British sitcom Meet the Adebanjos is an example of how, in 2012, a show can get off the ground without a UK commissioner.
Meet the Adebanjos was made with money raised by a former city trader from Croydon. It started out on YouTube, went to DVD and has been sold internationally. In the last few weeks, it has become South Africa’s third most popular comedy.
The audience for the sitcom about a Nigerian family living in London doubled to 1.4 million after the first week on South Africa’s SABC2.
Osayemi raised £175,000 to make the first eight episodes through production company MTA Productions, after becoming frustrated with meetings with UK commissioners.
The first three episodes, which were produced by former trader Andrew Osayemi and the show’s creator Debra Odutoyo, were put online as a taster for the eight episodes on DVD. They got over a million views on YouTube.
Meet the Adebanios, which stars stand-up Lateef Lovejoy, has also been bought by Ghana, Nigeria and Uganda. It currently runs on The African Channel in the UK.
The second series will begin filming early next year.
The show has also been adapted as a stage play and will play at London’s Hackney Empire in November.