Tag Archive: Simon Cox

  1. Screentime New Zealand Solves Murder Mystery Drama with ZDF, Acorn TV and TVNZ

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    Media and entertainment powerhouse Banijay, today announces a new international co-production set in Queenstown, New Zealand – A Remarkable Place to Die. The 4 x 90’ murder mystery was created by Screentime New Zealand and is co-produced with Real Film Berlin in association with Banijay Rights.  It will air across Germany, the US, and New Zealand with commissioning broadcasters ZDF, Acorn TV, and TVNZ and will be distributed globally by Banijay Rights. The title will be showcased at Banijay @ BAFTA today (The London TV Screenings).

    Smart and savvy detective Anais Mallory (Chelsie Preston-Crayford) returns to her hometown, Queenstown, to be met with a series of startlingly different and intriguing homicides amidst the backdrop of past ghosts. Among them are her ex-fiancé Luke (Charles Jazz Terrier), now married to her ex-best friend (Indiana Evans), her brittle, volatile but loving mother (Rebecca Gibney), and a handsome pathologist, alongside a mixed, wildly eclectic, and ever-changing population of tourists and locals that makes challenging investigations even more of a test. However, it’s the secrets surrounding her father and sister’s deaths that truly draw her back, and, as she sets about unravelling these most personal of mysteries, she will set in motion an even more desperate cover up – one that will ultimately threaten the only family she has left…

    Philly de Lacey, CEO of Screentime New Zealand says: “Queenstown’s stunning landscape paired with its tapestry of unconventional characters, provide the perfect backdrop for this gripping murder mystery. Viewers will be drawn into the world of Detective Anais Mallory as she uncovers intriguing secrets, and we’ve elevated the show for international audiences by collaborating with Real Film Berlin and Banijay Rights.”

    Simon Cox, EVP Content & Acquisitions, Banijay Rights, said: “With the global appetite for broad audience and crime drama growing, we see potential for this series, which will charm audiences with vibrant characters and mysterious crimes, all underpinned by a gripping detective, a breathtakingly scenic setting and whole host of intrigue and suspense.”

    Nevak Rogers, Director of Content, at TVNZ, said: “TVNZ is thrilled to showcase yet another epic murder mystery shot on the ground here in Aotearoa, with such a star-studded cast against the spectacular backdrop of the gorgeous South Island.”

    A Remarkable Place to Die builds on Screentime New Zealand’s international scripted expertise. The series was created by Philly de Lacey with writer John Banas. Directors are Peter Burger, Josh Frizzell, Caroline Bell-Booth, and Charlie Haskell. Philly de Lacey, Henning Kamm, and Sibylle Stellbrink serve as Executive Producers.

    Recent international series from Screentime New Zealand include The Gulf, a co-production between Screentime New Zealand, Lippy Pictures and Letterbox Filmproduktion for TV3 and ZDF,and Straight Forward, a co-production between Screentime New Zealand, Yellow Bird Mastiff, and TVNZ and Viaplay.

    Real Film Berlin is well-known for its quality, artistic productions which consistently deliver impressive ratings. The company stands as a trusted partner for exceptional talent, broadcasters, and streamers. Its notable works include the cinema adaptation of the ARD cult series Berlin, Berlin, and the Netflix miniseries Unorthodox, which garnered global acclaim, with nominations for eight Emmys and two Golden Globes, among other accolades.

  2. Casting Announced for Channael 5’s Rags to Riches Drama ‘The Hardacres’

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    Casting has been announced for The Hardacres, a major new 6 x 60’ period drama for Channel 5 from Playground, the award-winning production company behind the internationally acclaimed hit series All Creatures Great and Small. Currently filming on location in Dublin and Wicklow, Ireland, the new series is based on CL Skelton’s best-selling series of novels ‘The Hardacre Saga’.  The novels are the number 1 bestseller in the Amazon Family Saga Kindle charts in the UK, US and Australia and Top 15 Bestseller across all Amazon Kindle titles in the US and UK. Global partners Banijay Rights will handle international distribution for the series.

    The Hardacres is a sweeping rags to riches story that  follows the lives, loves and fortunes of the working class Hardacre family as they move from a grimy fish dock to a vast country estate in 1890’s Yorkshire.

