VIDI, South Africa’s premier video on demand entertainment service, has signed a deal with BBC Worldwide – the commercial arm of the BBC – that will see the best of the British broadcaster’s programming available on the service in the months ahead.
The deal sees a raft of acclaimed shows, from drama to comedy to natural history and children’s, some of which will be available from the beginning of February.
These include the hit 13-part series Atlantis, which premiers exclusively on VIDI from 15 February. Never shown in South Africa before, Atlantis is a fantasy drama set in an ancient world of legendary heroes and mythical creatures and stars Mark Addy (Game of Thrones), Jack Donnelly, Sarah Parish (Pillars of the Earth) and Juliet Stevenson (Truly, Madly, Deeply).
In the modern day, Jason, the protagonist of the show, pilots a one-man submarine to investigate a deep sea disturbance and finds himself in the kingdom of Atlantis, Jason has entered a world where gods smite, legendary creatures guard dangerous curses and life is not fair but it is still possible for heroes and justice to prevail. He is given shelter by Pythagoras – a young intellectual, who enjoys beautiful triangles – and the rotund, ex-prize fighter Hercules. The three of them encounter monsters, gods and demigods as they live the Greek myths and battle to do good and protect the innocent.
In 2013 Atlantis was the biggest new Saturday night drama series launched across all BBC channels since 2006, attracting 8.4 million people to episode 1 and a second season was aired last year by the broadcaster.
Other BBC titles lined up from February are:
- Sherlock – the smash hit series starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman. Sherlock has been nominated for many awards including: BAFTAs, Emmys and Golden Globes, winning several awards across a variety of categories. The show received the most number of wins at last year’s Emmys including those for Lead Actor, Supporting Actor and Writing.
- Luther – All three seasons are available for this acclaimed psychological crime drama starring Idris Elba as Inspector John Luther who works for the Serious Crime Unit. A dedicated police officer, Luther is obsessive, possessed, and sometimes dangerous in the violence of his fixations. However, Luther has paid a heavy price for his dedication; he has never been able to prevent himself from being consumed by the darkness of the crimes with which he deals. For Luther, the job always comes first. His dedication is a curse and a blessing, both for him and those close to him. He is unable to arrest Alice Morgan, the murderer in the first episode, and for the rest of the first series she becomes his confidante, giving him an insight into the motivations of other criminals. Elba has been nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Actor in a Miniseries or Television Film for each consecutive season, winning at the 69th Golden Globe Awards. The series has also received eight Primetime Emma-award nominations.
- Ashes to Ashes – Sequel to the hit series Life on Mars which tells the story of Alex Drake (Keeley Hawes), a police officer with the London Metropolitan Police, who is shot in 2008 by a man called Arthur Layton and inexplicably regains consciousness in 1981. Drake does not only have to deal with a life bereft of modern day conveniences like cell phones and sophisticated forensics but outdated sexist behaviour from male colleagues.
- Misfits – a popular comedy-drama about a group of young offenders sentenced to work in a community service programme, where they obtain supernatural powers after a strange electrical storm.
- Gavin & Stacey – a brilliant comedy series about a young Englishman Gavin Shipman and winsome Welsh lass Stacey West who fall in love over long-distance business phone conversations, seal the deal and get married shortly after a London rendezvous. Their whirlwind courtship also rocks the world of their respective best friends, Smithy and Nessa Jenkins, who hate each other at first sight yet keep hooking up together after several drinks have flowed. James Corden (Into the Woods) stars.
- The Catherine Tate Show – is a brilliantly funny sketch comedy series written by and featuring comedienne Catherine Tate in a number of different guises; there’s Nan, the foul-mouthed grandmother; Lauren, the “I’m not bovvered” schoolgirl and Ally, a tactless woman with good intentions who unfortunately is a perfect example of someone with foot-in-mouth syndrome. Collectively, the show has been nominated for six BAFTA Awards, two British Comedy Awards and an Emmy Award, and it has won two Royal Television Society Awards, two British Comedy Awards and a Award since its debut in 2004. Not to be missed!
- For wildlife fans – and for the whole family to enjoy – VIDI has acquired three of the latest David Attenborough narrated series – Life, Frozen Planet and Human Planet. These remarkable natural history series are all winners of multiple awards and feature breathtaking photography, never-before-seen animal behaviour and stunning locations from the Arctic to the Antarctic.
- Children’s shows Charlie and Lola and 3rd & Bird. The former, a charming animated series based on the best-selling books by children’s author Lauren Child and the latter a show revolving around a community of birds encountering problems which must be solved using the social skills which pre-school children must develop in order to make their way in the world
Further exciting BBC titles will be added to the VIDI line-up in the weeks and months ahead.
For those not yet signed up, VIDI is offering a seven-day trial membership so that all South Africans can experience just what it has to offer and just how easy, affordable and accessible it is.
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