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LONDON – UKTV, a joint venture between BBC Worldwide and Scripps Networks International, threw a lavish, no expenses spared annual showcase for its upcoming season while trumpeting its commitment to invest more than £100 million ($159 million) in original content for its network of channels.
The showcase Tuesday saw the multiple platform pay-TV channel operator take over the ground floor of the swish Saatchi Gallery in central London.
UKTV wheeled out a slew of stars from its fresh crop of shows including Stephen Mangan (The Comic Strip Presents: Five Go To Rehab), the cult magician and illusionist Stephen Frayne aka Dynamo (Magician Impossible) and Chris Barrie (Red Dwarf X) and also introduced British natural history broadcasting legend David Attenborough and his new show Attenborough’s Natural Curiosities.
Attenborough, whose resume boasts Planet Earth, Blue Planet and Life, is presenting his show for UKTV’s channel strand, Eden.
He told the gathered media at the event that in the not too distant future natural history programs may well have dispensed with “nature jockeys” such as himself.
“It will be a dedicated amateurs putting up their own footage on the web of wildlife out there,” Attenborough said.
UKTV chief executive Darren Childs said he hoped the event would highlight the mixed slate his company’s commitment to the annual $159 million hopes to produce for its portfolio of 10 channels.
Childs noted that UKTV is the fastest growing commercial network of 2012, “growing more than every other commercial broadcaster combined” and with a monthly reach of over 45% ABC1 adults.
His portfolio is also BSkyB’s largest HD provider with five channels supplying 19,000 hours of HD content in 2013.
Dynamo kicked the event off with a large-scale trick involving a randomly-selected audience member, a “human deck of cards” and an envelope containing a deck of cards.
Among the new commissions is The Jonathan Goodwin Project (working title).
Co-created by Objective Productions, the show follows danger enthusiast and professional death-dodger, Jonathan Goodwin, who has trained for thousands of hours in a bid to hone “superhuman” skills and strength.
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