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‘McMafia’ Sells to China as BBC Worldwide Announces Raft of Drama Sales

BBC Worldwide has sold acclaimed crime drama “McMafia” in China, the latest in a raft of British drama sales secured in the past three months. The announcement came ahead of the broadcaster’s annual showcase event in Liverpool, England, which runs Feb. 18-21.

McMafia,” which stars James Norton, Juliet Rylance and David Strathairn, will be available to Chinese audiences after advertising-supported and subscription VOD deals were agreed with local IPTV service providers OPG and Youku. The show will be retitled “The Godmans” in China. BBC Worldwide also announced the show had been sold to Swedish national public broadcaster SVT, which took linear broadcast rights.

The eight-part series, inspired by the non-fiction book by Misha Glenny, premiered in the U.K. on BBC One on New Year’s Day and concluded earlier this week. It sees its U.S. premiere on AMC Feb. 26. Amazon Prime Video has rights in more than 200 countries worldwide, excluding the U.K., U.S., Canada and China.

The “McMafia” deals are the latest in a raft of global agreements secured by BBC Worldwide, the commercial subsidiary of the BBC, across its library of drama titles. BBC Worldwide revealed it had sold over 3,300 hours of British drama in the past three months including 445 hours across Central and Eastern Europe; almost 580 hours to Asian broadcasters; 600 hours in Australia and New Zealand; 630 hours throughout Latin America; and over 1,000 hours in Western Europe.

“International demand for British drama is incredibly strong because audiences know they will be treated to compelling stories expertly told,” said Paul Dempsey, president of global markets at BBC Worldwide. “We’ve got world-class acting and production talent, and our writers are on another level.”

Among the titles being launched at this year’s BBC Worldwide Showcase are six-part drama series “The Split,” written by BAFTA- and Emmy-winner Abi Morgan; and Chris Chibnall’s new iteration of “Doctor Who,” starring Jodie Whittaker.

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