This year’s Royal Television Awards will be held behind closed doors for the first time ever amid coronavirus concerns as the sixth death in the UK was confirmed.
Nominees and Royal Television Society representatives will still be able to attend the event in London, but all other guests will be invited to watch it via a live stream.
Theresa Wise, chief executive of the Royal Television Society, said the plan was designed to create a ‘streamlined event’.
She announced: ‘While adapting as necessary to the current situation, we aim to continue celebrating the past year of television and excellence in our industry in the best way possible – by honouring nominees and winners through a streamlined event.
‘We look forward to offering everyone the opportunity to join us via live stream as we host the RTS Programme Awards.’
The event, due to be held on March 17th, will be live-streamed and guests will watch online.
The organisation said: ‘The Royal Television Society made the decision to streamline the format of this year’s RTS Programme Awards, in partnership with Audio Network, scheduled to take place on Tuesday 17th March.
‘In order to host the event responsibly, as well as continuing to celebrate the nominees’ achievements, a slimmed down, intimate presentation of the awards be live-streamed.
‘Nominees and RTS representatives will now be invited to the event with the broader industry able to watch via a live link.’
The announcement comes as the number of UK coronavirus cases jumped to 373 and a sixth death was confirmed on Tuesday.
Fleabag and Chernobyl lead the nominations for the Royal Television Society Programme Awards 2020, each with three nods.
BBC’s comedy Fleabag – which has swept the board lately when it comes to securing gongs – and Sky Atlantic drama Chernobyl – which won several 2019 Emmys, including Outstanding Limited Series – have both been given a hat-trick of nominations for the upcoming RTS ceremony.
Fleabag creator and star Phoebe Waller-Bridge has been nominated for both the Comedy Performance (Female) and Writer (Comedy) prizes.
The show as a whole is in the running for Scripted Comedy.
Chernobyl lead Jared Harris is on the shortlist in the male Actor category, with writer Craig Mazin up for Drama award, and the programme itself is nominated for best Mini-Series.
For the Comedy Writer prize, Phoebe finds herself competing with Danny Brocklehurst (Brassic) and Sex Education scribe Laurie Nunn, while the latter show also has a nod in the Comedy Performance (Male) category thanks to Ncuti Gatwa.
Derry Girls star Saoirse-Monica Jackson is also on the list for female Comedy Performance prize alongside Motherland actress Diane Morgan.
Both of these shows have further nods respectively in the Comedy and Breakthrough (Tanya Moodie) lists.
Also on two nominations, Gentleman Jack is listed for best Drama, while leading star Suranne Jones is up for the Actor (Female) prize.
Finally, The Virtues has two nominations, earning recognition in the acting categories for Niamh Algar and Stephen Graham.
Scientists tracking the UK’s coronavirus outbreak, which has risen eight-fold in the space of a week, have warned the situation is quickly following the same trajectory as Italy’s and could peak within a fortnight.
It comes as thousands of furious Brits have today been left stranded after BA and Jet2 cancelled all flights to and from Italy until April because of the crisis – Ryanair will all scrap its flights.
GP appointments in the UK will now be held over the phone or video link, Health Secretary Matt Hancock has announced.