UKTV’s Dave channel and BBC Two have jointly commissioned a new prime-time adventure series starring Steve Backshall.
Debuting next year, Expedition with Steve Backshall will follow the BAFTA-winning filmmaker as he and a team of world-class experts descend a white-water river in the Himalayas, trek through unexplored jungle in South America and climb mountains in the deserts of the Middle East.
The series is being made by True to Nature, the production house founded by Dr Wendy Darke, former Head of the BBC Natural History Unit, and will air in two forms.
Four, hour-long episodes will premiere on BBC TWO in 2019, while Dave will premiere six exclusive episodes later in the year followed by its own versions of the BBC’s episodes.
Overseas distribution will be handled by FremantleMedia International.
Backshall said: “If you think our planet was explored long ago, think again.
“There are still dark and forgotten corners of our world with hidden secrets and we plan to reveal them.”
Richard Watsham, UKTV’s Director of Commissioning, said: “This is a truly innovative commissioning model that forges an exciting new partnership between two of Britain’s leading free to air broadcasters.
“The fact that both the BBC and Fremantle want to invest in Expedition is a testament to the spectacular scale of this project.
“Our strategy to raise UKTV Originals to new heights is gathering pace.
“Steve Backshall has a huge fan base amongst Dave viewers of all ages and I can’t wait to see how the incredible trust and companionship of Steve’s expert team combine to achieve a number of newsworthy world firsts.”
Tom McDonald, BBC Head of Commissioning, Specialist Factual and Natural History, added: “Steve’s last two expeditions for BBC TWO were adrenalised, immersive and wowed the audience so we’re delighted to be working with UKTV and True to Nature to premiere his next adventures.
“Steve is unique, brave and adventurous. But also hugely inquisitive, insightful and knowledgeable – the perfect mix for contemporary Specialist Factual at the BBC.”
Dr Darke commented: “I couldn’t wish to be working alongside a more talented, experienced and dedicated team of creatives in production, broadcast and distribution, to realise the ambition for our world first premium factual global series.
“Steve Backshall is a skilled naturalist and explorer who will take viewers on a fascinating journey to reveal the natural mysteries and treasures of our planet.”