The producer-distributor will hold a three-day program of virtual events running from Feb. 28-March 2, rather than host global buyers in person at its usual Liverpool extravaganza. While the event is still at least six months out, sources tell Variety the company needed to let its suppliers know well in advance.
“We’re proud that BBC Studios Showcase has made the U.K. a key destination for the world’s content buyers but the pandemic has accelerated changes in the way we can help them discover our shows,” said Paul Dempsey, president of global distribution for BBC Studios.
“Their terrific response to our virtual Showcase earlier this year, coupled with continued uncertainty around international travel means that we will once again bring our content to customers digitally next February. Of course, there’s nothing like meeting face to face and we are very much looking forward to the time when we can get together again.”
The first virtual Showcase was the most attended in the event’s history with more than 1,400 partners participating.
There has been speculation as to whether BBC Studios will go digital or not for its annual content showcase — an important date in the TV calendar as global buyers who come to Liverpool for the event usually head down to London to visit other global distributors like Fremantle, Banijay and ITV Studios. Continued uncertainty around potential next waves of the COVID-19 pandemic due to aggressive variants made it difficult for organizers to plan ahead with confidence.
BBC Studios has already confirmed a number of new shows that will be premiering at the digital event.
Six-part thriller “The Following Events are Based on a Pack of Lies” is created and written by Penelope Skinner and Ginny Skinner and produced by Sister (“Chernobyl”) for BBC One. It tells the story of two very different women and the conman they have in common; a dark, funny, and unpredictable thriller about three characters trapped in a triangle of epic proportions. The show is executive produced by Naomi de Pear (“The Power”) and Katie Carpenter (“Landscapers”) for Sister alongside Penelope Skinner and Ginny Skinner and co-executive produced by Sister’s Alice Tyler (“The Baby”).
Following the success of “Frozen Planet” (2011), six-part series “Frozen Planet II” will tell the story of in the entire frozen quarter of Earth, ranging from the frozen ocean of the Arctic, to the snowy forests and great plains of the far north, from the high-altitude peaks of our mountains to the ice-locked south of Antarctica. The BBC One series is made by BBC Studios Natural History Unit, co-produced by BBC America and The Open University. The Executive producer is Mark Brownlow and the series producer is Elizabeth White.
“Blue Lights” is a six-part original police drama created by the writers of “The Salisbury Poisonings,” Adam Patterson and Declan Lawn. It tells the story of probationary police officers working in contemporary Belfast, a city in which being a frontline response cop comes with a unique set of pressures and dangers, and is inspired by the experiences of serving police officers in Northern Ireland. It is a STV Studios group outfit Two Cities Television and Gallagher Films production for BBC, produced by Tommy Bulfin for the BBC, Stephen Wright for Two Cities Television and Louise Gallagher for Gallagher Films, and by Declan Lawn and Adam Patterson.
In four-part series “The Greatest Show On Earth,” teams of scientists, adventurers and specialist film-makers hunt down nature’s most spectacular phenomena and capture them in all their splendor. It is a BBC Studios Production.