Blue Ant Media has partnered with BBC Studios to launch BBC First in Canada beginning Tuesday, March 16, 2021.
Both broadcasters first launched the factual channel, BBC Earth, in Canada in January 2017. The new channel will replace the existing speciality channel, HIFI – which has been home to BBC Studios’ The Graham Norton Show in Canada.
This is welcome news for Canadian television fans as Corus Entertainment’s BBC Canada ceased broadcasting on December 31, 2020. BBC First joins BBC Studios’ BritBox streaming platform which launched in Canada in 2018.
BBC First was initially launched in Australia back in 2014 to offer comedy, crime, drama and film programming from the UK. The international roll-out of the brand in recent years include Hong Kong, the Netherlands, as well as select countries in Central and Eastern Europe.
“Canadians love British television, and Blue Ant Media’s expanded partnership with BBC Studios underpins our commitment to invest in high-quality, distinctive programs we know our audiences will enjoy,” said Blue Ant Media’s Jamie Schouela (President, Global Channels and Media).
“From drama to comedy, action and adventure to mysterious thrillers, BBC First will showcase a huge breadth of programs with a uniquely British perspective.
At launch in Canada, BBC First will include:
- Season 28 of the BAFTA Award-winning talk show The Graham Norton Show, which welcomes celebrities each week for late-night laughs and drinks
- Top Gear’s 30th season featuring presenters Andrew Flintoff, Paddy McGuinness, and Chris Harris who are in pursuit of hijinks and motoring mayhem
- Antiques Roadshow, which, in its 41st season, is the BBCs longest-running factual program where members of the public have their prized possessions appraised by top antique experts
- The Office – written by Stephen Merchant and Ricky Gervais and one of the most influential comedies of the 21st century
- The sixth season of Father Brown – about the crime-busting priest (Mark Williams) who solves murders in the idyllic English countryside
- Death in Paradise – the sixth season of the whodunit series following DI Neville Parker (Ralf Little) as he attempts to solve a slew of baffling murders in the sun-soaked Caribbean
- The first season of Shakespeare & Hathaway: Private Investigators, which is a comedic drama that follows an oddball couple of private detectives (EastEnders’ Jo Joyner and The Halycon’s Mark Benton)
- Films featured at launch include Captain Philips, Grown Ups, Moneyball, Step Brothers, Silence of the Lambs, Bad Boys, and The Revenant
BBC First’s launch in Canada will include a nationwide free preview that will run from March 16 until April 16.