BBC shows gang of cyclists moments after Johnson announces lock-down

Viewers accuse BBC One of ‘taking the p***’ after it broadcasts a clip showing a group of cyclists in the fresh air just moments after Boris Johnson announces the UK is in lock-down

  • Boris Johnson addressed the nation at 8:30pm on BBC One last night, telling the nation lock-down is enforced for at least three weeks in a bid to beat coronavirus 
  • PM told people they should only go out for essential goods, medical needs, or brief exercise – and that gatherings should be limited to two, or households 
  • However, straight after his announcement, BBC ran a clip of tandem cyclists
  • Frustrated viewers said the BBC was tone deaf for showing people enjoying group exercise in the fresh air while the nation faces weeks of isolation
  • Coronavirus symptoms: what are they and should you see a doctor?

A BBC clip that showed an eight-strong group of cyclists out enjoying the fresh air – just moments after the Prime Minister announced the UK is on lock-down – has been slammed as ‘insensitive’ by viewers. 

The broadcaster’s promotional clip, which aired just before MasterChef on BBC One at 9pm, showed the gathering of cyclists out in the fresh air on tandem bikes.

It ran directly after Boris Johnson’s landmark address to the nation which advised that Britons could be fined if they venture outside in large groups as the UK fights to stop the spread of coronavirus. 

Frustrated viewers took to Twitter to say the BBC was ‘taking the p***’ and sending out ‘mixed messages’ in showing the video after Britons had been told to stay indoors and avoid social gatherings or face fines. 

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Boris Johnson plunged the UK into coronavirus lockdown last night – ordering the closure of all shops selling non-essential goods as well as playgrounds and churches 

Tone deaf? BBC One aired this short clip – known as an ident – directly after Boris Johnson’s address to the nation outlined draconian isolation measures for Britain’s 66 million people, including no social gatherings and going outdoors just once a day

Mr Johnson’s unprecedented speech laid out to viewers during the broadcast that  Britain’s 66million people are now in lock-down with non-essential shops ordered to immediately close and people threatened with fines or even arrest if they do not ‘stay at home’.

The Prime Minister’s shutdown will last for a minimum of three weeks and the UK’s new state of emergency is unprecedented in modern history.

Gatherings of more than two people will be banned in the most dramatic curbs on freedom ever seen in Britain in time of peace or war, as the government goes all out to stop the spread of the killer disease, which has claimed 335 lives. 

The BBC clip, part of a long-running series of short videos – known as idents – that fill gaps inbetween programmes, appeared in stark contrast to the PM’s message. 

@rockabites penned: #BorisJohnson announces #UKlockdown @BBCNews straight after goes into the specifics of the plan. #StayAtHome, no gatherings outside. Then straight after the news before #MasterChefUK, this clip is played. Are @BBCOne taking the p***??’

The ident showing cyclists on tandem bikes in a park wasn’t the only clip to air last night; a similar one showing mountain climbers was also broadcast 

@RussellPrimeast raged on Twitter: ‘Maybe using the ident with the tandem cyclists (who are less that 2m apart) is not such a good idea?’ 

@mahdi_manc added: ‘BBC flaunting BoJo’s lockdown by promoting tandem cyclists directly after the press conference! fail #StayAtHomeSaveLives’ 

@Stevedknowles wrote: ‘It’s all very well the PM telling us to stay in and not gather in groups of more than 2 but before a new programme starts on @bbc they show groups of cyclists on tandems and mountain rescuers rubbing shoulders! #mixedmessages #coronavirus #StayingInn #dontridetandems #2Metres’. 

@beatnik69 agreed, saying: ‘Did anyone else watch the lockdown announcement and news on @BBCNI which was immediately followed by the ident with the tandem cyclists in Victoria Park, then Masterchef, which opens with a group of people walking towards the camera? Talk about rubbing it in!

MailOnline has contacted BBC One for comment.  

In last night’s grim address to the nation from Downing Street, Mr Johnson said: ‘Without a huge national effort to halt the growth of this virus, there will come a moment when no health service in the world could possibly cope; because there won’t be enough ventilators, enough intensive care beds, enough doctors and nurses’, adding: ‘I must give the British people a very simple instruction – you must stay at home’.

He said any family reunions, weddings, baptisms and other social events must be cancelled to stop the NHS collapsing under the strain. Funerals can go ahead attended by just a handful of closest relatives.

