BBC Greenlights Landmark Series On Insects As Unscripted Boss Kate Phillips Brands Notion Of Streamer Domination “Utter Bollocks”

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The BBC has unveiled a landmark natural history series on insects as its head of unscripted brands the notion that the streamers are taking over “utter bollocks.”

The Traitors commissioner Kate Phillips talked tough on the BBC’s place in the ecosystem at Creative Cities Convention, citing research that BBC iPlayer is watched by more people in the UK than Disney+, Prime Video and Netflix combined. “This idea that broadcasters are irrelevant and streamers are taking over is utter bollocks,” she said. “More than nine out of 10 adults access the BBC in the UK.”

Notably, Phillips was speaking a session after Grant Mansfield, the EP behind Disney+’s most-watched natural history series of all time, A Real Bug’s Life, who had called on indies to embrace opportunities in the States.

The BBC unveiled Hidden Planet, a follow up to David Attenborough’s 2005 series Life in the Undergrowth, although the 97-year-old iconic presenter is not yet attached to the new show.

Across five globally-filmed episodes, Hidden Planet will reveal insects to be doting parents that care for their offspring and defend their families, accomplished architects that build beautiful structures and sophisticated communicators, enticing and manipulating large animals. The show is being produced by BBC Studios Natural History Unit, which is based in Bristol, where Creative Cities is taking place.

Hidden Planet comprises a trio of new natural history shows alongside Hamza’s Hidden Wild Isles helmed by Strictly Come Dancing winner Hamza Yassin and one-off film Expedition Killer Whale.

Phillips said the BBC remains keen to take risks in the modern era, pointing out that “we don’t have commercial day-to-day pressures,” while acknowledging a poor recent license fee settlement and inflation in the market.

Phillips was speaking at the Creative Cities Convention along with the likes of Netflix UK boss Anne Mensah, Channel 4’s Alex Mahon and the cast of The Outlaws.

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