Nicole Kidman will grace Australian small screens once more in 2017 as she joins the cast for series two of Top of the Lake: China Girl when it airs on BBC First.
Tim Christlieb, Director of Channels, Australia & New Zealand at BBC Worldwide was coy with the details around the new show except to say it would be set in Sydney and co-produced locally with Foxtel. Madmen’s Elisabeth Moss will once again star in the program.
The one time star of BMX Bandit’s return was revealed as part of the relaunch of the UKTV brand and a show case of all BBC Worldwide content for 2017 in Sydney this morning. Christlieb described it “as a good moment in BBC Worldwide’s history”.
He said reach for the portfolio was up 4% for the first half of the year, “driven primarily by big successes on BBC First, the likes of The Banished, a local commission, The Night Manager was also a huge success.”
BBC Worldwide’s kids channel, CBeebies, also had really strong uplift Christlieb added, driven by two key brands Hey Duggie and Go Jetters.
“Even more pleasingly, the overall time spend with our channels has increased by 6%,” he said.
BBC First primetime viewing is up by 30%.
“It’s really clear that strong, clear brands are really crucial in directing audiences and viewers around and attracting them. So we’re making some big changes to UKTV,” he added.
The channel has four main ambitions for 2017 said Christlieb: “Pull the age of the channel down slightly and attract a slightly younger audience, retain the heartland audience, build a deeper connection with the viewers and differentiate the channel from BBC First.”
And if you prefer to watch the tele than read the paper, here’s the video
UKTV’s new look takes effect as of next Monday (10 October).
In other news from BBC Worldwide on its 2017 line-up Christlieb said: “We’re really hopeful series 24 is the start of the bounce back moment for Top Gear.”
New series of the established hits Call the Midwife, Death in Paradise and Maigret (starring Rowan Atkinson) are coming to the channel together with:
Top of the Lake – Series 2
The local BBC First/Foxtel co-production Top of the Lake, which will screen in 2017. A first look image of Elizabeth Moss who is reprising her Golden Globe winning role of Detective Robin Griffin is issued today. The crime mystery begins four years on from the explosive ending of series one. When the unidentified body of an Asian girl wages up on Bondi Beach the case seems hopeless – until Robin Griffen discovers that ‘China Girl’ didn’t die alone.
The Missing – Series 2
Tcheky Karyo reprises his role as detective Julien Baptiste while Keeley Hawes and David Morrissey play Gemma and Sam, whose daughter Alice went missing in 2003. Eleven years later she reappears sending shockwaves through the small community and throwing Alice’s parents into turmoil. Baptiste races across Europe to pursue a case he never let die. Once again the action unfolds across two different timelines and explores what happens when the missing child you’ve been longing to return actually comes back.
BBC First will also screen two brand new series:
Starring Sam Riley and Kate Bosworth, SS-GB is an adaptation of Len Deighton’s iconic novel by the BAFTA-Award-winning writing team behind Spectre, Skyfall and Casino Royale. Set in an alternate history where the Germans won the Battle of Britain in the Second World War, SS-GB is an explosive espionage thriller that asks what would you do if faced with the choice of collaboration or joining a brutal resistance?
Tom Hardy stars in an eight-part series about an adventurer who returns to Britain from Africa along with fourteen stolen diamonds to seek vengeance after the death of his father. Created by Steven Knight (Peaky Blinders), Taboo is based on a story by Tom Hardy and his father Chips Hardy, and is produced by Ridley Scott.
New series of global hits Hey Duggee and Go Jetters are coming to the channel in the coming months. The shows have been commissioned under BBC Worldwide’s strategy to create lasting global brands with real cut-through that children will want to engage with across multiple touch points outside of the TV viewing experience including apps, live appearances, toys and products, DVDs and books. These two shows, which have quickly established themselves as audience favourites, have been behind much of the channel’s recent success which has seen audiences grow by 36 per cent over the last year.