People must only leave their homes for essential supplies, medical help, or to travel to work if it is ‘absolutely’ unavoidable. Going out for exercise will be allowed once a day, but parks will be patrolled to make sure there is no abuse of the rules.

Police will have powers to fine those who do not fall into line, and disperse any public gatherings, in measures to curb movement only seen during the Second World War. Historians have claimed you have to go back to 1666 to find when people were last forced to stay at home en masse, when Britons had to stay at home for 40 days to halt the spread of the Great Plague.

The PM was finally forced into the draconian move amid fury that many people are still flouting ‘social distancing’ guidance, with parks and Tube trains in London – regarded as the engine of the UK outbreak – still busy despite repeated pleas.

‘Though huge numbers are complying – and I thank you all – the time has now come for us all to do more,’ Mr Johnson said.  

Boris Johnson’s address to the nation in full

Good Evening. The coronavirus is the biggest threat this country has faced for decades – and this country is not alone.

All over the world we are seeing the devastating impact of this invisible killer

And so tonight I want to update you on the latest steps we are taking to fight the disease and what you can do to help.

And I want to begin by reminding you why the UK has been taking the approach that we have.

Without a huge national effort to halt the growth of this virus, there will come a moment when no health service in the world could possibly cope; because there won’t be enough ventilators, enough intensive care beds, enough doctors and nurses.

And as we have seen elsewhere, in other countries that also have fantastic health care systems, that is the moment of real danger.

To put it simply, if too many people become seriously unwell at one time, the NHS will be unable to handle it – meaning more people are likely to die, not just from Coronavirus but from other illnesses as well.

So it’s vital to slow the spread of the disease because that is the way we reduce the number of people needing hospital treatment at any one time, so we can protect the NHS’s ability to cope – and save more lives.

And that’s why we have been asking people to stay at home during this pandemic.

And though huge numbers are complying – and I thank you all – the time has now come for us all to do more.

From this evening I must give the British people a very simple instruction – you must stay at home.

Because the critical thing we must do is stop the disease spreading between households.

That is why people will only be allowed to leave their home for the following very limited purposes:

Shopping for basic necessities, as infrequently as possible.

One form of exercise a day – for example a run, walk, or cycle – alone or with members of your household;

Any medical need, to provide care or to help a vulnerable person. 

And travelling to and from work, but only where this is absolutely necessary and cannot be done from home.

That’s all – these are the only reasons you should leave your home.

You should not be meeting friends. If your friends ask you to meet, you should say No.

You should not be meeting family members who do not live in your home.

You should not be going shopping except for essentials like food and medicine — and you should do this as little as you can. And use food delivery services where you can.

If you don’t follow the rules the police will have the powers to enforce them, including through fines and dispersing gatherings.

To ensure compliance with the Government’s instruction to stay at home, we will immediately:

Close all shops selling non-essential goods,​ including clothing and electronic stores and other premises including libraries, playgrounds and outdoor gyms, and places of worship.

We will stop all gatherings of more than two people in public – excluding people you live with.

And we’ll stop all social events​, including weddings, baptisms and other ceremonies, but excluding funerals.

Parks will remain open for exercise but gatherings will be dispersed.

No Prime Minister wants to enact measures like this.

I know the damage that this disruption is doing and will do to people’s lives, to their businesses and to their jobs.

And that’s why we have produced a huge and unprecedented programme of support both for workers and for business.

And I can assure you that we will keep these restrictions under constant review. We will look again in three weeks, and relax them if the evidence shows we are able to.

But at present there are just no easy options. The way ahead is hard, and it is still true that many lives will sadly be lost.

And yet it is also true that there is a clear way through.

Day by day we are strengthening our amazing NHS with 7500 former clinicians now coming back to the service.

With the time you buy – by simply staying at home – we are increasing our stocks of equipment.

We are accelerating our search for treatments.

We are pioneering work on a vaccine.

And we are buying millions of testing kits that will enable us to turn the tide on this invisible killer.

I want to thank everyone who is working flat out to beat the virus.

Everyone from the supermarket staff to the transport workers to the carers to the nurses and doctors on the frontline.

But in this fight we can be in no doubt that each and every one of us is directly enlisted. Each and every one of us is now obliged to join together.

To halt the spread of this disease. To protect our NHS and to save many many thousands of lives.

And I know that as they have in the past so many times. The people of this country will rise to that challenge.

And we will come through it stronger than ever. We will beat the coronavirus and we will beat it together.

And therefore I urge you at this moment of national emergency to stay at home, protect our NHS and save lives. Thank you

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