    A bold, gutsy ensemble family drama full of heart, The Hardacres places an ordinary family in an extraordinary position and explores the age-old question – can money ever buy true happiness?

    The Hardacre family consists of Claire Cooper (The Continental, The Peripheral) and Liam McMahon (Hunger, The Secret, Warrior Nun) as loving married couple Mary and Sam Hardacre, who land on hard times following an accident at work on the docks, which leaves them unemployed and broke. Alongside, Julie Graham (Time, Ridley, Penance), starring as Mary’s  wily mother, Ma, and their three kids, Joe, Liza, and Harry, played by Adam Little (Ackley Bridge, Coronation Street), newcomer Shannon Lavelle and Zak Ford-Williams (Better), the family band together to think fast with a business venture that will free them from their humble existence on the North Yorkshire Coast and catapult them into high society.

    Also joining the series are Holly Sturton (The School for Good and Evil) as Adella, Cathy Belton (Miss Scarlet & The Duke,The Catch, Philomena) as Emma and Owen Roe (Michael Collins, Vikings, Penny Dreadful) as George, making up the well to do Fitzherbert Family and new neighbours of The Hardacres. Ingrid Craigie (Blood, Blackshore, You Are Not My Mother) is housekeeper Mrs Dryden,with Siobhan O’Kelly (The Tourist S2) as Lena and Taheen Modak (The Bay) as Saunders.

    The Hardacres has been created for television by Amy Roberts and Loren McLaughlan (The Winter King, Call the Midwife) who will serve as Lead Writers and Executive Producers. They are joined by Emma Reeves (The Worst Witch) who will write episode 3, and Liz Lake (Waterloo Road) who will write episode 4. Rachel Carey (Deadly Cuts) is Lead Director of Episodes 1-3. And Kieron J Walsh will direct Episodes 4-6.

    The series is produced by Playground (All Creatures Great and Small, Wolf Hall, Howards End, The Undeclared War) in association with Screen Ireland, Red Berry Productions and Newgrange Pictures.

    The series, commissioned by Deputy Chief Content Officer, Paramount UK, Sebastian Cardwell, alongside Paul Testar, Commissioning Editor, Drama, Channel 5 and Paramount+, will be produced by Alex Jones (Witness Number 3, Penance) and co-produced by Jackie Larkin (Strike, Mrs Wilson); Executive Producers are Sir Colin Callender CBE (All Creatures Great and Small, The Undeclared War) and David Stern (Howards End, The Last Tycoon) for Playground, Lesley McKimm (My Name is Emily, Sunlight) for Red Berry Productions, Cathy Payne and Simon Cox for Banijay Rights and Andrew Byrne for Screen Ireland.

    The Hardacres is planned for transmission in 2024.

    David Stern, Executive Producer and Joint Managing Director of Playground says: “We’re incredibly excited to have found a cast that embodies and enhances the spirit, humour and humanity that leaps off the page in both the original novels and the brilliant scripts by Amy, Loren, Liz and Emma. Audiences will undoubtedly fall in love with our fantastic group of actors, made up of both seasoned talent and exciting new faces, as they bring this spirited and sweeping rags to riches saga to life on screen.”

    Simon Cox, Executive Producer and EVP Content & Acquisitions, Banijay Rights, says: “We fell in love with the world of The Hardacres from the first read of the scripts and we’re delighted with the ensemble cast that Playground has assembled. We’re in no doubt international audiences will enjoy embarking on the journey with this talented family of actors.”

  3. Banijay Unveils Compelling Documentary Line-Up for MIPCOM 2023

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    Media and entertainment powerhouse Banijay today reveals its formidable line-up of premium documentaries for MIPCOM 2023. Showcasing the best new titles from its in-house collective of filmmakers and acquisitions from Banijay Rights, the slate reflects its growing commitment to this field and burgeoning portfolio of leading titles.

    The diverse new offering includes Banijay’s Four Kings (w/t) and Moulin Rouge: Yes We Can Can; as well as third-party Banijay Rights-distributed titles, The Other Mrs Jordan, Sharon and Ozzy: Home to Roost, Eva Longoria: Searching for Mexico, Stanley Tucci: Searching for Italy, and The Rise and Fall of Boris Johnson.

