Netflix snaps up BBC thriller Bodyguard but ITV lands the cash

Netflix snaps up BBC thriller Bodyguard but ITV lands massive windfall from the deal rather than the Beeb

  • Netflix buys international rights to show Bodyguard for undisclosed fee
  • ITV Studios gets cash as majority owner of creators World Productions
  • Comes as BBC director general warns broadcaster is struggling to compete 

It is one of the BBC’s most popular dramas in years – but the broadcaster is set to miss out on its cash windfall.

Netflix has splashed out on the international rights for high intensity drama Bodyguard, which has brought in as many as eight million viewers per episode on BBC1.

But ITV Studios will rake in the money from the deal because it is the majority owner of the firm behind the smash hit, World Productions. 

Netflix has paid an undisclosed sum to secure the international broadcast rights to Bodyguard, pictured, starring Richard Madden and Keeley Hawes

The show, which follows protection officer David Budd, played by Madden, pictured, has proved a huge hit, netting eight million viewers for its last episode

It comes amid fears the BBC could lose out on a second series of the show – penned by Jed Mercurio and starring Richard Madden and Keeley Hawes – to Netflix after director general Lord Hall said the broadcaster needed to find more money to compete with the streaming giant and its rivals, such as Amazon Prime.

Netflix did not reveal how much it paid for the international rights, but it is believed to be a seven-figure sum.

The US-based business has a £6billion budget for creating and buying shows each year, which dwarfs the BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Channel 5 and Sky, who spend around £1.9billion combined annually.


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Maria Kyriacou, President International of ITV Studios said:’Bodyguard has gripped the nation with its twists and turns. It’s a perfect example of a show produced locally which has huge global appeal.

‘Through our partnership with Netflix, we can’t wait for audiences around the world to enjoy the show as much as audiences here in the UK.’

Netflix will begin broadcasting Bodyguard internationally from October 24. 

MailOnline has approached the BBC for comment.  

ITV Studios are to get the cash from the deal because it is majority owner of World Productions, which produces the show

The deal has sparked some concerns Netflix could obtain a second series of the show rather than the BBC. Pictured is Keeley Hawes as Home Secretary Julia Montague

Speaking at a Royal Television Society conference yesterday Lord Hall said the BBC’s spending is ‘unsustainable’ and admitted ‘we need to find more money’.

The director-general also said there is a ‘threat’ to the BBC and that the ‘cracks are beginning to show’.

He has called on the public to support the BBC more and wants a debate on how it should be funded.

Lord Hal urged people to support the public service broadcaster in an age of fake news and decreasing British content, as Amazon and Netflix continue to expand their share of the UK audience.

He said: ‘While it looks likely other companies are taking over nationally, the BBC has had its funding cut.

‘We need to find more money. The public doesn’t like cuts to the BBC. It’s their BBC and they want more from it, not less.

‘We do not believe what we currently do is sustainable with the pressures we face. The cracks are beginning to show.

‘We have lost BBC 3 as a network presence, we have lost our Formula 1 coverage. There have been cuts to the licence fee. Our competitors do not face the challenges we face.’

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