Curtain up on BBC First
Three Musketeers, Peaky Blinders, The Politician’s Husband & Banished are all coming to BBC First.
The titles were revealed at an industry launch held at the Royal Hall of Industries, last night in Sydney.
Coast Australia host Neil Oliver emceed the night in which Jon Penn, Managing Director of BBC Worldwide ANZ and Natalie Edgar, Director of Television, showcased some of the upcoming content.
In attendance were British High Commissioner Paul Madden, BBC Worldwide UK and ANZ President Marcus Arthur, Foxtel CEO Richard Freudenstein and Executive Director of Television Brian Walsh, Head of Factual Jim Buchan, FremantleMedia CEO Ian Hogg, SBS Programmer Peter Andrews, ASTRA CEO Andrew Maiden, and media.
BBC First will launch in August on the Drama & Lifestyle tier as one of three new global brands announced in October 2013 . It arrives in the Australian market ahead of anywhere else in the world, with premium British drama and comedy, ad-break free.
Titles will also include Burton and Taylor, Quirke, The Game, Dead Boss, Alan Partridge mockumentaries, new seasons of Derek and The Fall and from 2015 Call The Midwife and New Tricks.
While BBC First will offer fast-tracked content to Australian viewers, it also means some titles will be exclusive to the channel before they can be offered to terrestrial broadcasters, such as the ABC, for 12 months. ABC will retain select titles including Doctor Who.
Banished, written by Jimmy McGovern, was recently announced as the first local production, an epic seven part series loosely inspired by events in 1788 when Britain established a penal colony in Australia.
Jon Penn, Managing Director of BBC Worldwide ANZ said: ‘The BBC has always been pioneering and the launch of BBC First in Australia continues in this spirit, offering something totally unique to the market. British drama and comedy has a world-renowned reputation for being clever, complex and immensely enjoyable, attracting top talent on and off the screen. For the first time in Australia, all the very best new British dramas and comedies will be available in one place, giving viewers the opportunity to indulge and immerse themselves in world class creativity.’
Richard Freudenstein, Foxtel Chief Executive said: ‘The partnership between Foxtel and the BBC marks a significant milestone in Australian television. BBC First will enable our customers to see every major new BBC series first on Foxtel. This further consolidates our brilliant offering for subscribers and our pledge to bring the best television from around the world to Foxtel homes.’
• The Musketeers –a thrilling world of action, adventure and romance inspired by Dumas’ legendary characters, starring Luke Pasqualino, Tom Burke, Santiago Cabrera, Howard Charles and Peter Capaldi.
• Peaky Blinders – acclaimed epic gangster family saga set in the lawless streets of post-war Birmingham on the cusp of the 1920s, starring Cillian Murphy.
• The Politician’s Husband – a gripping drama about the shifting balance of power in a political marriage, starring David Tennant and Emily Watson and created by Paula Milne.
• Quirke – a mesmerising drama full of mystery, secrets and intrigue, staring Gabriel Byrne as a consultant pathologist in a Dublin city morgue in the 1950s and co-written by Andrew Davies.
• The Game – a stylish spy thriller set in the Cold War, where enemies and allies can’t always be separated, starring Brian Cox.
• Burton and Taylor – starring Helena Bonham Carter and Dominic West and telling the story of Hollywood’s original ‘it’ couple Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, acting together in Noel Coward’s ‘Private Lives’.
• Derek – season two of Ricky Gervais’ bittersweet comedy drama about a group of outsiders living on society’s margins.
• Alan Partridge – his two new mockumentaries Welcome To The Places of My Life and On Open Books With Martin Bryce, starring Steve Coogan.
• A Young Doctor’s Notebook – a wry comedy drama about a young doctor’s fledgling career in a small, backwards Russian village, starring Jon Hamm and Daniel Radcliffe.
• The Fall –series two of the hugely popular psychological thriller, in which Detective Superintendent Stella Gibson continues her pursuit of serial killer Paul Spector, played by Gillian Anderson and Jamie Dornan.
• Dead Boss – a slick comedy about a woman falsely imprisoned for murdering her boss, starring Jennifer Saunders and Sharon Horgan.
• Playhouse Presents – a star-studded collection of contemporary short dramas, from leading talent both on and off screen, including Emma Thompson, Brenda Blethyn, Stephen Fry, Richard E Grant and Sheila Hancock.
• The Crimson Field – marking 100 years since the start of the First World War, a compelling and emotional drama set in a tented field hospital, starring Oona Chaplin, Hermione Norris and Suranne Jones.
• Banished – Jimmy McGovern’s epic series charting the lives, loves, relationships and battle for survival in an 18th century Sydney penal colony. The first local commission for BBC First, starring David Wenham and Russell Tovey.