Peppa Pig, Paddington and RTS awards: COBA’s monthly newsletter for March

Congratulations to RTS winner Sky News, Nickelodeon commissions British animation Paddington, and Peppa Pig ups the soft power ante…COBA’s monthly newsletter about its members’ commissioning and other activities is now out.


Sky wins RTS news channel of the year

Congratulations to Sky News, which has won the coveted RTS award for News Channel of the Year for the second year running. The channel was commended for “admirable strength in investigations, exclusives and special projects.”


Ben Whishaw to voice Nickelodeon’s new Paddington series

Nickelodeon has commissioned a major TV animation version of Paddington, with actor Ben Whishaw reprising his role from the recent hit films by voicing the famous bear.

The pre-school series will be made by UK independent producer Blue Zoo and is written by Jon Foster and James Lamont, whose credits include Turner’s Bafta-winning British animation The Amazing World of Gumball. COBA members are important investors in UK children’s content, investing more than £20m in new British kids content in 2017.


Wave of investment in factual entertainment puts Jamie Oliver on multichannel menu

 A major package of Jamie Oliver shows heads up a flurry of investment in home-grown factual entertainment programmes over recent weeks. The eclectic mix of shows, covering anything from cooking, to emergency services, through to crime, highlights how different multichannel broadcasters are creating competition for UK producers in the factual entertainment genre.

Jamie Oliver is the star of a 21-programme package of shows acquired by Discovery for its Food Network UK channel from Channel 4. The deal marks the largest investment in content for the channel since Discovery acquired its former owner, Scripps, last year. All shows are produced by the chef’s Jamie Oliver Productions.

Meanwhile, UKTV has commissioned leading independent producer North One Television to make Ski A&E, a 10-part series about ski emergency services in the French Alps. The show builds on a string of successful recent factual commissions by UKTV, including Emma Willis: Delivering Babies.

Finally, A+E Networks’ Crime + Investigation channel has just commissioned another UK independent producer, Phoenix Television, to make a 10-part series investigating missing people cases that become murder investigations. When Missing Turns To Murder will allocate an hour show to each case, giving it time to explore the police investigation and the impact on those affected in depth.

The commissions follow the launch of COBA’s 2019 Content Report, which revealed that COBA members invest £1.1 billion a year in new UK programming, the first time multichannel sector annual spending has hit £1 billion.


And finally….Peppa teaches US kids to speak with British accents

After years of British hand-wringing about our children being indoctrinated by American TV, Nick Jr’s Peppa Pig is striking back. US parents are up in arms (well, on Twitter) about their kids picking up British accents after watching the hit animation. According to the so-called #PeppaEffect, American kids are now saying “toe-mah-toes”, “I am a bit bored Mumm-ay”, and “oh Dadd-ay, may we go on holiday, please.”

 COBA will resist the temptation to make a smug comment about British manners at this point, and instead offer this little known Peppa fact: Peppa’s British creators, Mark Baker, Phil Davies and Neville Astley, were originally on their uppers after nearly every broadcaster in town turned them down. Finally, Nick Jr gave them a commission and, one global franchise later, there has never been a better example of the importance of having a mixed ecology of different broadcasters all investing in UK content.