Thursday, January 21, 2021

Lady Whistledown's Society Papers reveals that Bridgerton on Netflix has been renewed for a second season with production starting in March 2021.

by Lord Thinus Featherington

Breathless news that will surely set the TV ton abuzz, is that Netflix has officially renewed its romance period drama Bridgerton for a second season, with production that will start in March.

The drama series, currently second most-popular on Netflix SA, was watched globally by 63 million people within 28 days; the global video streaming service's 5th biggest original series launch.

Bridgerton was created and produced by Shonda Rhimes' Shondaland and is based on the series of novels by Julia Quinn set in Londen's high-society Regency era, with Phoebe Dynevor as Daphne Bridgerton and Rege-Jean Page as Simon Bassett, the Duke of Hastings.

Earlier this week in its 2020 fourth quarter investor letter, Netflix set hearts aflutter across the television promenade when it noted that Bridgerton "has proven immensely popular and we’ll have some exciting news about Bridgerton later this week".

On Thursday Netflix released a written message from Lady Whistledown, the anonymous, resident gossipmonger keeping tabs on high-society scandals and romantic entanglements and dishing up scintillating secrets through her despised, yet well-read Lady Whistledown's Society Papers.

Netflix didn't announce when the second season will be released, but did note that production will start during the American spring, meaning March 2021, and that Bridgerton's second season will largely revolve around the romantic intrigue of Lord Anthony Bridgerton (Jonathan Bailey), the eldest Bridgerton sibling.

Here is Lady Whistledown's message:

"The ton are abuzz with the latest gossip, and so it is my honour to impart to you: Bridgerton shall officially return for a second season. I do hope you have stored a bottle of ratafia for this most delightful occasion.


The incomparable cast of Bridgerton will return to production in the Spring of 2021. This author has been reliably informed that Lord Anthony Bridgerton intends to dominate the social season. I will have my pen ready to report on any and all of his romantic activities.


However, gentle reader, before you set the comments section alight with requests for more sordid details, know that I am disinclined to report on the particulars at this time. Patience, after all, is a virtue.


Yours Truly,

Lady Whistledown"

ALSO READ: Netflix passes the 200 million subscriber mark globally with 203 million subs, teases renewal for its Bridgerton period drama from Shondaland.

WarnerMedia's HBO Max boss for Africa and Europe announces senior executive team for the region, says it will launch HBO Max into 'many territories across EMEA in the years to come'.

by Thinus Ferreira

Christina Sulebakk, the boss of WarnerMedia's HBO Max video streaming service for the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region has announced her senior executive team for the region.

Christine Sulebakk who took over as HBO Max EMEA boss in late-2020 and who is reporting to Johannes Larcher as HBO Max International boss, will be responsible for the rollout and expansion of HBO Max across Europe, the Middle East and Africa as HBO Max general manager.

WarnerMedia and WarnerMedia Africa has not made any announcements or given any indication of when HBO Max would be made available in sub-Saharan Africa as a video streaming service. 

MultiChoice recently added both Netflix SA and Amazon Prime Video as two of the available global streaming services to its DStv Explora Ultra decoder, although Disney+, Discovery+, Peacock and the to-launch Paramount+ still remains unavailable.

Christine Sulebakk says her HBO Max EMEA team will launch HBO Max into "many new territories across Europe, the Middle East and Africa in the years to come.”

The HBO Max EMEA senior executive team now includes Line Mykland leading the HBO Max content experience division that will develop and implement the editorial strategy with a focus on local audiences. 

Lance Mykland previously worked on the rollout of HBO Nordic and then the launch of HBO Europe.

Roberto Soto is leading the growth marketing division and is in charge of commercial strategy and business development, including HBO Max subscriber acquisition and publicity.

Brett Horowitz is leading data, insights and planning while Tobias Andersson is shifting to become EMEA legal lead. Andreas Ferdinand is now in charge of overseeing the HBO Max product experience in EMEA.

The HBO Max EMEA team will be working with the rejigged WarnerMedia International team including Priya Dogra, WarnerMedia EMEA & Asia president, including Hannes Heyelmann (programming), Antony Root (original production), Pierre Branco (affiliate sales) and Vanessa Brookman for kids.

"With this strong group of executives, their great experience from decades of working within the direct-to-consumer business and their highly skilled teams, we are more than ready to upgrade our HBO-branded services across Europe to HBO Max, while also planning, preparing and launching in many new territories across Europe, the Middle East and Africa in the years to come," says Christine Sulebakk in a prepared statement.

