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Old Boy Contributes to TV Programme on Self Isolation

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Jonny Ashton, who was in Bolton School just 2 weeks ago and who left in 2005, was one of several television producers and crew involved in last night’s Channel 4 programme ‘Coronavirus: How to Isolate Yourself’. Production company Parable contacted Jonny and others on Friday 13 March and just eight days later the show aired on tv. The programme offered an expert, no-nonsense guide on how to cope from Dr Xand van Tulleken and psychologist Kimberley Wilson.

Reflecting on the making of the documentary, Jonny said: ‘My role was as one of the directors and the programme was made, by tv norms, in an incredibly short space of time. We started filming the day after they had called me. The overriding message of the programme was that we need to treat this seriously. If we ignore the advice on self-isolation and social distancing, there is a real danger that we can pass this disease on without even knowing we ever contracted it. Social distancing will give ourselves, our loved ones and the community the best possible chance of surviving. It is critical that we don’t overstretch the NHS and we ‘flatten the curve’ of infections. Two excerpts from the programme have already been shared widely on social media – the interview with Professor Hugh Montgomery (Professor of Intensive Care Medicine at UCL), where he explains how contagious the disease is. He points out that with flu we will infect 1.3 or 1.4 people, who will go on to infect the same amount of people. By the time that has happened ten times, a person will have infected 14 people. Coronavirus is much more virulent and one person will spread it on to, on average, 3 people. Ten times later and 59,000 people will have become infected! As of mid-afternoon today, this clip had been viewed 9.5 million times on social media (watch it here). The other emotional excerpt which has resonated with the public is of tv presenter Peter Snow self-isolating and his son Dan telling how his father had looked after him for 18 years so it is now his turn to look after his 81 year old father for six months (watch it here).

The plan with the programme was to provide a clear and simple message that could help to inform the public and to get that message out to them quickly. I'm proud of the final outcome, and hope the public find it useful.’

You can watch the full programme via Channel 4's on-demand service here.

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