Page last updated at 16:51 GMT, Thursday, 12 March 2009

BBC Two to show US TV's The Wire

The Wire
British actor Dominic West leads the cast in the hit US drama

Hit US series The Wire is to be shown on BBC Two, it has been announced.

Led by British actor Dominic West, the critically acclaimed drama shows Baltimore life from drug users to politicians to local journalists.

Although it has been aired in the UK on satellite TV, it will be the first time it has ever aired on terrestrial TV.

All 60 episodes across the show's five seasons will be shown stripped across the week. Transmission dates have yet to be announced.

"We are delighted to offer terrestrial viewers the opportunity to watch this ground-breaking series," Sue Deeks, the BBC's head of series, programme acquisition, said.

"It's a wonderful chance for everyone to see what the critics have been raving about for so long."

'Nothing's close'

Created by David Simon, The Wire's first season tells the story of a single drugs-and-murder police investigation from the point of view of both the police and their targets.

The show, which previously aired in the UK on pay-TV channel FX, has been championed by TV critic Charlie Brooker, who told viewers of his BBC Four show Screenwipe: "Quite simply, it's a stunning piece of work."

Author Irvine Welsh called it "the best thing on TV. By far. Nothing's close to it".

The deal to broadcast the series comes after Channel 4 chief executive Andy Duncan argued the BBC should stop buying shows from overseas and put the cash into original productions instead.

A BBC spokesman said: "The Wire is one of the most acclaimed series in television history. It has not previously been shown on UK free television and in acquiring it the BBC did not compete against any other broadcasters.

"Comedy and drama acquisitions on the BBC such as this make up less than 1.5% of the total primetime output across all four channels.

"The money spent on these programmes is a very cost effective way of bringing original and distinctive shows to UK audiences which complement our UK-originated output."

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