The BBC is continuing its aggressive marketing of its ‘Original British Drama’ output with a new trailer. The 90 second video offers viewers previews of shows ranging from returning series such as Sherlock and Ripper Street to new commissions The Great Train Robbery and What Remains (the latter currently mid-season). These dramas are expected to air during the autumn and Christmas season on the corporation’s flagship channel, BBC One and its high definition simulcast, BBC One HD.
This trailer has come noticeably later than its equivalent last year. In 2012 the BBC released their drama showcase for the Autumn/Christmas season in July to draw attention to their slate of new shows during the height of the Olympic Games.
The BBC have, in recent years, taken to showcasing its fiction output under the heading ‘Original British Drama’, perhaps in an attempt to combat the high-profile acquisitions of US shows on competing channels. The BBC have dramatically cut the amount of time they give to shows made outside of the UK (such as American series Damages and Mad Men). Last year The Telegraph reported that 108 hours of drama content from overseas channels had been cut, but an extra £20 million was invested in original British drama.
The move towards nearly 100% British content has resulted in a number of hits for the corporation, with audiences flocking to series such as Call the Midwife, The Fall and Ripper Street. Sky have been very vocal in their acquisitions of prime-time American series such as Game of Thrones and Mad Men. However, this year the Game of Thrones season début pulled in 700,000 (big for Sky Atlantic, tiny in the grand scheme of things) and Mad Men hit a major slump with only 58,000 watching its season opener this year. In comparison, the free-to-view BBC enjoyed a huge audience for the series opener of Call the Midwife in January with 9.3 million viewers and Ripper Street drew 5 million.
It may have cut down on American content, but the BBC has confidently proved that British audiences are still drawn to home-grown shows. Watch previous years’ trailers showcasing BBC dramas below: