other new BBC One shows include Saving Our Nurses, which will shine a light on a mentorship scheme set up by one NHS hospital trust before the coronavirus outbreak.

Another five-part series, Our Finest Hours, will look at how the UK has responded with acts of kindness and resilience to previous times of crisis, such as during World War II, and compare past experience with the impact of Covid-19.

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Meera Syal will feature in a series of comedy shorts

On BBC Two, Charlie Brooker’s Antiviral Wipe will be a one-off special edition of his satirical Screenwipe series, looking at the things people are watching and doing to keep themselves occupied.

Meanwhile, Comedians Playing With Themselves will feature Bob Mortimer, Meera Syal and Russell Kane in six 15-minute episodes.

ITV is also reportedly working on a lockdown reboot of its game show Family Fortunes, which was last seen on screens in 2015.

Instead of being filmed in a studio, cameras will go into the homes of the two competing families, according to Deadline.

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