Wednesday 15th February 2017

Case Solved! Sherlock chosen as favourite ever BBC TV character around the world


  • Almost a third of TV viewers worldwide chose Sherlock as their favourite ever BBC TV character
  • Benedict Cumberbatch “honoured” by the accolade and international acclaim
  • More than a quarter of fans globally say Sherlock falling to his ‘death’ is the BBC’s most memorable scene
  • Doctor Who proves to be the second most popular BBC character, with Luther in third place

The iconic character of Sherlock, from the hit TV series of the same name, has been voted the most popular television character from the BBC by international audiences.

The research was conducted in the lead up to BBC Worldwide Showcase (Sunday 19th February – Wednesday 22nd February), the world’s largest single distributor TV sales market, now in its 41st year, which takes place at the ACC in Liverpool. Over 7,000 people between the ages of 18-64 from Australia, France, USA, Germany, India, Japan and Mexico were asked to take part in the survey, which identified the most popular BBC TV character and most memorable scene from BBC television.

The survey reveals the top three as:

  1. Sherlock (29.7% of respondents)
  2. Doctor Who (17.6% of respondents)
  3. Luther (12.4% of respondents)

Sold internationally to 240 territories by BBC Worldwide, the thrilling and contemporary reimagining of the Arthur Conan Doyle stories from Steven Moffat (Doctor Who) and Mark Gatiss (Doctor Who) has won numerous awards and become a global phenomenon. For instance, when ‘The Abominable Bride’ launched in over 6,000 cinemas in Asia, it went on to outsell Star Wars: The Force Awakens on the day in both China and South Korea. Meanwhile, the official Sherlock Facebook page has now amassed over 6 million fans. The survey also revealed that the character of Sherlock had broad appeal across all age groups and was most widely backed by viewers in Mexico (50%), India (42%) and Germany (30%).

The survey also revealed that the British sense of humour was a key factor for audiences in Japan ranking Sherlock as the number one character, with more than a quarter (26%) of fans stating the humour was a reason to watch the show. Meanwhile, in Mexico, the British accent proved to be a turn-on with 34% of viewers giving it their seal of approval as one of their top reasons for crowing the sleuth their favourite BBC character.

Sherlock also received the top spot in the survey for the most memorable scene, with fans citing the moment where he fell to his ‘death’ as their favourite by some margin. The top three were:

  1. Sherlock falling to his ‘death’ (26.0% of respondents)
  2. ‘The Dead Parrot’ sketch by Monty Python (14.1% of respondents)
  3. The Doctor’s regeneration in Doctor Who (13.1% of respondents)

Overall, the top 10 memorable scenes list featured a mix of classic and contemporary BBC moments, from drama, comedy and natural history, highlighting the breadth and depth of programming that international audiences love. This was exemplified in the duel for best ‘period drama’ moment: perennial favourite, Mr Darcy (played by Colin Firth), emerging from the lake in Pride and Prejudice (12.5%), being narrowly beaten by the ballroom scene between Prince Andrei and Natasha in War and Peace (12.6%).

Paul Dempsey, President of Global Markets, BBC Worldwide, said: “This survey demonstrates the love and affection audiences have for our shows around the world and those defining TV moments that get viewers talking, wherever they are. With over 700 TV buyers from across the world attending our Showcase sales event next week, international demand for British TV is as strong as ever.”

Benedict Cumberbatch, commented: “I’m honoured to hear that my portrayal of Sherlock has been internationally recognised as viewers’ favourite BBC TV character. Who would have thought a high functioning sociopath could be so popular with people all over the world”

Please see below for full list:

Top Ten Favourite British BBC Characters


  1. Sherlock (29.7%)
  2. Doctor Who (17.6%)
  3. Luther (12.4%)
  4. Basil Fawlty (11.8%)
  5. The Stig (8.2%)
  6. Patsy Stone (8.1%)
  7. Edmund Blackadder (7.4%)
  8. Hyacinth Bucket (6.1%)
  9. Vicar of Dibley (5.8%)
  10. The Daleks (5.6%)

Top Ten Most Iconic BBC Moments


  1. Sherlock falling to his ‘death’ (26.0%)
  2. Monty Python Dead Parrot sketch (14.1%)
  3. The Doctor’s regeneration in Doctor Who (13.1%)
  4. The Ballroom scene with Prince Andrei and Natasha in War and Peace (12.6%)
  5. Mr Darcy emerging from the lake in Pride and Prejudice (12.5%)
  6. Basil Fawlty attacking his car in Fawlty Towers (11.5%)
  7. Sir David Attenborough and the Gorillas in Life on Earth (10.2%)
  8. David Brent dancing in The Office (9.5%)
  9. When the murderer comes from out of the bed in Luther (6.53%)
  10. Don’t tell him Pike in Dad’s Army (6.50%)


For more information, please contact:

Alexander Wood – Communications Officer, Global Markets


Mobile: +447753461450



12 February 2017

BBC Worldwide pre-sells crime drama SS-GB to broadcasters across Europe

Ahead of Showcase 2017, BBC Worldwide have announced today the global pre-sales for the conspiracy thriller, SS-GB, set in a German occupied Britain post WW II and starring Sam Riley (Control, Maleficent) along with Hollywood talent Kate Bosworth (Still Alice, Superman Returns) and Germany’s Rainer Bock and Lars Eidinger. Germany, Sweden and Poland are some of the countries who have licensed the series prior to the BBC’s broadcast on 19th February.

SS-GB will receive its World Premiere at the prestigious Berlin Film Festival on 14th February, and will be available to international buyers attending BBC Worldwide’s Showcase event in Liverpool from Sunday 19th February. Across Europe, the series has been licensed to Germany (RTL), Croatia (Pickbox), Sweden (SVT), Greece (Cosmote), Israel (HOT/Cellcom), Iceland (RUV), and Poland (Showmax).

