Now in its 41st year, BBC Worldwide Showcase kicked off on Monday this week, and concludes today. The world’s largest international television market hosted by a single distributor is attended by TV buyers, award-winning producers and on-screen talent.
Ab Fab’s global success
25 years after Edina and Patsy from Absolutely Fabulous first staggered drunkenly onto BBC One, the hit TV series has proven to be one of the corporation’s biggest global draws.
The findings were revealed to coincide with the launch of BBC Worldwide’s 41st annual Showcase event, which is being held at Liverpool’s ACC Arena this week. Both Jennifer Saunders and Joanna Lumley hosted the Monday evening gala event as part of the celebration.
Distributed internationally, the hit series about a PR agent and magazine editor has been sold globally to 240 countries and is one of the BBC’s biggest hits around the world.
In Russia, the series is known as Pour Me Another One. In Sweden, their local translation is called TotallyHysterical.
The series launched in 1992 and is still on the shopping lists of TV buyers. Last year BBC Worldwide sold all five series to Australia, Africa and Czech Republic, proving the modern day staying power of the Absolutely Fabulous pairing of Jennifer Saunders and Joanna Lumley.
Drama key to BBC Worldwide success
Over 3,000 hours of BBC Worldwide’s extensive drama catalogue has been sold, in the past three months.
From deals in Sub-Saharan Africa to Estonia, Sherlock, Doctor Foster and Call the Midwife are among BBC Worldwide’s top selling series globally, while sales of classic series like Miss Marple continue to find new audiences.
Drama takes centre stage at BBC Worldwide Showcase 2017: the world’s biggest TV fair to be held by a single program distributor. Some of television’s greatest writers, including Mark Gatiss (Doctor Who, Sherlock), Hossein Amini (McMafia), Misha Glenny (McMafia), Mike Bartlett (Doctor Foster) and Jimmy McGovern (Broken), are taking part in the event as BBC Worldwide unveils a new slate of premium dramas for global audiences.
More than 700 buyers travel to Liverpool to watch over 3,000 hours of programs during the four-day event. They also get to see genre premieres and hear from the producers and creatives of a wide range of brand new shows.
Paul Dempsey, president global markets, BBC Worldwide, said: “The demand for British drama continues to rise as global audiences are captivated by both the range and quality of our writing, acting and production.”
In Western Europe, where over 200 hours of drama were sold, two of the major broadcasters in Germany bought a number of new and classic titles. RTL Pay purchased SSGB and Rillington Place and ZDF has bought Death in Paradise (Series 5 and 6) as well as Spooks (Series 6,7,8,9 and 10) among other titles. And in Italy, Rai Cinema acquired Doctor Foster (Series 1) as part of a drama package.
There is also strong demand for British drama in Central and Eastern Europe with 600 hours of content sold across the region. In Russia, War and Peace (2015) will now be available on SVOD platform IVI and in the Ukraine Digital Screens will have Dickensian (Series 1) among other drama series.
In Northern Europe, around 350 hours of drama have been sold across the territories with Maigret (Ep 1 and 2) licensed to VRT in Belgium and Happy Valley (Series 2) to NPO in Holland.
Nearly 400 hours of drama have been sold across Latin America with War and Peace (2015) licensed to Brazilian free-to-air channel, Globo, airing later in 2017. Ripper Street (Series 2) will be available on Filmin Latino (SVOD/FVOD) as well as Pramer (Ripper Street Series 2 &3). In addition, Vubiquity has acquired Series 1-10 of Doctor Who.
Finally, in Asia, nearly 950 hours of drama content were acquired between Korea, Japan, Greater China and India with titles such as New Tricks (Series 12), Citizen Khan (Series 5) and The Paradise (Series 1 and 2) proving popular. Clients included KBS in Korea, AXN Mystery in Japan, Youku in Greater China and FX in India.