"Supported by all our WarnerMedia colleagues and as part of a best-in-class global HBO Max team, I couldn’t be more excited about the ambitious plans for HBO Max and the journey ahead of us."

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

National Geographic rolls out 10th Big Cat Month on Nat Geo Wild in February 2021 with 7 premiere specials including Tiger Queen of Taru.

by Thinus Ferreira

National Geographic is doing its 10th Big Cat Month in February 2021 and will again broadcast a lot of special appointment programming on its Nat Geo Wild (DStv 182 / StarSat 221) channel, featuring various big cats in the wild, including 7 premiere specials.

Besides the specials, National Geographic's month-long event will include several interstitials that will be broadcast in-between programming, featuring National Geographic Explorers who are working to protect big cats around the globe.

"Big Cat Month is an exciting television event for us every year and a firm viewer-favourite. This year is particularly special as we will be broadcasting no less than seven premieres highlighting the incredible lives led by these ferocious felines, to many of whom, Africa is home," says  Evert van der Veer, vice president, media networks, The Walt Disney Company Africa. 

"Even more remarkable is that many of the filmmakers are actively involved in wildlife conservation themselves, including  Aishwarya Sridhar, who makes her debut on the channel with the premiere of Tiger Queen of Taru".

The National Geographic Society is partnering its Big Cats Initiative with National Geographic Wild for Big Cat Month.

Nat Geo Wild's Big Cat Month starts on 7 February 2021 with the premiere of Jade Eyed Leopard, narrated by actor Jeremy Irons and directed by the acclaimed local big-cat filmmakers Dereck and Beverly Joubert.

In this one-hour special National Geographic cameras capture the story of a young leopard, Toto, during the critical first three years of her life. 

Viewers getto follow this cub with deep aquamarine eyes – an exceptionally rare trait – and experience her challenges and triumphs firsthand as Toto learns the fundamental skills of survival and makes her passage to adulthood. 

Cecil: The Legacy of a King, premieres Sunday, 14 February at 18:00. This special follows the life and legacy of one of the world's most famous lions - Cecil. 

The ultimate big cat king, Cecil was a warrior, a father and a loyal brother. But his untimely death at the hands of an illegal hunt in Zimbabwe - spelt the end of his extraordinary reign; evoking feelings of fury and sadness to all who hear his tale across the globe. 

Still in Africa, Serengeti Speed Queen tells the story of cheetah Nzuri, the speed queen of the Serengeti – for whom being fast isn’t enough – on Sunday, 21 February at 18:00m.

She is constantly bullied by hyenas on the grassland and hunted by lions in the marsh. When two of her cubs are killed, the family is exiled to the forest. There, she learns to adapt her hunting methods and adds strategy to speed in order to outwit her enemies and steer her remaining cubs successfully to adulthood.

Nat Geo Wild's Big Cat Month 2021 culminates in the premiere of Tiger Queen of Taru, by filmmaker Aishwarya Sridhar on Sunday, 28 February at 18:00. 

This unique special that was filmed over six years tells the story of Maya the tigress in a tiger reserve in Tadoba, Central India. 

Here, Bengal tigers chase wild dogs, fight sloth bears and feud among themselves over bloodlines and territory in never-before-seen footage. Maya writes her own rules when it comes to raising a litter, yet motherhood doesn’t come easy. However, one thing is clear, Maya will do whatever it takes to secure her bloodline within the Kingdom of Taru.  

"We partnered with the Jouberts 11 years ago to create National Geographic Society’s Big Cats Initiative to shed light on these vital and vulnerable wild felines," says Colby Bishop, senior director of wildlife programmes at National Geographic Society.

"More than a decade later, the initiative continues to make major strides in its mission to protect big cats in the wild, including the removal of 13 000 life-threatening snares from their habitats; building more than 2 100 livestock enclosures to reduce human-wildlife conflict with big cats, and providing funds for grantees to work in more than 300 communities."

"National Geographic Wild is the perfect platform to premiere Jade Eyed Leopard as part of Big Cat Month 2021 and to inspire further protection for these majestic creatures around the world," says Colby Bishop.

Netflix passes the 200 million subscriber mark globally with 203 million subs, teases renewal for its Bridgerton period drama from Shondaland.

by Thinus Ferreira

Netflix announced that it has surged to over 203 million subscribers in 2020 and on Wednesday night teased that it would announce a renewal of its popular new period drama Bridgerton for a second and maybe more seasons later this week, likely Friday.

