BBC Worldwide ups commissioning hours for its channels


5 Aug 2011
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MUMBAI: BBC Worldwide Channels has announced new commissions for its international channels - BBC Entertainment, BBC Knowledge, CBeebies, BBC HD and UKTV (Australia). This follows Jana Bennett's announcement at the Banff Media Festival of the business plans to invest in more high quality original content for its portfolio of global networks.

BBC Worldwide Channels' commissioning slate has now grown to 112 hours of content for this year, up from 34 hours in 2010. This year-on-year increase underlines the growing commitment to funding original content alongside the core proposition of taking the best of British content to the world.

The next new series greenlit for BBC Worldwide's international channels are'Year of Adventures','Dripping In Chocolate' and kids' property'Mr Bloom's Nursery'.

Ben Fogle's'Year of Adventures' sees him tackling a series of
challenges in the US, Europe and Australia, and is inspired by the Lonely Planet book of the same name. As host, expert and crash-test dummy, Ben demonstrates how true adventure is done. His exploits include kayaking with orcas in British Columbia, boarding down the slopes of a Nicaraguan volcano, rafting the snowmelts of Turkish Anatolia and kicking up dust in a desert buggy race across Australia's Outback.

The series will air on international feeds of BBC Knowledge, BBC HD and BBC Entertainment in January 2012.

Feature-length murder mystery'Dripping in Chocolate' is in production for BBC Worldwide's Australian channel UKTV. A delicious mix of murder and love, the drama sees a detective and a chocolatier form an unlikely duo in order to find out who killed the girl discovered outside the chocolate shop.

For pre-school channel CBeebies, two series of'Mr Bloom's Nurser' are the latest in-house investments for BBC Worldwide Channels. Set in a colourful, fertile allotment run by the green-fingered Mr Bloom (Ben Faulks), the show combines live action and puppets to show how three to six year olds can learn from the experience of nurturing plants and vegetables.

BBC Worldwide senior VP programming, TV channels David Weiland said, "We are now delivering on our strategy to commission both local and global programming for our international channels with this brilliant and varied slate of new titles. Constantly adding to our programming mix keeps our channels compelling, and these new programme commissions will complement the high quality British content that we already feature. The numerous new commissions announced in recent weeks underline the fact that BBC Worldwide Channels now has the scale and ambition to get solidly into original production. This is only the start and we have lots of other ideas in development and hope to announce more throughout 2011."

These three shows join the slate of new commissions announced by the business this year and now in production.

Come Dine With Me South Africa is a local version of ITV Studios' format. It features contestants from Cape Town, Durban and Johannesburg.

In Free Rein, actors Bryan Brown and Rachel Ward go in search of the spirit of Australia on horseback adventure across The Kimberley, the Outback's last frontier.

‘The Kangaroo Gang: Thieves by Appointment' for UKTV in Australia and BBC Knowledge globally will tell the story of the brazen Australian shoplifting gang, one of the most spectacularly successful in history. The show is based on the book'King of Thieves', by Adam Shand.

The business' first comedy pilot,'Some Say Love', is also in
development for UKTV in Australia. This is an observational
sketch-comedy series about the universal ups and downs of
relationships, produced by Freehand.

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