OSN will be the exclusive home to BBC First in the Middle East and North Africa from February 1, 2016.
The new channel will replace the pan-regional BBC Entertainment channel with increased investment in content and key titles introduced with Arabic subtitles.
BBC First will show British premium drama, with two hours of award-winning primetime programming featuring Arabic subtitles.
The new channel will launch on February 1, 2016 with popular and critically acclaimed series such as Sherlock and Luther alongside the BBC’s epic new adaptation of War and Peace.
The gritty London soap operator EastEnders will be brought to OSN viewers soon after its UK broadcast. The channel will also be the first place to premiere the BBC’s biggest drama titles and express to Middle Eastern and North African audiences. BBC First will be available on channel number 215 on OSN.
Natasha Hussain, Vice President and General Manager for Middle East and Mediterranean at BBC Worldwide, said: “The BBC has a strong reputation for its outstanding drama programming. I’m delighted viewers in the Middle East and North Africa will soon be able to enjoy the most popular and critically acclaimed dramas coming out of the UK express from their original transmission.”
Emad Marcos, senior vice president – media partners and digital, OSN, said: “The addition of BBC First builds on our commitment to bring exclusive content for our subscribers and underlines the exceptional portfolio of programming that we offer to our subscribers in 2016. This is the first of several exciting new premium additions to OSN being announced in the first quarter of this year and reaffirms that we are the number one destination for premium content in the region. We work with outstanding channel partners to bring the very best content.”
Viewers can also enjoy popular content including EastEnders on OSN’s award-winning online viewing platform, OSN Play.
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Upcoming programming on BBC First includes:
• Sherlock Special, The Abominable Bride: What if the world's most famous consulting detective and his best friend lived in a Baker Street of steam trains, hansom cabs, top hats and frock-coats? Welcome to 'Sherlock' in 1895! Starring Benedict Cumberbatch (The Imitation Game) and Martin Freeman (The Hobbit), some things, remain reassuringly the same. Friendship, adventure and especially, MURDER...
• Luther: Golden Globe winning actor Idris Elba reprises his iconic role as DCI John Luther. Pitted against his most chilling adversary yet, haunted by the ghosts of his past and hell-bent on retribution, he’s drawn into a terrifyingly complex case that pushes him closer to the edge than he’s ever been.
• War and Peace: Adapted by leading screenwriter Andrew Davies (Pride and Prejudice) and produced by BBC Wales and The Weinstein Company, this is a modern take on one of the most famous and epic stories of all time. Encompassing huge themes of love and war, life and death, the series features a star-studded line-up including Paul Dano (12 Years A Slave), Lily James (Downton Abbey) and James Norton (Happy Valley). The series was filmed in Russia, Latvia and Lithuania.
• Doctor Who: Exploding with epic and thrilling adventures, the iconic Doctor Who returns starring Peter Capaldi as The Doctor and Jenna Coleman as Clara Oswald.
• Dickensian: A bold reinvention of Charles Dickens’ timeless novels where his most iconic characters live side by side in a bustling Victorian neighbourhood. An all-star cast lead brand new stories packed with romance, scandal and intrigue. Discover the events that led up to Miss Havisham’s wedding day, the truth behind the murder of Jacob Marley and the sacrifices made by a young lady deadlock.
• Doctor Foster: The thrilling drama that had over 10 million viewers in the UK hooked. This complex and stylish psychological drama comes from the producers of the internationally acclaimed The Honourable Woman and stars Suranne Jones (Scott and Bailey) as Doctor Gemma Foster. Doctor Foster is a talented and respected family doctor at the heart of her village – a woman people can trust and a loving mother. But Doctor Foster’s life is about to explode. Suspecting her husband Simon of having an affair, she’s determined to get to the truth – but how far is she prepared to go and what other betrayals might she uncover?
• BBC First is also home to popular long-running soap opera EastEnders, Casualty, Doctors and Holby City.