BBC Worldwide Channels has unveiled two new co-productions with BBC Two for BBC Knowledge and BBC Lifestyle.
The new programmes are the first co-productions with the BBC’s in-house team since the business announced plans last month to treble the number of original programme hours ordered for its international audience.
For factual channel BBC Knowledge there is Dara O Briain's Science Club, a new science magazine format, hosted by the Irish comedian. Also ordered for BBC Lifestyle is an international version of the newly revived Food and Drink series, fronted by the Michelin-starred chef Michael Roux Jnr. Food and Drink marks BBC Worldwide’s first original production for BBC Lifestyle.
Both titles have been co-produced with BBC Two in the UK. Dara O Briain's Science Club and Food and Drink have been ordered by Tracy Forsyth, vice president, commissioning, as part of her plan to treble the number of original hours ordered for BBC Knowledge, BBC Entertainment, BBC Lifestyle and UKTV (BBC Worldwide’s general entertainment channel in Australia and New Zealand) in 2012, with the aim of increasing the number of original hours on the channels to 100 by 2014.
Created with global audiences in mind, the new titles build on one part of Forsyth's twin track commissioning strategy to order both international formats which will air in all markets, alongside local productions targeting individual markets.
Dara O Briain's Science Club (6x50 mins) takes a single subject each week and examines it from different angles, from Einstein to space exploration and brain chemistry. The programmes will combine studio discussion with exploratory films and reports.
Dara will be joined by materials scientist and engineer Mark Miodownik, neuroscientist Tali Sharot, physicist and oceanographer HelenCzerski and science writer Alok Jha. There will also be special guest appearances from Marcus Brigstocke, James May, Jessica Hynes, Mark Steel, Josh Widdecombe and Ed Byrne.
Dara O Briain's Science Club will air from 2013 on BBC Knowledge in Africa, Asia, Australia and New Zealand, Italy, Poland and the Nordic region. It will also air on BBC HD (Latin America, Poland, Turkey and the Nordic Region).
Food and Drink will air from Spring 2013 on BBC Lifestyle in Africa, Asia, the Middle East, Poland and the Nordic Region. It will also air on BBC Entertainment (India and Latin America) and BBC HD (Latina America, Poland, Turkey and the Nordic region).
Forsyth said: “Dara O Briain's Science Club and Food and Drink are great examples of the high quality programmes that I am seeking for BBC Worldwide’s international channel portfolio. As well as these popular science and culinary formats holding broad appeal for our viewers around the world, I believe the shows have the potential to be returning series which can be built into global brands.”
Last month, BBC Worldwide Channels outlined plans to bolster its original programming slate, through a combination of fully funded series and co-productions from the BBC’s in-house productions teams, as well as the independent production community.
Tracy Forsyth will be speaking at the Televisual Factual Festival International Commissioning session next Wednesday.