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Tuesday, 8 October, 2002, 12:25 GMT 13:25 UK
BBC sells natural history shows
Michael Palin's Sahara
Michael Palin's new journey is also in demand
Forthcoming natural history hits like Walking with Cavemen and David Attenborough's Life of Mammals have helped the BBC achieve record overseas deals.

The corporation's main commercial arm, BBC Worldwide, has sold the shows for future use on a host of foreign stations after they have made debut on British television.

Walking with Cavemen, the sequel to the BBC's hit shows about beasts and dinosaurs, has been sold to Australia, Belgium, France, Sweden and Canada.

Scene from Walking with Cavemen
Walking with Cavemen will expand on its predecessors
Broadcast in spring next year, it will hope to repeat the success of the previous two high-budget series which have combined high viewing figures and technical plaudits.

Mipcom, held in Cannes, is one of Europe's most important television sales festivals, and BBC Worldwide hopes the 5m of co-productions and programme licensing deals already agreed will lead to up to 40m of sales by the time the festival finishes on Friday.

More than 1000 hours of programming, from across all genres, has been licensed to broadcasters around the world.

Sir David Attenborough's latest - The Life of Mammals - has been picked up by Finland, Sweden, Belgium, Russia, South Africa and Australia.

Wild New World - with its emphasis on natural pre-history - will be watched by viewers in Germany, Poland, Belgium, Spain and Finland.

One of Wild New World's mammoths
Wild New World has an unusual approach
BBC Worldwide's success is not limited to the BBC's natural history department, with Sahara, Michael Palin's latest adventure, selling to five countries.

And David Brent could be making terrible jokes in French, after the second series of The Office was sold to TPS Cinema in France.

Other sales included period adaptation Crime and Punishment, spy drama Spooks, cop show Mersey Beat, children's hit Tweenies, and Victorian drama Tipping the Velvet.

Foreign television companies have signed deals to help produce shows with the BBC, including a German firm collaborating on three forthcoming Walking with Dinosaurs specials, a documentary called Pyramid, and the three-part series Monsters We Met.

Rupert Gavin, chief executive of BBC Worldwide, said: "It's clear from our early successes that overseas broadcasters are eager to acquire rights to our plentiful supply of prestigious programming.

"With early hits across all genres and all markets we expect great things for our new line-up."

See also:

17 Jul 01 | Entertainment
04 Jul 01 | Entertainment
16 Nov 01 | Entertainment
13 Nov 01 | Science/Nature
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