Please wait...
Please wait...

Smithsonian to launch in UK

Smithsonian launches in the UK on February 12

Factual-focused network Smithsonian Channel is continuing its international roll-out with a launch in the UK this month.

David Royle

The channel, which focuses on science, nature, travel, pop culture, history and aviation programming, will be available via Sky, Virgin Media, Freesat and Freeview in the UK from February 12.

The move is its first foray into Europe and follows its expansion into Canada, Nigeria, Singapore and, most recently, Latin America via DirecTV.

Originally launched as a US cablenet in 2007, the network is a joint venture between CBS’s Showtime Networks and the Smithsonian Institute.

The UK version will have several original commissions ready to go at launch. They are led by When Tariq Ali Met Malcolm X, a new addition to the channel’s Lost Tapes franchise from Tom Jennings’ 1895 Films, which tells the story of the black power advocate and the speech he gave at the Oxford Union in the 1960s.

Mystic Britain, hosted by TV and radio presenter Clive Anderson and anthropologist Mary-Ann Ochota, is being produced by London-based Blink Films.

Bristol-based Plimsoll Productions is working on natural history series Big Cat Country for the channel and Blue Ant Media’s Love Nature network internationally.

From the channel’s existing US slate, series including America in Colour from Arrow Media, The Green Book: Guide to Freedom and Aerial America are all being brought across to the UK schedule.

Commissioning and programming will be done by the existing team in the US, led by chief programming officer David Royle.

Royle told C21: “It will be a pretty robust offering. It’s been very carefully planned and thought through because we know we’re going into a competitive market, we know we’re going into a country with a long history of non-fiction filmmaking.

“In many ways we feel very well prepared for that. We have always worked extensively both with British prodcos and broadcasters and our programming has been on BBC1, ITV, Channel 4, Channel 5 and all over the British TV landscape. It performs extremely well and we feel we know the market pretty well and that our programming travels well, so we are pretty bullish about how we’re going to be received.”

A full Schedule Watch profile on the new UK channel will appear on C21 later today.

Please wait...