In its 2020 fourth quarter results, the world's biggest video streaming service announced that it had added another 8.51 million paid subscribers worldwide, more than the 6 million it predicted, bringing its total to 203.7 million subscribers worldwide.

This means that Netflix added a whopping 36.6 million subscribers worldwide during the whole of 2020 - its biggest annual gain and surpassing its previous record of 28.6 million new subscriber additions in 2018.

Netflix said that 83% of the new subscribers added in 2020 were from outside the United States and Canada, and that the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region accounted for 41% of its full year's new subscribers in 2020.

After last week when Netflix announced its 2021 film slate with 71 new titles that it will release this year with a new movie every week, Netflix said in its Q4 results that it has more than 500 titles "preparing to launch" or in the post-production stage (including the 71 films).

Netflix is facing a growing surge of competition in the subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) sphere, both in the rollout of new streaming services that are expanding their availability footprint globally, but also in the massive investment that streamers like Disney's Disney+, Discovery Inc.'s Discovery+, Amazon Prime Video, ViacomCBS' Paramount+, Apple TV+, HBO Max, Peacock and others are making in creating new content and stocking their library carousels.

"Discovery recently launched its streaming service. Disney+ is expanding in new countries and with more content. ViacomCBS will be unveiling its plans for Paramount+ in 2021. Combined with the launch of Apple TV+, WarnerMedia’s HBO Max, and NBCUniversal’s Peacock streaming services, this signifies that these companies all recognize the future is streaming entertainment, a vision we have been working towards since inception," says Netflix,

"Our strategy is simple: If we can continue to improve Netflix every day to better delight our members, we can be their first choice for streaming entertainment. This past year is a testament to this approach," Netflix said in its Q4 shareholder letter.

"The big growth in streaming entertainment has led legacy competitors like Disney, WarnerMedia and
Discovery to compete with us in new ways, which we’ve been expecting for many years. This is, in part, why we have been moving so quickly to grow and further strengthen our original content library across a wide range of genres and nations," Netflix said.

"Season four of the critically acclaimed The Crown was the biggest season so far and drove new watchers of prior seasons. In its first 28 days, more member households chose to watch season four of The Crown than each of the prior seasons, helping to grow the number of member households that have chosen to watch this series to over 100 million since its initial launch."

In its shareholder letter, Netflix teased an announcement regarding its new period drama Bridgerton from Shonda Rhimes' Shondaland that is currently the second most-watched show on Netflix South Africa.

"The title has proven immensely popular and we’ll have some exciting news about Bridgerton later this week," Netflix said about its 5th most-watched original series globally.

Looking ahead Netflix projects that it will add roughly 6 million new subscribers in the first quarter of 2021. 

Contributing to this subscriber number would be things like the new partnership between South Africa's MultiChoice that added streaming service functionality for Netflix SA and Amazon Prime as apps to its new DStv Explora Ultra decoder in late-2020.

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

The former Xitsonga SABC News TV and radio presenter Ernest 'Mamba' Nkanyane has died.

by Thinus Ferreira

The Xitsonga SABC News TV and radio presenter Ernest "Mamba" Nkanyane has died. He was 75.

SABC News reported that Ernest Nkanyane, who was born and raised in Olifantshoek, Limpopo had died. His cause of death is not yet known.

Ernest Nkanyane joined the SABC in the mid-1970s as an announcer on the then Radio Tsonga. After several years he joined the SABC News TV show as a journalist.

Ernst Nkanyane became the first executive producer for the SABC News' Xitsonga TV news bulletin in 2003.

Ernest Nkanyane is credited for advancing the Xitsonga language in South Africa and mainstream media. He retired in 2005.

Sunday, January 17, 2021

Katlego Maboe arrested.

by Thinus Ferreira

Katlego Maboe has been arrested with the former Expresso presenter on SABC3 and face of Outsurance commercials who has appeared in court in the continuing case against his former lover Monique Muller.

On Sunday the Rapport newspaper reported that Katlego Maboe was arrested just after New Year's Day and appeared in court on 6 January 2021. All of the specific charges are not yet known.

Lerato Maleswena, Katlego Maboe's new publicist, told Rapport that the Monique Muller's charge is false and an attempt to harass and victimise him and to inflict emotional, reputational and economic damage.

According to the newspaper, Katlego Maboe allegedly ousted Monique Muller from the Seapoint flat in Cape Town they once shared before the shattering of their relationship and also stopped paying full rent.

