BBC2 readies China-focused factual slate

The UK pubcaster has unveiled a raft of factual series about China slated to broadcast across BBC2 in 2016, including Rick Stein's Taste of Shanghai and The Story of China.
January 19, 2016

UK pubcaster BBC2 has unveiled a raft of factual series about China slated to broadcast across the channel in 2016, including Rick Stein’s Taste of Shanghai and The Story of China.

The tentatively titled Chinese New Year – 2016 The Biggest Celebration on Earth from the London-headquartered Lion Television is to mark China’s annual celebration that will be spread across 15 days as the nation welcomes The Year of the Monkey.

The 3 x 60-minute series will be hosted by TV presenters Kate Humble and Ant Anstead; The Hairy Bikers’ David Myers and Simon King; and actress Jing Lusi. The program is to venture to three separate locations, including Beijing, Hong Kong and the Harbin Ice Festival.

The docuseries was commissioned by Kim Shillinglaw - the BBC2 and BBC4 controller who revealed today that she is exiting the pubcaster after an exec restructure – and Donna Clark, acting head of commissioning, factual features and formats. Bill Locke serves as executive producer with Sarah Sarkhel series producing.

Maya Vision International’s The Story of China will chronicle historian Michael Wood as he travels across China to explore the superpower’s landscapes, people, stories and cultures from ancient past to present day. The 6 x 60-minute series was commissioned by Shillinglaw and Martin Davidson, head of commissioning for specialist factual. Rebecca Dobbs serves as producer.

Elsewhere, the BBC-made This World: Peston’s Great Chinese Slump (working title) will follow Robert Peston as he journeys across China to “investigate the effects of the economic slowdown.” The program will feature interviews with a prominent Chinese policy-maker, British Chancellor George Osborne, as well as bankers and economists in an attempt to evaluate what China’s slowdown means for the country and the global economy. Sam Bagnall serves as executive producer, with Jane McMullen serving as director-producer. The series was commissioned by Shillinglaw.

Finally, the Denham Productions-made Rick Stein’s Taste of Shanghai documents English celebrity chef Rick Stein as he investigates how a city that has doubled in size over the last 20 years feeds itself by dining with local families, back alley cooks and within dim sum dives and chic restaurants. Lindsay Bradbury serves as executive producer and commissioner.

About The Author
Daniele Alcinii is a news reporter at realscreen, the leading international publisher of non-fiction film and television industry news and content. He joins the rs team with journalism experience following a stint out west with Sun Media in Edmonton's Capital Region, and communications work in Melbourne, Australia and Toronto. You can follow him on Twitter at @danielealcinii.