Entertainment & Arts

BBC to use Top Gear to target male viewers globally

Richard Hammond, Jeremy Clarkson, James May on Top Gear
Image caption Motoring show Top Gear is fronted by Richard Hammond, Jeremy Clarkson and James May

Hit show Top Gear will feature heavily in a new BBC campaign to target male viewers outside of the UK.

BBC Brit will "blend fact with fun, airing best of British content from motoring, business, documentaries and adventure to food, music and sport."

It will be a multiplatform offering across TV and online, with the launch market still yet to be announced.

It is one of three new international brands announced by the corporation's commercial arm BBC Worldwide.

Chief Executive Tim Davie said the offering would fill "a gap in the global market".

"BBC Brit will capture the maverick spirit of our premium factual entertainment programmes," said Mr Davie at a Broadcasting Press Guild lunch in London.

Along with Top Gear, it is likely to feature many of the BBC's other top shows in that genre, such as Frank Skinner's Room 101, Dragon's Den or documentaries from presenters such as Louis Theroux.

Investing in drama

BBC First, which will showcase British drama, is due to launch with a pay-TV channel in Australia on Foxtel this August.

Mr Davie also addressed BBC Worldwide's pledge to invest £200 million into premium new content over the next year.

Investments so far include Jimmy McGovern's as-yet-untitled new BBC Two drama about 18th Century British deportees to Australia.

Filming is also about to start on a new BBC America sci-fi series Intruders, starring John Simm and scripted by X Files writer Glen Morgan.

BBC Worldwide has also invested in a partnership with independent TV company Lonesome Pine, founded by former Radio 2 controller Lesley Douglas and award-winning scriptwriter Aschlin Ditta, aimed at developing new music, comedy and drama series.

Mr Davie revealed that he has ambitions to expand BBC Earth - including a block of BBC natural history shows on BBC America, later this year - into a new online site, which will also be available to UK users through bbc.co.uk.

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