The newspaper also reports that a complaint has been laid against Katlego Maboe's lawyer, Ellen Louise at South Africa's Legal Practice Council over alleged text messages from her to Monique Muller's family and that family members claim to be hurtful and that have been sent to the council.

The Western Cape branch of the Legal Practice Council confirmed that they're investigating the case and are waiting for reaction from Ellen Louise against the allegations.

In late-October the public image of Katlego Maboe abruptly turned toxic when Monique Muller, his former lover who is the mother of his 2-year old son, in a video accused him of allegedly giving her a sexually transmitted disease (STD) that damaged her womb.

In another video Monique Muller claimed that Katlego Maboe allegedly physically abused her as well, saying that "When the first physical attack happened I got a protection order against him".

In the video, Katlego, dressed in a gown, sheepishly admits to having cheated on her with another woman identified as Nikkita Murray who has since locked her social media accounts.

Mired in public scandal, Katlego Maboe then disappeared from the public eye, and said in a terse statement that "I was unfaithful to my partner during a very important time of our lives - an act I regret to this day. We are currently undergoing an unfortunate and painful separation which is being resolved through legal proceedings".

"In light of the comments made against me, I would like to state that I have never abused my partner".

The disgraced Katlego Maboe was immediately let go from SABC3's Expresso produced by Cardova Productions and was also dropped by Outsurance as the face of its commercials  and replaced by Elana Afrika-Bredenkamp.

Katlego Maboe was summoned to appear in court in November 2020 on charges of harassment of Monique Muller after he had allegedly violated the court's protection order not to stay away from her.

In South Africa, a protection order aims at preventing the reoccurrence of alleged domestic violence or sexual harassment by stating what conduct the alleged offender must refrain from doing. 

Katlego Maboe allegedly broke the stipulations of the protection order that Monique Muller obtained on 3 September in Seapoint, Cape Town. The case was postponed due to a docket that was not delivered to court on time. Katlego Maboe is disputing these charges as well.

In other new revelations during November a close confidant of Monique Muller revealed to YOU and Huisgenoot magazines that Katlego Maboe was allegedly not the man that viewers saw on TV.

Monique in July 2020 discovered that Katlego Maboe allegedly gave her an STD, according to insiders.

He apparently travelled to Kiev, Ukraine to watch a soccer match while he was a brand ambassador for Lay's Chips where he later admitted to Monique that he kissed one of the women who won the competition on a dancefloor. He later allegedly had sex with this woman in a hotel room.

Thursday, January 14, 2021

Meet the first 5 men who are taking part in the first season of The Bachelorette SA on M-Net.

by Thinus Ferreira

On Thursday M-Net (DStv 101) revealed the first 5 contestants in the group of men taking part in the first season of The Bachelorette South Africa that will start on Thursday 11 February at 19:30.

With the localised version of the format of Warner Bros. International Television Production (WBITVP) produced by Rapid Blue, and with Qiniso Van Damme as the bachelorette looking for love, M-Net hopes to replicate the success of the first two seasons of The Bachelor SA.

Ten Naidu (36), Durban
Height: 1,86m
He spent 9 years travelling to 90 countries to teach, pray and find love! He wants to share the world and visit his 100th country with that special someone. Ten left SA in his early teens and has returned to find love where he grew up.

His philosophy is to embrace every experience and enjoy every moment. Ten is open, true and witty. He had a brief relationship with someone that reminds him of Qiniso and feels perhaps it foreshadowed this opportunity. He considers Qiniso more worldly than most ladies he has met and secretly hopes she makes for a great salsa partner.

Ten is a qualified I.T. Trainer and School Teacher specialising in English, Information Technology, Math and recently began modelling overseas. He is in touch with his emotions and has a charming confidence that is fun to witness.

Ruan Meyer (26), Bloemfontein
Height: 1,80m
The Bloemfontein native relocated to Pretoria four years ago to study Architecture at TUT Pretoria. This move broke up his relationship of three years with his high school sweetheart. He comes from a big family after his parents divorced and one remarried.

Ruan runs his own fledgeling construction company while furthering his studies. He admits to having used his likeness to Game of Thrones John Snow, to win over the ladies, but he doesn't like it when the conversation does not move past his likeness.

He has a strong Afrikaans accent and comes across as a small-town boy making it in a big city.  He has travelled parts of Europe and says he would take Qiniso to Italy on a romantic date. Still working towards his Architectural qualification.

