Locked down and locked out: mothers and UKTV work during the COVID-19 pandemic

Natalie Wreyford, Jack Newsinger, Helen Kennedy, Rowan Aust

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


COVID-19 and the associated government lockdowns in the UK had dramatic impacts on the UK’s creative industries. This article explores these impacts on mothers working in UK Television (UKTV), on their ability to work, finances, and mental health. It is based on the largest survey ever conducted of this group. It is argued that the COVID-19 crisis revealed and compounded the long-standing incompatibility between gendered, unpaid care work and the intensity of working patterns in UKTV. This had disastrous effects on mothers attempting to remain within television labour markets whilst also shouldering the overwhelming majority of the burden of additional childcare, with potential long-term effects on gendered labour market outcomes and the diversity of the UK’s creative industry workforce. Finally, the article explores Working From Home (WFH) as one possible solution to the problem of combining unpaid care work with the intense working patterns associated with TV work. It finds that, while an important tool through which mothers can manage care work alongside television work, WFH needs to be approached with caution as a policy and practice solution to continued gender inequality.
Original languageEnglish
JournalFeminist Media Studies
Early online date25 Oct 2023
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 25 Oct 2023


  • childcare
  • COVID-19
  • creative industries
  • flexible work
  • Television work

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