Audiences in South Africa will be tuning into local versions of some of the BBC's most successful series over the coming months.
BBC Worldwide has signed major local production deals with broadcaster SABC for South African versions of Keeping Up Appearances and Great South Africans, based on the BBC's hugely successful Great Britons format, and has also recently launched a local version of What Not To Wear.
The local version of Keeping Up Appearances will be made in Sotho, one of South Africa's eleven official languages, and is BBC Worldwide's first venture in an African language. SABC plans to launch its version on SABC2 in early 2005 the year whilst the original UK series continues to be a hit around the world.
The broadcaster recently announced the top-ten shortlist for Great South Africans. The names on the list, as voted for by the South African public, include (alphabetically): Dr Christiaan Barnard, F W De Klerk, Mahatma Gandhi, Nkosi Johnson; Winnie Madikizela Mandela; Nelson Mandela; Thabo Mbeki; Gary Player; Jan Smuts and Archbishop Desmond Tutu.
Monisha Shah, BBC Worldwide Head of Africa, South Asia & Middle East, said: "Building on the success of the first local versions of BBC formats that we made with the SABC, we now have format agreements in place for each of their three channels. It is a confirmation both of the SABC's creative vision and of the potential of the BBC’s output for local reversioning."
Other BBC entertainment formats, such as Friends Like These, have already become established hit series for the network. SABC3, currently broadcasting its series two of The Weakest Link, has recently announced that a third series of the international phenomenon has been commissioned.