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BBC First unveils Oz line-up

BBC Worldwide (BBCWW) today unveiled the programming line-up of BBC First, its premium drama and comedy pay channel which launches on Australia’s Foxtel in August.

Australia is the first territory for BBC First, one of three channels announced by the UK public broadcaster’s commercial arm last October.

The channel will be part of Foxtel’s drama and lifestyle tier and will carry shows at least 12 months before they are available to terrestrial broadcasters.

BBCWW programmes that aired on Australia’s ABC, such as New Tricks and Call the Midwife, will migrate to BBC First in 2015, with the notable exception of Doctor Who, for which ABC has a life-of-series deal.

The launch line-up will include The Musketeers, Peaky Blinders, The Politician’s Husband, Burton & Taylor and two Alan Partridge mockumentaries, Welcome to the Places of My Life and Alan Partridge On Open Books with Martin Bryce.

BBCWW stressed the channel will also present single dramas and short series that may not have otherwise been seen in Oz, such as Playhouse Presents.

BBC First’s arrival will mean Australian viewers can see new BBC dramas and comedies earlier than ever.

Among the later offerings will be Quirke, The Game, season two of Derek, A Young Doctor’s Notebook, series two of The Fall, The Crimson Field and Dead Boss.

Due to premiere in 2015 is Jimmy McGovern’s Banished, the first local production for BBC First, co-commissioned with BBC2.

BBCWW is looking into the potential for launching the other two new channels, male-skewing BBC Brit and factual service BBC Earth, in Australia, a spokeswoman told C21.

BBC First will join UKTV, BBC Knowledge, CBeebies and BBC World News on the Foxtel platform and will also be available on mobile service Foxtel Go.

Foxtel CEO Richard Freudenstein said: “The partnership between Foxtel and the BBC marks a significant milestone in Australian television. BBC First will enable our customers to see every major new BBC series first on Foxtel.”

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