Exclusive: BBC Studios unveils plans & programming for Showcase 2020

BBC Studios has unveiled details of its forthcoming Showcase sales extravaganza in the UK city of Liverpool next month, which will host talent including Game Of Thrones star Richard Dormer, Doctor Who‘s Jodie Whittaker and hundreds of buyers.

The BBC Studios Showcase 2020 marks the 44th incarnation of the annual event for the commercial arm of the UK public broadcaster, with the event widely seen as the world’s largest international content market hosted by a single distributor.

Talent including Will Arnett, Stephen Merchant, Freddie Flintoff, Paddy McGuinness, Chris Harris and Bollywood stars Ishaan Khatter and Tabu are among those set to appear at the event, which takes place between 9 – 12 February.

Scripted line-up


Attendees will get a first-look at dramas including The North Water, which is produced by See-Saw Films and Rhombus Media. The show is based on the eponymous novel by Ian McGuire and has been adapted by Andrew Haigh, with Colin Farrell, Jack O’Connell and Stephen Graham starring.

Dormer will be in Liverpool alongside and Lara Rossi (Cheat) to introduce The Watch, which is inspired by Terry Pratchett’s bestselling novels, while Khatter and Tabu will unveil A Suitable Boy, produced by BBCS-owned Lookout Point. It has been adapted by Andrew Davies (War & Peace) and is directed by Mira Nair (Monsoon Wedding).

Saskia Reeves (Luther) and Danish actress Sofie Gråbǿl (The Killing) will be at Showcase to talk about their roles in the bittersweet adaptation of David Nicholl’s novel Us, from Drama Republic and Bandstand, while BBCS production We Hunt Together will also feature.

The North Water

The show’s stars, including Eve Myles (Broadchurch), Babou Ceesay (Dark Mon£y), Dipo Ola (Inside No.9) and Hermione Corfield (Star Wars: The Last Jedi) will take part in a session exploring dramas that push the boundaries of crime, alongside writer Gaby Hull (Cheat).

Attendees will also get to hear from Doctor Who star Whittaker, who plays the Thirteenth Doctor, and the series’ showrunner Chris Chibnall as they discuss the current season.

Comedy calling

This year’s Showcase will also contain a deeper focus on comedy programming, with Canadian-American actor Will Arnett (Arrested Development, BoJack Horseman) and executive producer Tom Werner – the chairman of Liverpool FC and an exec producer on shows including Roseanne – in town to discuss the forthcoming football series The First Team.

The First Team

It is being produced by Fudge Park, with writers Iain Morris and Damon Beesley (The Inbetweeners) also set to appear at Showcase, where delegates will get a first look at the forthcoming show.

Actor, writer, director and TV producer Stephen Merchant (Jojo Rabbit, The Office) will also be in Liverpool to launch his new comedy-drama The Offenders from Big Talk Productions, which follows a group of criminals doing community service.

Factual findings

There will also be an exclusive first look at Silverback Films’ A Perfect Planet, the next BBC Planet title offering new perspectives on the beauty and fragility of Earth, and the new series of Spy In The Wild, from John Downer Productions.

BBCS production Animal Impossible will also feature, with presenters Tim Warwood and Adam Gendle sharing their experiences and discussing how they risked their lives to test facts about the animal kingdom.

Spy In The Wild

Documentaries on offer include Putin: A Russian Spy Story from Rogan Productions and Murder 24/7, from Expectation, along with a first look at the natural phenomena series The Greatest Show On Earth.

Stars of the UK version of motoring show Top Gear will also attend Showcase, with Freddie Flintoff, Paddy McGuinness and Chris Harris taking to the stage to share an exclusive look at their latest high-octane adventures.

Paul Dempsey, president of global distribution for BBCS, said: “This is my favourite time of the year, when the BBC Group, our indie partners and now our colleagues at UKTV come together to present the best British creativity to international TV buyers who fly in from all over the world to be with us.

“We’ll be joined in Liverpool by some of the biggest on and off screen names in the business and will be teasing a range of exciting new programmes and projects.”

Showcase, which also includes curated events and co-production forums, will again take place at ACC Liverpool, where buyers last year collectively screened over 4,000 hours of content during the four-day event.

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