Advanced Television

Natural history, drama favourite BBC exports

February 8, 2018

Ahead of its annual Showcase sales event, which sees 700 of the world’s top TV executives fly into the UK to view and buy British TV content, BBC Worldwide has revealed its top rating programmes around the world.

BBC Worldwide sells programmes to more than 200 territories globally as well as licensing the format of much-loved British shows to overseas broadcasters to be re-made locally.

The top-rating BBC Worldwide shows listed below are programmes sold by BBC Worldwide. Where the local version of a BBC Worldwide format rates higher, that is also listed.

Programme Sales

Emmy-award winning Planet Earth II from BBC Studios’ Natural History Unit was the BBC’s most watched finished programme of 2017 in France, Germany and the Netherlands.  In Germany Planet Earth II was the highest rating documentary of the year on public service channel ZDF. It was also the highest rating natural history programme of the year in Australia (although not Australia’s highest rating programme overall).

Blue Planet II is likely to be amongst the top raters for 2018 as it rolls out internationally, but it is already New Zealand’s highest rating finished programme, and the highest rating natural history programme in New Zealand since Frozen Planet in 2012.

In the US and Russia, it was Hartswood Film’s multi-award-winning hit drama Sherlock that was the most watched BBC programme during the year. A huge international success that has sold to 231 territories, series four of Sherlock provided Russia’s Channel One with its highest rating UK, or US, programme of 2017.

Doctor Foster was another big BBC drama that has proved successful internationally. Selling to 226 territories the first series of Drama Republic’s compelling relationship drama was the most watched complete BBC Worldwide programme in Italy. Elsewhere, crime drama proved a hit in the Nordics with Father Brown and DCI Banks taking top spots in Norway and Sweden respectively while, in Australia, Death in Paradise was the highest rated.

Format Sales

In many countries it was local versions of iconic British shows that scooped the overall top spot for highest rating BBC Worldwide shows.

The most popular BBC Worldwide show overall in France, Italy, Sweden, Poland, the U.S. and Norway was Dancing with the Stars (the international version of BBC Studios’ Strictly Come Dancing). A worldwide phenomenon, Dancing with the Stars has been licensed to 54 countries, with the most recent launches in Brazil and Ireland. And it continues to be a huge success in the U.S. where series 25, which transmitted on ABC in Autumn 2017, peaked with nearly 13 million viewers.

Another much loved UK feel good show whose local version topped BBC Worldwide’s audience charts was The Great Bake Off in Holland (Heel Holland Bakt – All of Holland is Baking).

And it wasn’t just the local versions that attracted strong audiences. UK Top Gear (BBC Studios) was the best rating programme in South Africa.

“The sheer quality of great British shows like Planet Earth II, Sherlock and Dancing with the Stars makes them audience favourites around the world,” commented Paul Dempsey, President, Global Markets, BBC Worldwide. “At the same time, we are also seeing a definite trend towards escapist entertainment as viewers look to take refuge from a complex world.”

The full list of highest rating shows and formats distributed by BBC Worldwide:

  • France: Local version of Dancing with the Stars highest overall; Planet Earth II highest complete programme
  • Germany: Planet Earth II
  • Italy: Local version of Dancing with the Stars highest overall; Doctor Foster highest complete
  • Spain: Rick Stein’s Mediterranean Escapes
  • Sweden: Local version of Dancing with the Stars highest overall; DCI Banks highest complete
  • Russia: Sherlock
  • Canada: Diana, 7 Days
  • US: local version of Dancing with the Stars highest overall, Sherlock highest complete
  • Poland: local version of Dancing with the Stars highest overall; Wild New Zealand highest complete programme
  • Norway: Local version of Dancing with the Stars highest overall; Father Brown highest complete
  • programme
  • Netherlands: local version of Great Bake Off highest overall; Planet Earth II highest completeSouth Africa: Top Gear
  • Singapore: The Story of China
  • Australia: Death in Paradise
  • New Zealand: format of Coast New Zealand was highest rating overall, Blue Planet II the highest BBC distributed show

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