BBC Studios, the commercial arm of the BBC, and ITV, have announced plans to launch the BritBox streaming service in Australia.
“There‘s a real opportunity to build on the momentum and brand that has been established in North America and to make BritBox part of BBC Studios’ future strategy in Australia. Complementing our existing partnerships in the region, BritBox will draw on our vast combined catalogue of acclaimed British content and will deliver it directly to Australian audiences via a proven and seamless streaming service.” – Fiona Lang, General Manager for BBC Studios ANZ
The ad-free subscription video-on-demand streaming service will bring Australians a collection of great British TV shows and will build on the successful launch and operation of the service in both North America and most recently in the UK.
BritBox is anticipated to launch in Australia later in 2020 with a breadth of beloved British content from across the decades, including classic and contemporary box sets from the UK, delivered straight to Australian viewers via a wide range of mobile and connected home devices. Further announcements on content, price and partnerships will follow.
BritBox Australia will be run as a 50/50 Joint Venture between ITV and BBC Studios, and the service will draw on the experience of the teams and technology that have successfully launched BritBox in North America and the UK while also recruiting a local team, including a Country Manager, to lead the operations in Australia.
BritBox is bringing back Spitting Image in 2020.
BritBox North America launched in March 2017, bringing viewers the best in British box sets, drama premieres and live events. Since then it has surpassed original projections, with over one million subscribers, and is proving profitable. In the UK, BritBox launched in November 2019, offering the biggest collection of British box sets available in one place with the very best in past, present and future British programming and award-winning content in HD. The content offering for BritBox Australia will be curated especially for the market.
Alongside the launch of BritBox in Australia, taking the service into its fourth market, BBC Studios and ITV will continue to evaluate opportunities for the roll-out of BritBox in additional territories around the world.
“It’s great to have a new route to market in Australia for ITV’s best-loved British content. We know the powerful combination of UK producers and distributors that the BritBox brand represents has been a consumer hit elsewhere and we look forward to bringing it to Australian fans in 2020.” – Augustus Dulgaro, Executive Vice President, Asia Pacific Sales & Distribution, Global Entertainment, ITV Studios
It was announced this week that the service would be bringing back to screens satirical puppet comedy Spitting Image after 24-years off the air. The former Central Television series will be the streaming service’s first original commission.
The new series will be produced by Avalon and will land on the streaming service in the Autumn. Co-creator Roger Law will lead the show’s creative team as it satirises leading political, royal and celebrity figures such as US President Donald Trump and the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.
The royal (and not so royal) family will feature in the new Spitting Image, as they did in the Central TV series.
Spitting Image are already working on a number of new puppets which include Dominic Cummings, James Corden, Donald Trump, RuPaul, Boris Johnson, Beyoncé, Elon Musk, Harry & Meghan, Bernie Sanders, Prince Andrew, Adele, and Vladimir Putin. The show will also work as it did in the 80s and 90s by writing scripts and creating puppets close to delivery to ensure every episode is topical.
“PUBLIC SERVICE SATIRE ANNOUNCEMENT. I’ve refused to resuscitate Spitting Image for years but when my pension ran out and my palm was crossed with silver what could an old man do?” – Roger Law, Spitting Image co-creator and Executive Producer
The original series of Spitting Image saw the puppets created at creators Peter Fluck and Roger Law’s workshop in London with the on-screen talent transported by truck to Central TV in Birmingham every week.
During its initial run, it struck controversy from the off by featuring caricatures of the Royal Family. Notably, royalists were left especially unimpressed by The Queen Mother sounding like Beryl Reid and in 1992, ITV received 341 complaints about a depiction of God in the show.
Other personalities who became big on Spitting Image included former PM Margaret Thatcher who was depicted as an insane dictator, comedian and magician Paul Daniels who was portrayed as a cheesy has-been with a spinning wig and dubious Jimmy Savile was, seemingly accurately, deemed mentally unbalanced and locked in an asylum.
Brit Box have commissioned two new runs of the show, with episodes to stream in 2020 and 2021.