The BBC is marking the 30 anniversary of its Ukrainian-speaking service as the Russian invasion of the country continues. On June 1, 1992, the BBC started short- and medium-wave radio broadcasts for then newly independent Ukraine. Today, BBC News Ukraine operates via website bbc.ua, its YouTube channel, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Telegram, TikTok and Viber. The BBC News Ukraine Monday to Friday TV news program is rebroadcast by Ukraine’s national TV channels Espreso, Priamyj and 5 Kanal.
The Ukrainian service was the BBC’s first non-Russian language service for the post-Soviet states. Initially based in London, with correspondents in Ukraine, the service then moved to digital platforms, primarily delivered from Kyiv. Its TV news program is produced in and presented from London. Since Feb. 24, when Russia invaded, the BBC News Ukraine TV news bulletin has been extended from 15 to 30 minutes.
Senior controller of BBC News international services and director of BBC World Service, Liliane Landor, said: “The excellent work of the BBC’s Ukrainian service has gone from strength to strength over the decades. Their coverage of the war really showcases their outstanding and often selfless professionalism, as demonstrated by each and everyone in the team. Their journalism has been crucial, both for their direct audience and for the BBC’s U.K. and global audiences.”
Lucy Kirkwood’s acclaimed play “Maryland” has received a 30-minute TV adaptation. Co-directed by Kirkwood and Brian Hill, it is a fictional artistic response to recent real-life events and grapples with the violence women are forced to reckon with in their everyday lives. Zawe Ashton and Hayley Squires play the lead roles of two individual Marys, who meet at a police station in the aftermath of their respective sexual assaults. They are supported by a cast of furies who rail against the injustices the women face. It will be broadcast on BBC Two and BBC iPlayer on July 20.
French distribution company Newen Connect has struck a deal with North American streamer Topic to acquire exclusive U.S. and Canada rights to four hit European series to complement the service’s growing crime and suspense offerings. They include “Christian” from Sky Italia; “Dough” from SVT Sweden; “The Spectacular” from The Netherlands’ Pupkin; and “White Sands” from Denmark’s Deluca Film and TV2.
Soccer content studio Copa90 has appointed former Plum Pictures head of development Dan Lewis (National Geographic’s “Race to the Center of the Earth”) as creative director. “The idea of focusing purely on sports related programming gives us a huge opportunity within the industry and I look forward to utilising Copa90’s unrivalled reputation and taking our ideas to the U.K. broadcasters, U.S. networks and international streamers,” Lewis said. Lewis joins Copa90 COO and co-founder Ross Whittow-Williams as part of the team heading up the new business unit with the latter taking on operational and strategic responsibility.
Copa90 has also revealed a strategic partnership with documentary film maker Evan Rosenfeld (“Warriors of Liberty City”) who will focus on returning series, limited series and feature docs about unseen characters and untold stories from the world of soccer and is currently in-market with an as-yet unannounced project set to enter production in August.