Shows like "Wolf Hall" and "Unforgotten" that have won the prestigious British Academy of Film and Television Arts (Bafta) awards will soon be aired in India. English general entertainment channel Zee Cafe in association with BBC Worldwide is set to bring award-winning premium British dramas starting July 16.
The channel will host the second edition of the BBC First content block featuring 12 shows -- "Doctor Foster" season two, "Top of The Lake" season two, "Maigret" season two, "Paula", "Wolf Hall", "Unforgotten", "Broken", "In The Dark", "Burton and Taylor", "The Interceptor", "Born to Kill" and "The Collection".
"We started it last year. We chose to renew it because it did exceptionally well," Aparna Bhosle, Business Cluster Head - Premium channels, Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd (ZEEL), told IANS.
"While doing studies for every category, we realized that as far as the English space in India is concerned, 95 per cent of all the content is from America. If you see BBC content, their characters are all grey. When you see those grey characters, you tend to identify with them more," she added.
The Indian audience is already familiar with British shows, thanks to projects like "Sherlock" and "Downton Abbey" that were aired in the country.
"It's not a question of adding more British shows. We started the search with finding other content. We looked at Australia as well. We didn't think the storytelling matched up to the quality that we required. Therefore, we zeroed in on the British shows," she said.
It's not like American shows aren't doing well in India.
Asked about the most popular show on Zee Cafe, Bhosle said: "'The Big Bang Theory' and 'Two and a Half Men' seem to do better than the rest. We just aired 'American Idol'. That also did well."
Comparing American shows with the British ones, she said: "A lot of American shows... you see them in studios. BBC shows are in giant locations like in New Zealand. They are much larger than life.
"As a viewer, you don't realise the claustrophobia you feel... you are just watching one house to another house. This (British shows) kind of gives you a welcome break. For instance, 'Paula'. It is almost like watching a movie. It's a gorgeous production."