Finished episodes of television dramas – particularly those produced in the US and the UK – continue to sell around the world.
But the move for many international broadcasters, such as those in Scandinavia and Eastern Europe, to air more homegrown series is generating greater interest in scripted formats.
It is such a trend that has led to BBC Worldwide to trumpet the success of the Russian adaptation of BBC time travel crime drama Life on Mars.
Called Dark Side of the Moon (apparently David Bowie wasn’t popular in 1970s Russia, but Pink Floyd were), it transports no-nonsense police officer Gene Hunt to Soviet-era Russia.
Channel One in Russia airs the series, which is produced by Alexander Tsekalo and Ruslan Sorokin. BBC Worldwide’s Duncan Cooper, exec producer of formats and local production, also worked alongside production company Sreda to ensure the adaptation is as close to the original as possible while ensuring it is suitable for a local audience.
Some changes had to be made in the transition, however, such as replacing the iconic Audi Quattro with Moscvich and toning down the character of Hunt in the Russian series.
Sony Pictures Television already has a rich tradition in sending its scripted series oversees, predominantly comedies such as Married with Children and Everybody Loves Raymond. FremantleMedia are also trying to exploit their US properties on the international market.
So where previously sales of series were made, now distributors are finding more opportunities to pitch their scripted formats and build international productions such as Dark Side of the Moon.
Life on Mars was originally produced by Kudos Film and Television for BBC One.
Here’s a trailer for Dark Side of the Moon from the BBC Worldwide blog site: