Monday, November 30, 2015

First of the Last ?

It's all over in the US; The Last Kingdom has run its 10-episode course on BBC America, two episodes ahead of BBC2 showings. The programme, which scratches Auntie's long-running Game of Thrones itch, might have a long future. The drama so far covers events in only two of Bernard Cornwell's nine-book series of misty medieval mayhem and morosity.

So will it be renewed - and who will decide ? On the BBC, overnight ratings in the Thursday 9pm slot have stabilised at around 1.5m, which, with catch-up, rises to 2.5m. This does not represent runaway success - Wolf Hall averaged 4.4m in the overnights, and the last series of The Fall and Line Of Duty scored above 3.3m; the BBC originally cancelled Ripper Street with audiences below 4m, only to revive interest when someone else came in with the bulk of the funding. The Last Kingdom's ratings on BBC America are not public.

I've no idea what proportion of the dosh required for Kingdom comes from licence-fee, what from BBC Worldwide and what from BBC America. Lord Hall may not be buying "imported American drama", but our drama decisions are increasingly being made over the pond.

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