THE BIG DEBATE BURSTS BACK - WITH REDI TLHABI

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Downton Abbey renewed for a 6th season; meanwhile South African viewers haven't even seen the 4th season on DStv's BBC Entertainment.


Downton Abbey, the acclaimed British period drama, has just been renewed for a 6th season - meanwhile BBC Worldwide has so far failed to bring South African and African viewers even the 4th season on BBC Entertainment (DStv 120) on MultiChoice's DStv satellite pay-TV platform with no word on when, or if, viewers will see the show again.

ITV and producers Carnival Films just announced that the sterling British series which has become a global phenomenon has been renewed for a 6th season. It is written and created by Jullian Fellowes.

"We have had an amazing reaction to the story lines, acting and production values of Downton Abbey this year and the whole team is thrilled to be moving ahead with a new season of the show. This will provide audiences with a fresh opportunity to see what will befall our much loved characters," says Gareth Neame, Carnival's managing director in a statement.

It is however little consolation for us commoners DStv subscribers who haven't even yet seen the 4th season of Downton Abbey on BBC Entertainment, after BBC Worldwide had a year lag to bring South African pay-TV viewers each of the first three seasons.

In September, responding to a media enquiry, BBC Worldwide when asked when - or if - Downton Abbey would be seen again on BBC Entertainment on DStv, told TV with Thinus that there is nothing to announce yet.

In September speculation also arose that perhaps M-Net snagged the broadcasting rights for Downton Abbey from BBC Worldwide to debut the show on a new home like M-Net Edge (DStv 102) - a place where Downton Abbey - shown quickly, in glorious high definition (HD), with accolades, awards and tremendous buzz - would be a perfect fit.

Alas, M-Net in response to a media enquiry, squashed that hope, telling me that no, M-Net doesn't have the broadcasting rights to Downton Abbey for M-Net or M-Net Edge.

BBC Worldwide's next programming upfront for South Africa will take place in Johannesburg on 25 November, and while the press and TV critics always mind their manners between all the fine porcelain, Earl Grey and crumpets, one or two dapper media dar-hlings will probably delicately, oh so delicately, enquire as to the current condition and future prospects  of Mr Darcy Downton Abbey.