Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Tired BBC channels on DStv finally getting its much needed facelift: Here's some of what BBC First, BBC Brit and BBC Earth will show.

The tired and dated BBC channels on MultiChoice's satellite pay-TV platform is finally getting a much needed makeover and facelift just 4 months after the brilliant Brit export ITV Choice launched on DStv, with BBC Worldwide now promising better and fresher content sooner, and better category funneling.

BBC Worldwide says the BBC channels improvement will be happening "with an increased investment into new content".

After BBC Worldwide's PR company in response to a media enquiry said at the beginning of this month there's no date for the upgrade and change to the BBC's set of commercial international channels, BBC Worldwide suddenly announced today that it's happening at the end of this month.

It means an end to the appalling and old BBC Entertainment which evolved out of BBC Prime, a fatigued looking channel still showing old programmes like Who Wants to be a Millionaire UK from 2001 and which took forever to bring new seasons of hit shows like Downton Abbey to African viewers.

The stuffy and boring BBC Knowledge is getting a much needed make-over with a shorter, more apt name of BBC Earth. The channel is also finally getting upgraded to high definition (HD) status on DStv on channel 184 from 1 September - the way factual and natural history content really needs to be seen, similar to Discovery Channel.

BBC Worldwide didn't say whether BBC First, launching on 18 October on DStv channel 119 and which was first launched in mid-2014 in Australia will also be shown in HD on DStv, although it should be.

BBC First - as its name implies - should be rolling fresh and quality British drama content to DStv Premium subscribers much sooner from now on than what BBC Entertainment did.

BBC First and BBC Earth will be available to DStv Premium and DStv Compact subscribers.

BBC Brit will start on 1 September on DStv channel 120 and will be available to DStv Premium, DStv Compact and DStv Extra subscribers.

The red and grey logo-ed BBC Brit, replacing the pink BBC Entertainment, will target male viewers.

BBC Lifestyle, the kids channel CBeebies and BBC World News remain unchanged.

"The content hosted on these channels is designed to reach a diverse pan-African audience, reflecting a wide range of voices, ages and cultures," says Joel Churcher, the general manager and vice president for Africa for BBC Worldwide.

"Our DStv customers will be delighted with the addition of even more compelling BBC content," says Mark Rayner, the chief operating officer (COO) for MultiChoice South Africa.

BBC First, DStv channel 119, from 18 October
■ BBC Worldwide promises "hugely popular and critically acclaimed series" on this channel which first launched a year ago in August 2014 in Australia and then other parts of the world.
 Doctor Who that was on BBC Entertainment is now moving to BBC Brit but is now moving to BBC First with the 9th series with Peter Capaldi and Jenna Coleman starting on this channel.
Wolf Hall has Damian Lewis and Mark Rylance. This historical drama based on Hilary Mantel's prize winning novel, chronicles the rise of Thomas Cromwell who became King Henry VIII's chief minister.
Peaky Blinders is a new 6-part gangster drama with Cillian Murphy operating in Birmingham during the aftermath of World War I.
The Missing is an 8-part mystery thriller with James Nesbitt as Tony Hughes, the father of a missing boy in France who sets off on a manhunt for his child.

BBC Earth, DStv channel 184, from 1 September
■ BBC Earth is a brand name first used by the BBC since 2009.
■ BBC Earth will now be shown in HD.
■ In David Attenborough meets President Obama, viewers can see a frank discussion of the future of the planet and what can be done to protect it.
Human Universe features Professor Brian Cox exploring the nature of consciousness and language development, as well as the human need to search the unknown.
Life Story is from the BBC Natural History Unit. Sir David Attenborough narrates this wildlife documentary series. It tells the story and often perilous journey of animal life.
Life Below Zero follows the drama and hardships experienced by four Alaskan households in the long, dark, freezing winter.

BBC Brit, DStv channel 120, from 1 September
■ BBC Worldwide's aim with BBC Brit is to "capture the maverick spirit of our premium factual entertainment programmes".
■ In Duck Quacks Don't Echo presenter and comedian Lee Mack hosts a panel show that explores bizarre and fascinating facts.
Life is Toff is part reality show, part comedy. Cameras tell the story of the private lives of the aristocratic Fulford family over the course of a year.
■ In The Moaning of Life presenter Karl Pilkington discovers other cultures to see how they deal with death, marriage, children, careers and happiness.
Youngsters is a new comedy drama set in the United Kingdom's urban music scene. It follows the journey of two teenage boys, Yemi and Jay, and their quest to break into the music industry.