    James Townley, Chief Content Officer, Development at Banijay comments: “Accompanying an expansive development slate, these latest hot picks represent our rapidly expanding documentary portfolio, which is brimming with new, high-end programming, showcasing world-class talent and offering broadcasters and viewers an insightful, visual journey into some extraordinarily thought-provoking and fascinating subjects.”

    Simon Cox, EVP Content & Acquisitions at Banijay Rights says: “This year’s slate is packed with engaging and eye-opening content, from unbelievable true crime to stimulating takes on food through its importance in global cultures to insights in globally recognised individuals. This selection of new titles along with the rest of the expansive slate continues to elevate our premium factual offering.”

    During one week in 1993, half a billion people tuned into the biggest week in the history of British boxing.Four Kings (w/t), from Workerbee, part of Banijay UK, for Amazon Prime Video, is the story of four men from the same London neighbourhood who heralded a golden era and changed the way Britain viewed its black athletes. 30 years on, the documentary series will revisit the notorious rivalries of Chris Eubank and Nigel Benn; and Lennox Lewis and Frank Bruno, combining archive footage of the clashes, and newly-captured exclusive interviews that reveal their tough struggles with mental health issues outside the limelight. The series is Executive Produced by Kevin Macdonald (Whitney, Janet, Bruno V Tyson).

    Moulin Rouge: Yes We Can Can is a Dragonfly (a Banijay UK company) production for BBC Two and explores one of the most iconic cabarets in the world, and while synonymous with Paris, is actually run by a Brit… This six-part arts documentary follows artistic director Janet Pharaoh as she recruits a new cohort of dancers from Britain, all desperate to be cast in the Moulin Rouge’s high-kicking spectacular shows. Viewers are given a sneak-peek behind the scenes of the specular world-famous home of cabaret, to tell the story of the 450 staff members and creatives who meticulously ensure each night runs smoothly.

    Banijay Rights internationally distributes third-party title The Other Mrs Jordan, a unique three-part documentary boxset for ITVX that explores the cat-and-mouse tale of a serial bigamist, fraudster, father, and psychopath who left a trail of destroyed lives all over the world. The title is produced by Circle Circle Films and October Films.

    Famous family The Osbornes are used to cameras following their every move, but in Sharon and Ozzy: Home to Roost, we will see a different side to notorious heavy metal singer, Ozzy, and television personality and music manager, Sharon Osborne, as they return to Britain after over 20 years living in the US. This series documents their move home, as well as their children Kelly and Jack’s efforts to support them as they restart their lives in rural Buckinghamshire. The series is produced by Expectation for BBC One and BBC iPlayer, with Banijay Rights holding global distribution rights.

    Eva Longoria: Searching for Mexico, and Stanley Tucci: Searching for Italy, are CNN Original series produced by Raw TV, following the award-winning actors as they explore the rich culture, landscape, and cuisine of their ancestors. Banijay Rights handles global distribution for these globe-trotting travelogues outside the US.

    The Rise and Fall of Boris Johnson chronicles the events that shaped British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, his meteoric rise to power, and his extraordinary premiership. Hearing from his friends, enemies, and through rare archive footage, the 72 Films production for Channel 4 will give insight into his actions, his ambition, and the real events that have influenced modern British politics.

    Banijay is supercharging its documentary offering by bringing together the best in-house Banijay productions from across the footprint, with premium third-party titles, all available to broadcasters and platforms around the world. The diverse catalogue includes titles like Lara from BAFTA and Emmy Award-winning director, Mags Gavan, and produced by Scenery, part of Banijay Benelux; and That Peter Crouch Film from Workerbee for Amazon Prime Video, an in-depth look at one of modern football’s most unique and beloved stars.

  4. Banijay Rights Boards 72 Films’ Boris

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    Banijay Rights today announces it has acquired global distribution rights to Boris (working title), a new 72 Films documentary series that chronicles the rise and fall of former British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

    Produced by 72 Films (The Trump Show, Crime & Punishment) for Channel 4 in the UK, Boris is the definitive documentary series that reveals the events that shaped Alexander Boris De Pfeffel Johnson, his meteoric rise to power and his extraordinary premiership.

