BBC First channel to launch on Foxtel in August

BBC First is a new global drama / comedy brand, with the first channel launch confirmed for Australia on Foxtel.

MUSKETEERSBBC Worldwide has announced its new premium drama and comedy channel on Foxtel will be known as BBC First.

Boasting the best British scripted content “first, fast and uninterrupted”, BBC First is a new BBC Worldwide brand that will be rolled out globally, with the first channel launch confirmed for Australia.

BBC Chief Executive Tim Davie, said, “The BBC has a world-class reputation for drama and this new global brand builds on it. With drama at its core, BBC First will offer international audiences an unrivalled opportunity to view a wealth of original and unforgettable British content.”

Jon Penn, Managing Director BBC Worldwide Australia & New Zealand, said: ‘BBC First captures the essence of the channel perfectly. It is synonymous with the quality BBC brand, delivering the best British drama and comedy to audiences before they can see it anywhere else in Australia. We’re delighted that our new channel, announced in April, is to become a BBC Worldwide brand that will be recognised and cherished around the world.’

Foxtel Executive Director of Television, Brian Walsh, said: ‘This is another historic moment for Foxtel and a landmark television partnership. BBC First extends our un-rivalled commitment to securing the best premium programming for our subscribers. From August, every coveted BBC drama and comedy will premiere in Australia first on Foxtel.’

Launching as part of the Foxtel Drama & Lifestyle package in August 2014, BBC First will feature premiere programming from the BBC which will not be available on Free to Air television for at least 12 months.

The Pay TV deal means ABC will no longer have first rights to many drama and comedy titles from mid-2014.

Titles include:

The Musketeers, a contemporary take on the beloved characters created by Alexandra Dumas, starring Luke Pasqualino, Tom Burke, Santiago Cabrera, Howard Charles and Peter Capaldi.
The Fear, a bold, edgy drama following a former crime boss as his empire is brought to its knees by the disintegration of his criminal mind, starring Peter Mullan and Richard E. Grant.
Young Doctor’s Notebook, a wry comedy based on the semi-autobiographical short stories by Bulgakov, about a young medical graduate on the eve of the Russian Revolution. It stars Jon Hamm and Daniel Radcliffe.
Dead Boss, a comedy drama about a woman wrongly sentenced to 12 years in prison for the murder of her boss, starring Jennifer Saunders and Sharon Horgan.
The Village, a family saga set in the beautiful Peak District in the twentieth century, starring Jon Simm and Maxine Peake.
The Fall, series two of this compelling psychological thriller set in Northern Ireland, starring Gillian Anderson as Det Super Stella Gibson.

BBC First will also be available on Foxtel GO and in high definition.

10 Responses

  1. I just don’t see there being enough content for another 24/7 channel. The BBC is full of reality programmes like Strictly Come Dancing (DWTS) and The Voice UK not to mention soaps like Doctors and EastEnders. Most of the BBC content like Casualty, Waterloo Road and Holby City are already on UKTV, which also airs quite a lot of ITV content. Will be interesting to see what happens.

  2. @Stan
    Sherlock is the only one that rates.

    Seven and Nine have a lot money tied up in US output deals, Sport, News and Current Affairs and contest shows. After Parade’s End, Mr Selfridge and Ripper Street all failed they will be taking less risks hoping to strike it rich with the next Downton Abbey.
    The ABC will have the money from its BBC deal to spend on ITV shows and non-exclusive rights for selected BBC shows.

  3. As others have eluded to, there could be a silver lining for ABC here as it’ll shake a lot of the FTA commercial networks outta the tree. Mostly they won’t be interested in airing BBC programming a year later, but ABC might be a little more patient (& they’ll be cheaper too). Things like Ripper Street, Sherlock & Parade’s End might end up having their FTA premieres on ABC1 instead… Assuming ABC was even interested in acquiring those programs.

  4. Would it be naughty to admit the top two BBC dramas I most look forward to are Doctor Who and Sherlock. I didn’t mind Ripper Street either or what I saw of it. All of them on other channels. The rest I’m fine with waiting for. I just hope the ABC uses it as a way to keep the price down. Because I’m sure there’d be many viewers still wanting to see stuff from the BBC on the ABC. Most things there isn’t any need to be in a hurry for it. Only the first two shows I’ve mentioned would I make an exception for.

  5. Before promoting S2 of The Fall next October, They might want to promote S1 which starts tonight on the BBC’s other drama channel UK TV (soon to be BBC Second?) tonight.

    The BBC has been selling its top shows on the open marketvfor a while (Ten bought Ripper Street, Nine bought Sherlock and Parade’s End) and the ABC had a deal for picks of the rest but were showing less and less and it was ending up on 7 Two (The Indian Doctor) or UK TV (The Fall, The Crimson Petal and The White).

    Now they will sell everything to BBC First and nonexclusive rights will be available to whomever still wants them after 12 months. The time delay isn’t much of an issue, the ABC sat on a lot of BBC for 9-12 months or more anyway. But there is a reasonable overlap between ABC viewers and Foxtel Subscribers so they will be worth less to the ABC.

Leave a Reply