BBC First


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Silent Witness Series 20 starts Monday February 27 on BBC First.


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A British homicide detective investigates a murder in a German-occupied England in a parallel universe where the Nazis won World War II.


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The highly anticipated mini-series is co-produced by BBC First and Foxtel with BBC Two, See-Saw Films, BBC UKTV in New Zealand, SundanceTV and Hulu in the United States, ARTE in France and BBC Worldwide.

BBC First and Foxtel today released the trailer for See-Saw Films’ next instalment of the Emmy and Golden Globe nominated Top of the Lake, ahead of its premiere at Cannes Film Festival later this month. Top of the Lake: China Girl will air on BBC First later this year.
The locally-produced series will see Elisabeth Moss (Mad Men) reprise her Golden Globe winning role as Detective Robin Griffin. She will be joined by Nicole Kidman and Gwendoline Christie (Game of Thrones, Star Wars: The Force Awakens).

Also joining the cast are David Dencik (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo), Alice Englert (Beautiful Creatures, Jonathan Strange And Mr Norrell) and Ewen Leslie (The Daughter).

Top of the Lake: China Girl is a crime mystery story that finds Detective Robin Griffin recently returned to Sydney and trying to rebuild her life. When the body of an Asian girl washes up on Bondi Beach, there appears little hope of finding the killer, until Robin realises “China Girl” didn’t die alone. Robin looks to the investigation to restore herself, but her problems are personal. Haunted by a daughter given up at birth, Robin desperately wants to find her, yet dreads revealing the truth of her conception. But her search to discover “China Girl’s” identity will take her into the city’s darkest recesses and closer than she could have imagined to the secrets of her own heart.

Tim Christlieb, Director of Branded Services, BBC Worldwide Australia and New Zealand said: “For Top of the Lake: China Girl to be honoured with a screening at the Cannes film Festival is testament to Jane Campion’s incredible vision and the talent of the team both in front of and behind the camera. We are excited to bring this local production to audiences later this year.”

Foxtel’s Executive Director of Television, Brian Walsh said: “Foxtel is very proud to be a co-investor and co-producer of Top of the Lake: China Girl. It continues our commitment to visionary Australian storytelling led by the incomparable Jane Campion and a stellar cast including Elizabeth Moss, Nicole Kidman and Gwendoline Christie. We look forward to bringing the series to Foxtel subscribers on BBC First later this year.”


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LOVES, LIES & RECORDS Saturday December 16 at 7.30pm on BBC First
From BAFTA award-winning writer Kay Mellor comes Loves, Lies & Records, a new BBC First drama series that follows Registrar Kate Dickenson (Ashley Jensen) as she tries to juggle her personal life with the daily dramas of births, marriages and deaths, and the impact they have on her. After a dream promotion to the top job of Superintendent, Kate finds herself increasingly torn by the endless responsibilities of being a modern working mother. Her daughter’s hiding suspicious messages on her mobile, her son hates her because she’s brought him the wrong trainers, and now her stepson has turned up unannounced to stay. As Kate tries to hold her work, life and relationship together, things go from complicated to impossible when a disgruntled colleague threatens to expose a secret from her past. The series explores how women in particular have to juggle their lives. Kate has reached the top of her profession but with everything she’s worked for in jeopardy, can she sustain herself when it’s not just her job that’s on the line.


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CALL THE MIDWIFE Season 7 Premiering in January on BBC First
This hugely successful drama returns with more laughs, tears and inspiring stories from the nurses and nuns of Nonnatus House. The year is 1963, and the midwives find themselves tested both personally and professionally as never before. Together, they face challenging issues including leprosy, stroke and Huntington’s disease, all while fighting their own personal battles. Nurse Crane finds her authority questioned from an unexpected quarter, Sister Monica Joan is forced to accept her failing faculties, and the much-loved characters are joined by West Indian midwife Lucille Anderson – a funny and clever nurse who brings a fresh burst of energy to life at Nonnatus House. Stars Jenny Agutter, Judy Parfitt and Helen George.


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Call the Midwife & Victoria Christmas specials premiere on BBC First

BBC First

Take a break from the sunscreen and sand and celebrate a White Christmas with BBC First. The much anticipated Call the Midwife and Victoria Christmas specials will premiere on December 26 and 27 on BBC First.

In Call the Midwife, the 60s are in full swing, and Poplar is covered by a thick blanket of snow as the nuns and nurses of Nonnatus House face the challenge of the coldest winter for three hundred years. Battling against snow, ice, power cuts and frozen pipes, the midwives brave the elements to provide the best possible care for their patients.

Meanwhile, in Buckingham Palace, Christmas is approaching and Queen Victoria is uncharacteristically melancholy. Bereft without Baroness Lehzen, the festive season reminds her of her lonely childhood spent isolated at Kensington. Albert, on the other hand, is gripped by an obsession with staging the perfect family Christmas, and ruffles feathers as he transforms the Palace into a magical festive wonderland. A terrifying accident on the frozen lake calls the couple’s priorities into question, and Victoria and Albert finally realise that they must leave behind the pain of their upbringings if they are to give their own children the Christmas that they never had.

The Call the Midwife Christmas special premieres on December 26 at 8.30pm, followed by the Victoria Christmas special on December 27 at 8.30pm.


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BBC FIRST SIGNS SMEG AS CHANNEL SPONSOR AND ANNOUNCES TWO MAJOR PROGRAMME ACQUISTIONS

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Premium drama channel BBC First has announced Smeg as its new channel sponsor; alongside the acquisition of two major dramas A Very English Scandal starring Hugh Grant, and Vanity Fair with Olivia Cooke (Ready Player One).

Smeg will become the channel sponsor for BBC First from July 1. The deal comes as BBC First continues to grow its audiences across the key ad sales demo of People 25-54, with live audiences up 25% over the last twelve months across the day*. The sponsorship will see a string of highly-anticipated dramas featuring big names hitting the screen in the coming months.

The critically acclaimed A Very English Scandal is the shocking true story of the first British politician to stand trial for conspiracy to murder. In the late 1960s, homosexuality has only just been decriminalized, and Jeremy Thorpe, the leader of the Liberal party and the youngest leader of any British political party in a hundred years, has a secret he’s desperate to hide. As long as Norman Scott, his vociferous ex-lover is around, Thorpe’s brilliant career is at risk, and eventually Thorpe can see only one way to silence Scott for good. The trial of Jeremy Thorpe changed politics forever as the British public discover the darkest secrets of the Establishment and the lengths they’d go to conceal them.

For period drama lovers, Gwyneth Hughes’s (Victoria) adaptation of William Makepeace Thackeray’s Vanity Fair brings the novel to life in way that will really connect with a modern audience. Set against the backdrop of the Napoleonic Wars, the series follows Becky Sharp (Olivia Cooke) as she attempts to claw her way out of poverty and scale the heights of English Society. Her story of “villainy, crime, merriment, lovemaking, jilting, laughing, cheating, fighting and dancing”, takes her all the way to the court of King George IV, via the Battle of Waterloo, breaking hearts and losing fortunes as she goes. The series also features Michael Palin and Suranne Jones (Doctor Foster).

These two new acquisitions join Patrick Melrose, premiering on BBC First from July 23. Starring Oscar nominee and Emmy winner Benedict Cumberbatch and featuring Hugo Weaving and Jennifer Jason Leigh, the series is based on the novels of Edward St Aubyn and adapted by acclaimed author and screenwriter David Nicholls (One Day) and won praise from audiences and critics alike with its recent screenings in the UK and US.


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