BBC Adds German Drama ‘Generation War’ to Foreign Legion

Foreign-language fare earn regular slots in pubcaster's skeds

LONDON — The BBC has strengthened its lineup of foreign-language programming with the acquisition of German war drama “Generation War.”

The miniseries — which will air in the U.K. as three 90-minute episodes — follows the war-times experiences of five friends from 1941-45.

The series drew record ratings for ZDF in Germany — attracting 8.5 million viewers for a market share of 24% — and sparked a nationwide debate about the responsibility of ordinary people for war crimes.

Beta Films, which is handling worldwide rights, has sold it to more than 60 countries, and it has earned strong ratings abroad. For example, in Poland it nabbed a 29% share, while in Sweden it took a 25% share.

U.S. distributor Music Box is planning a theatrical release for the drama.

Sue Deeks, head of program acquisition for the BBC, said: “’Generation War’ has a truly epic sweep and emotionally compelling narrative.”

Over the past seven years, the BBC has made foreign-language drama a strong feature of its fiction offer, starting with French cop drama “Spiral” in 2006, then followed by the Swedish version of detective drama “Wallander,” the Danish version of crime thriller “The Killing,” Danish political drama “Borgen,” Italo detective series “Inspector Montalbano” and Danish crime series “The Bridge.” Earlier this year, it added Swedish crime series “Arne Dahl” and Italian series “Inspector De Luca” to its foreign legion.

But all of those series aired on high-brow channel BBC4, which attracts relatively small audiences. The foreign-language slot in the BBC4 sked earned an average 2.9% share of the U.K. audience last year. “Generation War,” on the other hand, will air on BBC2, which attracts far higher ratings.

TeamWorx produced “Generation War” for ZDF and Austria’s ORF.

More TV

  • Asa Butterfield in Netflix's Sex Education

    Netflix & Sky Strike Multi-Year Deal To Keep Streamer On Service

    Comcast-owned pay-TV operator Sky and Netflix have hammered out a new multi-year deal to keep content from the streaming giant on the service.  Under the new deal, customers of Sky’s set-top box service Sky Q will have the option to opt in for Netflix’s basic plan, which is priced locally at £5.99 ($7.99) per month. [...]

  • Paradigm Agency Cuts 30 Staff Positions,

    Paradigm Agency Cuts 30 Staff Positions, Mostly in Music

    Paradigm has made a significant cut to its staff, laying off about 30 agents and support staff or 4% of its employees, Variety has confirmed. Sources said most of the layoffs were in the music area at the agency and took place Friday.. Paradigm, which had about 700 employees prior to the layoffs, had no [...]

  • Edward Burns'Alex Cross' film premiere, Los

    Edward Burns Dramedy, Blumhouse TV Docuseries in Development at Epix

    Epix is eyeing some potential new additions on both the scripted and unscripted front. Network president Michael Wright unveiled Epix’s development slate, which includes two scripted projects and three prospective docuseries, at its Television Critics’ Association winter press tour day. One of the two scripted series hails from Edward Burns who is best known for [...]

  • Kim Kardashian WestFashion Group International's Night

    Kim Kardashian West 'Goes to War' on Mass Incarceration in Documentary Trailer (Watch)

    Kim Kardashian West is going to war on mass incarceration. Oxygen has released the trailer for her documentary “Kim Kardashian West: The Justice Project,” which sees the media personality declare that “there is a mass incarceration problem in the United States.” The two-hour documentary, premiering Sunday, April 5, captures Kardashian West as she explores the [...]

  • Prince Harry and Meghan Duchess of

    Harry and Meghan Will Give Up Royal Titles, Repay U.K. for House Renovation

    Prince Harry and Meghan Markle will lose their royal titles of “His Royal Highness” or “Her Royal Highness,” when they step back as senior members of the United Kingdom’s royal family, according to a new statement from Queen Elizabeth and Buckingham Palace. However, the duo will maintain the moniker of Duke and Duchess of Sussex. The [...]

  • Grey's Anatomy deaths

    The Top 13 ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ Deaths Ranked

    If there’s anyone that knows how to deliver a heart-wrenching death scene, it’s the team behind ABC’s “Grey’s Anatomy.” Created by Shonda Rhimes, the broadcast medical drama came out of the gate in 2005 with literal life and death stakes for its characters. Being set in a hospital meant that mortality was a constant theme [...]

  • Jeffrey Epstein

    'Surviving Jeffrey Epstein' Docuseries Gets Greenlight at Lifetime

    Lifetime has officially ordered the four-hour documentary series “Surviving Jeffrey Epstein.” The announcement was made at the Television Critics Association winter press tour on Saturday. The series was originally announced as in development last summer and is expected to air this summer on Lifetime. Hailing from Emmy-winner Robert Friedman’s Bungalow Media + Entertainment, Anne Sundberg [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content