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BBCW kicks off ‘Upstairs’ sales

Drama goes to Oz, NZ, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Israel

BBC Worldwide has secured its first international sales of the remake of costume saga “Upstairs Downstairs,” which is a BBC-Masterpiece-PBS co-production.

Broadcasters in Australia (ABC), Denmark (DR), Finland (YLE), Israel (IBA), New Zealand (Sky) and Sweden (TV4) have all bought the show, BBC Worldwide announced at its annual Showcase sales mart, which kicked off its four-day run Sunday in the English coastal resort of Brighton.

Despite some negative reviews, “Upstairs Downstairs” performed strongly for BBC1, averaging 8.4 million viewers when it debuted in December.

The first series of the remake was, in common with many other new BBC dramas, produced in three one-hour parts. But the second series will be six one-hour episodes, due to air in 2012.

The original “Upstairs Downstairs” aired on ITV from 1971-75.

BBC Worldwide execs reported renewed interest in drama at the sales mart, which is attended by around 550 international buyers, up 12% on 2010.

Top-selling shows at the event, which transfers to Liverpool next year, include “Top Gear,” “Sherlock” (which has already sold to more than 82 territories) and natural history epic “Frozen Planet.”

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