    Through a combination of rare archive footage and with access to those with intimate knowledge of Johnson over the years, the 4 x 60’ series will hear from both his friends and enemies to reveal his true persona. The films will give greater insight into his actions, his ambition and the real events that have shaped modern British politics.

    Executive produced by 72 Films’ David Glover, the series divulges how the seeds of political rivalries still being felt in British politics all began in the corridors at Eton, where Johnson beat David Cameron to the prestigious role of School Captain, and how he sharpened his skills whilst campaigning for Student President at Oxford. It also explores his rise and rise as a politician, becoming mayor of London and finally achieving his dream job: Prime Minister of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

    Banijay Rights will represent Boris globally.

    Simon Cox, EVP Content & Acquisitions, Banijay Rights, said: “Boris gives a deep insight into one of the UK’s most mystifying and controversial political leaders, revealing how early life events shaped Boris Johnson’s character right up to his tenure as the country’s most powerful man. We’re in no doubt 72 Films’ extraordinary series will be an eye opening account for international buyers.”

    Mark Raphael, Co-Founder and Co-CEO, 72 Films, said: “If there’s one single person whose life depicts the recent history of Britain – it’s Boris Johnson. He led the Brexit campaign, was both prime minister and in intensive care during Covid, and is connected to both Russia and Ukraine. This documentary series tells the life story of one of the world’s most compelling characters.”

    Boris joins Banijay Right’s growing slate of documentary series ahead of Banijay’s London TV Screeningsevent at BAFTA on 1st March.

  5. Banijay Rights and Scenery Join Forces on Lara vs. Escobar

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    Banijay Rights today announces a partnership with Banijay Benelux joint venture Scenery on Lara vs. Escobar, a brand-new premium feature documentary that recounts the extraordinary reconciliation story behind Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar’s most famous assassination.

    From BAFTA and Emmy Award-winning director Mags Gavan, Lara vs. Escobar delves into the investigation of the 1984 Escobar-backed murder of Colombia’s Minister of Justice Rodrigo Lara – seen through the eyes of the politician’s son, Jorge Lara.

    Upon learning of his father’s death, Jorge was initially out for revenge. But a twist of fate led him to reconcile with his father’s murderer’s son – Juan Pablo Escobar – and discover they had more in common than they thought: united through childhoods that were ruined by the dark worlds of narcotics.

    Told in a double narrative weaving between past and present, this premium film combines a story of compassion and hope between the two men’s sons as they strive to change the legacies they were dealt as children, while following Jorge’s mission to close the case of his father’s assassination.

    Lara vs. Escobar is produced by Scenery, a joint venture with Banijay Benelux, and is distributed globally by Banijay Rights. The feature will be presented to buyers at MIPCOM in Cannes next week.

    Simon Cox, EVP Content Acquisitions, Banijay Rights, said: Our expansion into the premium feature documentary space is led by this extraordinary modern-day story as told by Scenery and amazing director Mags Gavan – and with no hesitation we decided to take this gripping project to market. Escobar vs. Lara is a reconciliation tale like no other, bringing two of the unlikeliest of friends together to find common ground, with a plot as powerful of some of the world’s best dramas. We’re excited to present this project to our potential partners at MIPCOM next week.”

     Mags Gavan, Director, Lara vs. Escobar, said: “This film was a passion project which I knew I had to make. I dedicated over a decade to getting access to this important story. I started the most inspiring journey which also took me through the worst tragedy whilst developing this film. It’s going to take the audience on the same emotional rollercoaster but hopefully leave them in better, more hopeful place”.

    Lea Fels, Partner at Scenery, said: “The combination of this special project, the collaboration with Mags Gavan and this unique story that we want to bring to a worldwide audience, fits seamlessly with Scenery’s portfolio. We are therefore very proud that Mags entrusted us to start this project with her.”

    Lara vs. Escobar comes on the heels of Scenery and Banijay UK-owned Workerbee’s six-part Netflix docu-series, Human Playground, which launched in 193 territories last month. Narrated by Idris Elba, the high-end docu-series focuses on the origin and evolution of exceptional sports around the world.

