This is an interesting one. The BBC, UKTV and FremantleMedia International have teamed together to commission a ten episode adventure series fronted by Steve Backshall. Under the “groundbreaking” new commissioning model, BBC Two will air the first four hour-long episodes in 2019. Later that same year, UKTV’s Dave channel will are six exclusive episodes, followed by it’s own versions of the BBC episodes. FremantleMedia International will handle global sales.
Expedition With Steve Backshall will see Steve embark on a number of firsts, including: the first descent of a white-water river in the Himalayas; trekking through unexplored jungle in South America; and climbing mountains in the deserts of the Middle East. He will be accompanied by a world class film crew who will document the journey and feature on camera throughout the series. True To Nature is producing. “If you think our planet was explored long ago, think again”, Steve Backshall said in a statement. “There are still dark and forgotten corners of our world with hidden secrets and we plan to reveal them.” Despite BBCWW owning a stake in UKTV, this marks the first-time that the two broadcasters have worked together in this way.
“Steve’s last two expeditions for BBC Two were adrenalised, immersive and wowed the audience so we’re delighted to be working with UKTV and True to Nature to premiere his next adventures”, said Tom McDonald, the BBC’s Head of Commissioning for Specialist Factual and Natural History. “Steve is unique, brave and adventurous. But also hugely inquisitive, insightful and knowledgeable – the perfect mix for contemporary Specialist Factual at the BBC.”
“This is a truly innovative commissioning model that forges an exciting new partnership between two of Britain’s leading free to air broadcasters. The fact that both the BBC and Fremantle want to invest in Expedition is a testament to the spectacular scale of this project”, said UKTV’s Director of Commissioning Richard Watsham. “Our strategy to raise UKTV Originals to new heights is gathering pace. Steve Backshall has a huge fan base amongst Dave viewers of all ages and I can’t wait to see how the incredible trust and companionship of Steve’s expert team combine to achieve a number of newsworthy world firsts.”
“We’re delighted to partner with the world-class team at True to Nature, the adventure daredevil Steve Backshall, UKTV and BBC for Expedition. Steve will take global audiences on an epic journey of wonder and awe, and we’re looking forward to working with broadcasters internationally to build Expedition into a global brand”, commented Angela Neillis, Director of Non-Scripted for FremantleMedia International. “We’re always on the lookout to partner with producers that can bring us the best in factual programming and jaw-dropping television experiences. Wendy and her team deliver just that.”
“I couldn’t wish to be working alongside a more talented, experienced and dedicated team of creatives in production, broadcast and distribution, to realise the ambition for our world first premium factual global series”, added Wendy Darke, CEO of True To Nature. “Steve Backshall is a skilled naturalist and explorer who will take viewers on a fascinating journey to reveal the natural mysteries and treasures of our planet.”