Hits such as Luther and Sherlock boost UK television exports 10% in year

British small screen hits Luther and Sherlock have helped UK television exports rise by 10% in the last year.

The latest UK Television Exports Report from the Producers Alliance for Cinema and Television (Pact) has shown that sales to international markets in 2015/16 rose to £1,326 million, a 10% increase from £1,205 million in 2014/15.

Popular programmes for BBC Worldwide also include Happy Valley, Doctor Foster and War And Peace, which have all gained dedicated overseas audiences.

Sherlock (BBC/Hartswood Films/Todd Antony)

Growth in international TV sales has been boosted by the Chinese market, which is up 40% on 2014/15 and could rise further thanks to a co-production treaty between the UK and China which was signed in December 2016.

The US remains the UK’s largest export market, where sales increased by 16% in 2015/16 to £497 million, and Australia is the second largest market, with sales of £106 million.

Mark Garnier, a minister at the Department for International Trade (DIT) and author of the report’s foreword, said: “From The Night Manager to Downton Abbey, UK TV exports continue to go from strength to strength and UK programmes are some of the most recognisable and eagerly anticipated in the world.

Idris Elba (Yui Mok/PA)

“British innovation and creativity are considered among the greatest assets of the sector and this report shows that there is important future growth potential supported, in part, by funding from the Department for International Trade.

“From small creative digital and animation companies to major production houses, the UK leads the world in television production and I look forward to continuing to work with the sector to grow UK exports.”

However, political uncertainty was cited as a possible obstacle to growth going forward.

Pact chief executive John McVay said: “UK television content continues to be highly sought after around the world.

“The impressive level of year-on-year growth demonstrates that the sector is embracing the challenges of the global marketplace and is adept at exploiting new opportunities.

“However, with Brexit on the horizon continued support from the Government will be crucial if we are to ensure that UK companies can carry on punching above their weight on the world stage.”

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