    At MIPCOM, Banijay will unveil an impressive range of titles for its autumn slate including format highlights Starstruck, Blow Up, Love Triangle, Le Plus Grand Karaoké de France and MasterChef: Young Talent and Banijay Rights-fronted premium scripted titles: Marie Antoinette, Rogue Heroes, Bali 2002, Serial Lover, and third-party dramas Stonehouse and Riches. These break-out autumn highlights complement the 130,000 hours of globally renowned, stand-out IP within Banijay’s expansive travelling catalogue.

     Visit us at C.20 in front of the steps of the Palais des Festivals.

  6. Banijay Rights Reunites with Stonehouse and The Dig team for Runners

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    Banijay Rights today announces its partnership on Runners, a new returning drama series about the world’s first police force from the team behind Stonehouse and The Dig.

    Writer John Preston and Executive Producer Ellie Wood of Clearwood Films are once again joining forces for the multi-part drama that chronicles the creation of The Bow Street Runners at one of the most pivotal points in British history, with Banijay Rights on board to distribute globally.

    In the late 1740s, London was the most rapidly expanding city in Europe and engulfed by a colossal crime wave. With the city sliding ever closer to anarchy, author Henry Fielding, then Chief Magistrate of London, did something no one had previously dared to do before: he founded the world’s first-ever police force, The Bow Street Runners.

    This extraordinary story will tell of how a group of just six police officers, none with any training or experience, set about imposing law and order on a completely lawless society and embarked on solving one of the strangest cases of its time – one with momentous political and social ramifications.

    John Preston, Writer and Executive Producer, said: “The founding of the first ever police force is one of the most astonishing stories I have ever come across. The idea that a band of six people could take on the might of London’s underworld is so rich and dramatic that it often beggars belief. But it just goes to show that history is often made by people doing extraordinary things in the face of what appear to be insurmountable odds.”


    Ellie Wood, Executive Producer, said: “It is thrilling to be working with John Preston again on this phenomenal real-life story. This show is deeply researched, packed full of character, humour and written in John’s inimitable tone. The fact that the philandering novelist who wrote Tom Jones also created the world’s first police force is just one of many surprises in this fascinating drama.”

    Simon Cox, EVP Content & Acquisitions at Banijay Rights, said:
    “Runners is lined up to be a terrific tale – set at the moment where organised law and order were introduced to Britain for the very first time, a juxtaposition of cultural change that would set the country to a new order for centuries to come. To work again with John and Ellie on a project of this stature is exciting and we’re in no doubt the story of The Bow Street Runners’ early years will be a gripping one for global audiences to enjoy.”


    This is the third collaboration between Preston and Wood. Wood produced Preston’s novel, The Dig, which was adapted into a major feature film in 2021 for Netflix. Starring Ralph Fiennes and Carey Mulligan, it received multiple BAFTA nominations. Wood has also produced Preston’s forthcoming screenwriting debut, the ITV/BritBox International TV drama Stonehouse, which tells the remarkable story of the disgraced Labour politician and stars Matthew Macfayden as Stonehouse and Keeley Hawes as Stonehouse’s wife Barbara. Banijay Rights handles global distribution for the series.

    Preston, former Arts Editor for the Sunday Telegraph and London Evening Standard, is author of a number of acclaimed books. A Very English Scandal, the story of the political scandal involving Jeremy Thorpe, was adapted into the BAFTA award-winning TV drama in 2018, starring Hugh Grant and Ben Wishaw and directed by Stephen Frears. His latest work, Fall: The Mystery of Robert Maxwell, won the 2021 Costa Prize for best biography of the year.

    Wood previously worked on a number of award-winning dramas at the BBC, including Bleak House and The Line of Beauty, and later as executive producer at Clerkenwell Films and Tiger Aspect Productions. In 2019, she signed a first look development deal with Banijay Rights, the global distribution arm of Banijay.

  7. Banijay Rights Courts Romeo & Duet

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    Banijay Rights today announces it has acquired global distribution rights to singing dating show format Romeo & Duet – ahead of its UK premiere at 7pm (GMT) on ITV and ITV Hub this Saturday, 16th April.

