Underlining its push into original production, UKTV unveiled four new commissions at its annual showcase event, UKTV Live 2017, held at Claridge’s this morning.

UKTV says it now has 50 original shows in production as part of its strategy to invest more in its own content. Indies including Boundless, Primal Media, Tiger Aspect, North One, Phil McIntyre Television, Retort, Lola Entertainment and Barcroft are behind the new shows.

The four new series include The Wave, hosted by Rylan Clarke, for entertainment channel W; dinnerladies diaries, a documentary series with  access to the diaries of the late Victoria Wood for Gold; a new ten-part series The Customiser is Always Right (WT), with YouTube  star Yianni Charalambous for Dave; and a return to live paranormal entertainment with the continuing franchise Celebrity Haunted Mansion, hosted by Christine Lampard and Matt Richardson for W.

These commissions sit alongside new programme launches, including Porters, a  new scripted comedy written by Dan Sefton (Trust Me, Delicious, The Good Karma Hospital), based on his own experiences of working in a hospital and Murder on the Blackpool Express, a comedic spin on the Agatha Christie-style whodunit. 

UKTV is also launching new series of Taskmaster, fantasy comedy Zapped, sci-fi sitcom in space, Red Dwarf XIII and Dave Gorman Modern Life is Goodish.

CEO, Darren Childs said: “I’m incredibly proud of the programmes we’re presenting today. It represents a five-fold increase in the number of UKTV Original Productions over the past five years, building the biggest commissioned slate in our 25-year history. Our investment into new content across the network has given us a stable of entertainment commissions, successful launches, and award-winning returning series that has underpinned our strong growth over the last five years. And that means we can continue to strengthen our position as the UK’s third commercial broadcaster.

“We have broadened out into sports, gameshows, factual programming alongside original scripted comedies and lifestyle. Our viewers across traditional broadcast and TV streaming service, UKTV Play are watching UKTV Originals more than ever and we are investing at pace to bring them more of what they love.”

Stars joined the broadcaster at Claridge’s for its annual showcase event, UKTV Live, including Christine Lampard, David Haye, Craig Charles, Alex Jones, James Buckley, Ross Noble, Susan Wokoma, Una Stubbs, Kimberly Nixon, Greg Davies, Alex Horne, Sally Philips, Dara O Briain, Jason Byrne, Matt Forde, Mark Watson, Sheila Reid, Katherine Ryan, Gemma Cairney, Chris Barrie, Dr Christian Jessen and Matt Richardson.

Programming Highlights – Gold

dinnerladies diaries (3×60) is based on Wood’s personal diaries. Twenty years ago, Victoria Wood put pen to paper and wrote her award-winning comedy, dinnerladies. Produced by Phil McIntyre Television, dinnerladies diaries tells the story of how this groundbreaking comedy was conceived, developed, produced and why Victoria chose to end it after just two series. The series will give viewers a glance into Victoria’s notebooks, her backstage photos and studio records – all of which have never been seen before. The three-part series will also feature interviews with the cast and friends of dinnerladies.

New shows launching this Autumn include Murder on the Blackpool Express, a 1 x 120 minute Original, produced by Tiger Aspect Productions for Gold, in association with Shiny Button Productions, that mixes comedy and classic murder mystery, set on a guided tour coach trip to Blackpool. Created by Jason Cook, the writer behind BBC Comedy Hebburn, the cast includes Johnny Vegas, Sian Gibson, Una Stubbs, Kimberley Nixon, Nigel Havers, Sheila Reid and Griff Rhys Jones.

The Rebel, featuring Simon Callow as hellraising pensioner Henry Palmer, also returns for a second series and is made by Retort.

Programming Highlights – W
Celebrity Haunted Mansion (5×120) from North One, with Christine Lampard and Matt Richardson hosting.

The Wave (10×60) hosted by Rylan Clarke mixes sun, sea, surf…and stacks of cash. But instead of packing sunscreen, competitors must pack their swimmers as Rylan sends them off in pairs to battle the elements of the Atlantic coast in an effort to win the booty.  Produced by Primal Media.

Also for W are two new series and a Christmas Special of fixed-rig documentary series Inside the Ambulance.

Returning to W for new runs this autumn are Dr Christian Will See You Now (Firecracker), John Bishop: In Conversation With… (Lola Entertainment) and two new series of the fixed-rig documentary series Inside the Ambulance (Brown Bob Productions).

New shows launching this autumn also include The Secret Life of the Ballroom (Electric Ray) and The Secrets in my Family, hosted by Alex Jones, produced by Boundless and funded by Ancestry.

Programming Highlights – Dave

YouTube star Yianni Charalambous hosts ten-part series, The Customiser Is Always Right (WT) from Barcroft Productions. It is the latest early peak time commission from Dave, which follows UKTV Originals The Joy of Techs, Used Car Wars and Eat Your Heart Out with Nick Helm. 

There are also new series of BAFTA-nominated series Taskmaster, plus Zapped, Red Dwarf, Dara O Briain’s Go 8 Bit and Dave Gorman Modern Life is Goodish, plus brand new shows Porters and Jason Byrne gameshow Don’t Say It, Bring It coming later this year. 

Dave is also furthering its live sport committing to bring five live boxing matches to free television in the next year, in partnership with David Haye and Richard Schaefer’s Hayemaker Ringstar. The first will be shown 20 October, live on Dave.

Staff Reporter

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