Australia and New Zealand remain buoyant destinations for distributor’s content

Orange Smarty, the independent distributor and financing house that specialises in multiplatform factual content, has announced a brace of sales to broadcasters throughout Europe, Australia and Asia for its landmark travel series Michael Palin Into Iraq (3 x 52 mins). 

NRK Norway, YLE Finland, Virgin Media Television Ireland, VRT Belgium, RTV Slovenia, HRT Croatia, HOT8 Israel, FTV Prima Czech Republic, SBS Australia and BBC Earth Asia have all acquired the three-part series, which follows Michael on a 1000-mile odyssey along the course of the great Tigris river, from its source in eastern Turkey to its mouth in the Persian Gulf. 

Michael Palin said: “For much of my lifetime, Iraq has been a symbol of war and destruction. Now that a tentative peace has broken out, I wanted to see what happens to a country waking from a nightmare, in a land on which the first cities in the world were built. Not only was it my first time there, it was the first time I’d seen such damage and such resilience side by side. So much desperation and so much hope. I’ve never been in circumstances quite like it in all my life. Going into Iraq was, in the best sense of the word, an eye-opener.”

Australia and New Zealand, which continue to be regular buyers for the Brighton-based distributor’s content also showed increased demand for Orange Smarty’s factual entertainment and specialist-factual programming leading to a string of sales into the region. Including two substantial package deals with SBS Australia and NBC Universal New Zealand, totalling just over 140hours of programming.

SBS has acquired a package of nearly 50 hours of content, including Myths & Legends, a series touching on popular stories from Dracula to the Loch Ness Monster fronted by UK comedian and talk-show host Jonathan Ross (4 x 60 mins). Also included in the deal is Paul O’Grady’s Little Heroes (12 x 30 mins) and the late and much-loved broadcaster’s last project, Paul O’Grady’s Great Elephant Adventure (2 x 52 mins) as well as two Stacey Dooley-fronted titles, Two Daughters (1 x 52 mins) and Stacey Dooley: Stalkers (2 x 55 mins).

NBC New Zealand, meanwhile, has picked up around 80 hours of A Place in the Sun and 12 hours of Stacey Dooley-fronted programming, including the presenter and journalist’s latest documentary for the BBC, Stacey Dooley: Ready for War? In the 52-minute documentary, Dooley is granted unprecedented access to the British Army’s covert combat programme, in which ordinary Ukrainian civilians are given intensive military training in the UK, before being returned to their country to fight the Russian invaders

Deals have also been closed with BBC Studios Australia and New Zealand for three of Orange Smarty’s most popular wildlife series all fronted by Steve Backshall: Meet The Hedgehogs (3 x 60 mins), which centres on the hedgehog rescue centre founded by Queen’s Brian May;, Foxes: Their Secret World (2 x 52 mins) and Badgers: Their Secret World (2 x 52 mins). 

In other sales Down Under, Foxtel Australia have signed up to the latest season of A Place in The Sun, representing 120 hours of content. Warner Bros Discovery New Zealand also picked up A Place in The Sun for Living as well as acquiring 25 Siblings & Me and Britain’s Child Drug Runners for Three. Finally, TVNZ has acquired three titles: Hannah Spearritt: Me & Breast Implants, Katie Price: Trauma and Me and Lazy Car Dealer.

Karen Young, CEO of Orange Smarty, said: 

“The strength of these current deals comes as a result of the carefully curated eclectic mix of quality programmes that Orange Smarty continues to offer to global broadcasters as part of its content output. A combination of premium noisy one-offs together with returnable series makes these acquisitions a smart choice for smart content”