Kganya Rapoo (23), Johannesburg
Height: 1,79m
Kganya can be described as a lovable geek with a smile that lights up a room, true to his name. A trainee chartered (not boring) accountant who is also a lecturer and a master’s student, his maturity will make you forget his young age.
He is an extrovert who enjoys going out and having a good time. He has plenty of energy, loves PDA and considers himself to be very sentimental. He is a peacemaker, a sounding board, energetic and lively!

Bradley Newton (29), Johannesburg
Height: 1,78m
Bradley works in the banking and insurance industry. A trained athlete and avid hip-hop dancer, this is a man with a life plan. He considers himself to be mature and a tad calculated.  His answers are textbook but that is him - well planned and direct.

For Bradley, everything needs to be executed with perfection. Because he is a sportsman and allrounder he has high awareness and confidence. He has a portable studio where he does Hip Hop recording past time. He travels the world and enjoys exclusive clubs and parties.

He loves hip hop and has a recording studio.

Dylan Heneck (28), Cape Town
Height: 1,87m
Dylan lives in a converted BnB with eight of his friends. He completed a  BusSci degree, however ended up in the music industry. He is a chameleon, as he has many sides to him, but is generally laid back.  He loves the spotlight and is a bit of a troublemaker. Dylan spends winters overseas and is a digital nomad!

He has had many grand gestures in love, but never found the one. He has been through a lot of introspection as he has been a solo flyer for a long time. Women want commitment which he runs from! "Commitment is not my strong suit!"

Born in the United States of America, living in South Africa since 2006 when he was 14.

Netflix announces its 2021 film slate with 71 movies with the video streamer that will release a new film weekly.

by Thinus Ferreira

Netflix has announced its 2021 film slate together with a short film preview sizzle reel and will be releasing 71 movies over the course of the year - basically a new film weekly - although not all of them will be available in all territories.

Netflix's film slate announcement comes just after, and in response to, The Walt Disney Company that announced its sprawling content slate for 2021 and beyond for its Disney+ video streaming, that was followed by Discovery Inc. that announced its massive content line-up for 2021 for the launch of its Discovery+ subscription video-on-demand service.

In the fast-growing global Plus video wars, Netflix, Disney, Discovery, Amazon Prime Video, WarnerMedia with its HBO Max, Apple with Apple TV+, as well as ViacomCBS with its to-launch Paramount+, are all dramatically ramping up production and spending millions to try and lure customers in the race to try and secure a profitable spot as one of the top global players in the over-the-top (OTT) race.   

"This year's line-up will surprise and delight cinephiles across the globe with films from award-winning filmmakers, including Jane Campion (The Power of the Dog), Paolo Sorrentino (The Hand of God) and Adam McKay (Don’t Look Up)," says Netflix in a statement.

"We’re bringing you a year of films filled with more of the things we know our members love - zombies (Army of the Dead), cowboys (The Harder They Fall, Concrete Cowboy), and high school romance (including the culmination of the To All the Boys and The Kissing Booth trilogies)."

"We’re re-introducing you to teen screams (Fear Street trilogy, There’s Someone Inside Your House), turning your favourite books into films (The Woman in the Window, Munich, The Last Letter from Your Lover), bringing you more adrenaline-pumping blockbusters (Red Notice, Sweet Girl, Kate) and giving your family a reason to say yes to watching films together (YES DAYBack to the Outback, Finding ‘Ohana).

Netflix films will include stars ranging from Leonardo DiCaprio, Sandra Bullock, Dwayne Johson, Idris Elba, Meryl Streep, Zendaya, Jennifer Lawrence, Ryan Reynolds, Jennifer Garner, Gal Gadot, Dave Bautista, Naomi Watts and Jake Gyllenhaal to John David Washington and Octavia Spencer.

Some of the biggest upcoming releases include the heist film Red Notice with Ryan Reynolds and Gal Gardot, the Zach Snyder-directed zombie film Army of the Dead, the Lin-Manuel Miranda musical tick, tick ... BOOM! and the South African-filmed conclusion of The Kissing Booth completing the trilogy.

Scott Stuber, Netflix's head of original films, in an interview said that he's "excited by what we've done, but we've still got a lot more to do, but I feel good about the progress we're making".

