BritBox is hoping to carve out a niche for Anglo-centric programming in the U.S. and its boss has taken a particularly British swipe at rival streamers for their attempts.
Opening the streaming service’s virtual TCA panel, CEO Reemah Sakaan took aim.
“While other streamers have definitely discovered the quality and power of the British genre and in recent years, they’ve been originating some great British shows, they are accessories and not part of the core offering,” she said.
“The streamers are well intentioned. However, they definitely lack a little of what we would define as the essence of British, you might hear the accent see the settings and costumes, but in reality, they’re what we would call British-ish. At BritBox, there’s no extra -ish,” she added. “We were born in America, but we’re wholeheartedly British undeniably authentically and fanatically so. British is in our brand, it’s in our name. No one can match our UK scale nor our sensibility, which are the two ingredients we know make our stories and service resonate with American viewers.”
It was hard not to think of Netflix’s The Crown as Sakaan was talking.
The company, which is a joint venture between British broadcasters ITV and the BBC, is behind series such as Hugh Laurie’s Agatha Christie adaptation Why Didn’t They Ask Evans? – with plans to adapt more Christie novels – as well as the adaptation of Val McDermid’s series of cold case investigations Karen Pirie from Harlots writer Emer Kenny, Windrush-era story Three Little Birds from Lenny Henry, and Cary Grant biopic series Archie, starring Jason Isaacs, which Deadline broke yesterday.
Sakaan, who was talking alongside Chief Creative Officer Diederick Santer, added that it now wanted to lean into true-con stories such as the Eddie Marsan-fronted The Thief, His Wife and the Canoe and Stonehouse starring Succession’s Matthew Macfadyen and Bodyguard’s Keeley Hawes.
“Viewers are watching more [true-crime] than ever before and to feed this voracious appetite BritBox will put the UK’s unparalleled true-crime mastery towards this new sub-genre of true crime that we’re calling true-con. We plan to become the streaming home for true-cons. This is real life stories of corrupt individuals who intentionally and most often outlandishly deceive others for their personal gain,” she added.
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