    Created and produced by Goat Films, Romeo & Duet gives its contestants just one ‘sing’ to entice a singleton down from the balcony, and only then will the two come face-to-face for the first time.

    The newly formed couple will then head off on a duet-date to learn a duet, before returning later in the show to perform the song in the ultimate romantic love battle; a singing competition against the other couples to be crowned the winners.

    Launching on ITV and ITV Hub this week, the primetime show is presented by Oti Mabuse (The Masked Dancer, Dancing on Ice). Banijay Rights holds international distribution rights to the series – for both format and tape sales.

    Simon Cox, EVP Acquisitions, Banijay Rights, said: “Romeo & Duet is a heart-warming extravaganza that fuses dating and music in a way that hasn’t been seen before on the small screen. Mel Crawford and the team at Goat Films have delivered an amazing spectacle and Banijay Rights is looking forward to taking this show to a whole new viewership worldwide.”

     Mel Crawford, Founder of Goat Films, added: “I’m delighted to be working in partnership with Banijay on the worldwide rollout of this wonderful, joyous format.  Since our first conversations about Romeo & Duet, Banijay have been great champions of the show and I know they will help us make this a global hit. Here at Goat, we are incredibly proud of what we’ve delivered to ITV and can’t wait for UK audiences to see it on screen for the first time on 16th April.”

     Romeo & Duet is Executive Produced by Mel Crawford with Series Editor Christian Fletcher. Romeo & Duet was developed from an original idea created by Ivor and David Baddiel. It was commissioned by ITV’s Joe Mace, Commissioning Editor Entertainment, and Katie Rawcliffe, Head of Entertainment Commissioning.

  8. Banijay Rights Assembles Landmark China Deal For LEGO® Masters

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    Banijay Rights today announces a new adaptation for competition reality format LEGO Masters, with China the latest country onboard.


    Chinese production company Long Qing Media has been commissioned to produce a first run of the show for Shenzhen TV, in a deal brokered by Huo Yuan Media (The Content Connected).


    Production is currently underway for the hit entertainment format, which sees pairs compete against each other to wow judges with awesome inspiring designs and brick builds.


    LEGO Masters is a firm hit globally, with this commission following recent orders from TVNZ 2 in New Zealand, Atresmedia in Spain and TV 2 in Norway.


    Successful productions broadcasting so far this year include the US, which is currently on air, and proving a major success for FOX as the #1 show among younger viewers (P18-34) and teens, and its second-most streamed entertainment series. The series three finale of LEGO Masters Australia in April dominated the ratings, broadcasting as the number one show of the day in all key demos. The format also had a spectacular debut run in Denmark in April, pulling in a 50.6% share for 15–34-year-olds across the season.


    Originally created by Tuesday’s Child Television and the LEGO Group, Banijay globally distributes the format and finished tape for the show.


    Simon Cox, SVP Acquisitions, Banijay Rights, said: Taking proven hit LEGO Masters to a market like China marks a milestone moment for this incredibly warm, creative and joyful competition show that continues to build global momentum. We know this program will resonate strongly with a Chinese audience and we’re incredibly excited to work with our partners Shenzhen TV, Long Qing Media, Huo Yuan Media and the LEGO Group to make this happen.”


    Tony Zhang, Executive Producer, Vice President, Long Qing Media, said: We are thrilled to produce this show. The LEGO Brand has a huge fan base in the Chinese market and all our teams are big LEGO fans. We want to bring this creativity, enthusiasm, and positive spirit experiences together to audiences.”


    William Tan, Senior Adviser, Huo Yuan Media (The Content Connected), added: “Our goal is to further bridge content between the Chinese and global markets. We found LEGO Masters, a global hit with all the right touch points to succeed in China.  Connecting the right content with the right partner in China is what we do best.”


    Jill Wilfert, Head of Global Entertainment, The LEGO Group, added:We are thrilled to be bringing LEGO Masters to China, along with our partners at Banijay Rights. We hope that families and fans in China will be inspired by the unlimited creativity and endless possibilities of the LEGO brick.”

    LEGO Masters has now been adapted for 15 international broadcasters across Europe, the US, Australia and Asia, with the reinvention of the iconic toy into a reality competition series providing upbeat, inclusive viewing.