Here is the complete list of films Netflix plans to release in 2021:

Outside the Wire
Red Notice
Sweet Girl

8 Rue de l’Humanit√©
Afterlife of the Party
Bad Trip
Don’t Look Up
Double Dad
I Care A Lot
The Last Mercenary
Thunder Force

Alexandre Moratto film (as-yet-untitled)
Bombay Rose
Concrete Cowboy
Fever Dream
Graham King film (as-yet-untitled)
Malcolm & Marie
Penguin Bloom
Pieces of Woman
The Dig
The Guilty
The Hand of God
The Power of the Dog
The Starling
The White Tiger

Family viewing
A Boy Called Christmas
A Winter’s Tale from Shaun the Sheep
Back to the Outback
Finding ‘Ohana
Loud House
Robin Robin
Skater Girl
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Trollhunters: Rise of the Titans
Wish Dragon

Fear Street Trilogy
No One Gets Out Alive
There’s Someone Inside Your House
Things Heard and Seen

A Week Away
tick, tick… BOOM!

A Castle For Christmas
Alicia Keys comedy(as-yet-untitled)
Fuimos Canciones
Love Hard
The Kissing Booth 3
The Last Letter from Your Lover
The Princess Switch 3
To All The Boys: Always and Forever

Science fiction

Blood Red Sky
Escape from Spiderhead
Night Teeth
The Swarm
The Woman in the Window

The Harder They Fall

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

M-Net Movies' 007 James Bond DStv pop-up channel to run for 10 days from 22 January 2021 showing every Bond film.

by Thinus Ferreira

M-Net's 007 James Bond pop-up channel will start on MultiChoice's DStv on channel 111 on 22 January and run until 31 January with the 10-day Bond-marathon that will show every 007 film ever made.

The "shaken not stirred" spy film channel will be the first of DStv's special pop-up channels for 2021 and the third time that M-Net Movies is doing a Bond pop-up channel.

The 007 James Bond DStv pop-up channel will be available to DStv Premium, DStv Compact Plus, DStv Compact and DStv Family subscribers. 

The channel will run from 06:00 until 22:00 for 10 days, bringing viewers tuxedos, Bond girls in bikinis, fast cars with hidden technology, exotic locations including the moon, mind-blowing spy gadgets, deadly villains and henchmen including a Goldfinger, as well as martinis - which are served shaken, not stirred of course.

M-Net says that the Bond film marathon will feature all 7 charming actors who have played the iconic 007 role, from Pierce Brosnan to Sean Connery, Roger Moore and current Bond Daniel Craig.

The various Bond films will be screened chronologically, starting with the first film in the series released 59 years ago, Dr. No (1962), to the latest Bond film and box office hit, Spectre (2015).

All of the films will also be available on DStv Catch Up until Tuesday, 28 February 2021.

SABC2’s Afrikaans soap 7de Laan reaches milestone 5 000th episode and celebrates with cake-cutting event, Fokus going behind-the-scenes for an on-set retrospective.

by Thinus Ferreira

The longrunning Afrikaans soap 7de Laan has reached 5 000 episodes with SABC2's current affairs show Fokus that will give viewers a behind-the-scenes at the production and its milestone this evening, Wednesday 13 January, at 19:00.

The fictional Hillside set soap, currently in its 22nd season, broadcast its 5 000th episode last week Thursday that was recorded on 26 October 2020 at Sasani Studios in Highlands North, Johannesburg.

The episode that was directed by Francois Lensley who also plays the role of Marko Greyling, was scripted to be the unveiling of the remodelled Oppiekoffie set with the fictional coffee shop that was blown up and destroyed in an explosion late last year.

The Danie Odendaal Productions cast officially celebrated the 5 000th episode with a cake ceremony a month ago in early-December 2020 with the event that was done under strict Covid-19 screening and when South Africa was still under Level 1 lockdown restrictions.

While no longer the massive ratings grabber it once was, the 2-decades old soap still pulls a sizeable weekday audience to SABC2, and lured 1.44 million (3.72 ARs) viewers in December 2020 for its most-watched episode, making it the 6th most-watched show on SABC2 last month.

Overall, 7de Laan was the 46th most-watched show on South African television across all TV channels in December 2020. 

The revamped Oppiekoffie now has a new look with new lighting, colour and decor for a more modern feel. 

"The cast and crew of 7de Laan are humbled by the unyielding support of its viewers," says Thandi Ramathesele, 7de Laan executive producer.

"Nothing but the best is good enough in this competitive television market and if viewers weren’t crying with laughter, we know they were weeping with nostalgia. We dedicate the 5 000th episode to the viewers of 7de Laan and South Africa, our beautiful diverse country."

In Wednesday evening's episode of Fokus the current affairs show goes behind-the-scenes of 7de Laan for interviews with the show's cast and crew to give a retrospective view of 7de Laan over the years.