A Sid Gentle Films Ltd production, SS-GB will additionally appear on BBC First channels in Africa, Australia, Benelux and the Middle East, as well as UKTV in New Zealand.

Paul Dempsey, President Global Markets, BBC Worldwide said, “Adapted from a worldwide best-seller by two of Britain’s most successful screenwriters and featuring an A list cast, this compelling drama will have great appeal for international audiences.”

History is turned on its head in this gripping series adapted from Len Deighton’s 1978 novel by screenwriters Neal Purvis and Robert Wade (Skyfall, SPECTRE). The Second World War’s Battle of Britain has ended in victory for Hitler’s Germany and the population of 1940s Britain struggles to adjust to life under German occupation.  

Other new dramas being launched at BBC Worldwide Showcase 2017 (19-22 February) include; a second series of Jane Campions’ Top of the Lake, starring Elisabeth Moss, Gwendoline Christie and Nicole Kidman, Broken from Jimmy McGovern starring Sean Bean, 60s-set war drama The Last Post from Bafta-winning writer Peter Moffat, and McMafia, inspired by the insider interviews in Misha Glenny’s bestselling book, exposing the global network of organised crime with James Norton in the lead role.

BBC Worldwide Showcase is the world’s largest international television market hosted by a single distributor. The four-day event is attended by over 700 of the world’s top TV buyers, award-winning producers and on-screen talent.


For more information, please contact:

Dan Phelan

Head of Communications, BBC Worldwide

+44 (0) 7734 867 905



6th February 2017



  • A range of world-class talent to dazzle BBC Worldwide’s Showcase including Matt LeBlanc, Ed Westwick, Gary Barlow, Jennifer Saunders and Joanna Lumley


BBC Worldwide Showcase, the world’s largest international television market hosted by a single distributor, will welcome a spectacular range of talent to its flagship event in Liverpool (19th – 22nd February), including Gary Barlow, Dannii Minogue and Mel Giedroyc from hit prime-time show Let it Shine, actor Ed Westwick (White Gold), Top Gearpresenter Matt LeBlanc and Absolutely Fabulous stars Jennifer Saunders and Joanna Lumley.

Now in its 41st year and attended by more than 700 of the world’s top television buyers, the four day event will feature a host of award-winning writers, producers and talent. Presenting at various premiere sessions will be Jimmy McGovern (Broken), Damon Beesley (White Gold), Mike Bartlett (Doctor Foster), Hossein Amini and Misha Glenny (McMafia), amongst many others.                 

6000 hours of television content will be available to view in 600 digitbooths, and a glitzy red carpet gala will celebrate British creativity in the television industry. Joanna Lumley and Jennifer Saunders will host the event as a nod to the extraordinary international success of Absolutely Fabulous, having sold to 240 markets around the world.                                                                                              

Paul Dempsey, President Global Markets, BBC Worldwide said: “Showcase offers the best of British television to the world’s TV buyers. This year, we look forward to welcoming 700 international delegates including more than ever from China and Africa. The range and quality of our programming makes for an outstanding slate, and we’re thrilled to host some of the industry’s top producers, writers and on-screen talent.”

White Gold leads the comedy slate, an original six-part series starring Ed Westwick (Gossip Girl).

Westwick will be in Liverpool to launch the show alongside writer and director Damon Beesley (The Inbetweeners).

Presenting at the drama premiere will be BAFTA-winning writer Jimmy McGovern for his poignant new series, Broken, and acclaimed writer Mike Bartlett for the highly anticipated follow-up to Doctor Foster. Author Misha Glenny, co-creator Hossein Amini (Drive) and actress Juliet Rylance (Frances Ha) will help launch McMafia, a fast-paced thriller based on Glenny’s best-selling book, and Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss will be highlighting global hit Sherlock Series 4.

Take That frontman and songwriter Gary Barlow OBE, singer and talent show judge Dannii Minogue and presenter Mel Giedroyc (The Great British Bake Off) will present two brand new additions to BBC Worldwide’s format slate, Let it Shine and Let’s Sing & Dance.

Now in its 24th series, Top Gear leads the factual entertainment slate, and presenters Matt LeBlanc, Chris Harris and Rory Reid will feature on an exclusive Top Gear panel session.

The factual entertainment premiere will also feature stand-up comedian Joel Dommett (Runner up, I’m A Celeb… Get Me Out of Here) to talk about Tribal Bootcamp (previously known as Maasai Warrior), an original commission for BBC Worldwide.

Stacey Dooley (Blood, Sweat and T-Shirts) will present new title, Brainwashing Stacey at the documentary premiere, while the science premiere will feature Michael Mosley (Trust Me I’m a Doctor) for Meet The Humans, a bold new rig series, using stunts, pranks and stooges to explore and analyse the science and psychology behind human behaviour.

As the largest distributor of TV programming outside of the USA, BBC Worldwide Showcase sees the BBC’s commercial arm generate programme sales on behalf of the BBC and independent producers providing a major boost to British television exports.





For more information, please contact:

Kate Jones

Communications Officer, BBC Worldwide

Tel:      +44 (0)7734871995





•              BBC Worldwide sells programmes on behalf of the BBC and independent producers

•              BBC Worldwide is the biggest distributor of TV content outside of the US studios

•              BBC Worldwide Showcase is the world’s largest international TV market to be hosted by a single distributor

•              700 of the world’s biggest TV buyers attend BBC Worldwide Showcase which is in its 41st year

•              With 600 digi booths available at Showcase, buyers collectively screen over 3000 hours of content during the three days

•              There will be premier screenings at BBC Worldwide Showcase covering drama, natural history, music, comedy, science, history, documentaries, formats and factual entertainment