UKTV, BBC and FremantleMedia International commission new adventure travel series with Steve Backshall

Steve Backshall

Credit: Martin Hartley

Tuesday 15th May 2018

UKTV has partnered with the BBC and FremantleMedia International on a groundbreaking collaboration for an ambitious, prime-time adventure series filled with world firsts. These include: the first descent of a white-water river in the Himalayas; trekking through unexplored jungle in South America; and climbing mountains in the deserts of the Middle East. Expedition with Steve Backshall will follow Steve, his team of world-class experts and his film crew, as they venture into uncharted territory.

Steve Backshall said:

If you think our planet was explored long ago, think again. There are still dark and forgotten corners of our world with hidden secrets and we plan to reveal them.


Steve Backshall

Credit: Steve Backshall

Steve is accompanied by a world class film crew who will document the journey and feature on camera throughout the series. The filming of the expedition is as much a part of the story as the exploration of each out-of-this-world location. To be successful, Steve and his adventurist experts - including divers, kayakers and mountaineers - will have to rely on each other and the power of extraordinary teamwork.

Made by True to Nature, the first four, hour-long episodes will premiere on BBC TWO in 2019. Dave will premiere six exclusive episodes later in the year followed by its own versions of the BBC's episodes. FremantleMedia International has secured global distribution rights.

Richard Watsham, UKTV's Director of Commissioning, said:

This is a truly innovative commissioning model that forges an exciting new partnership between two of Britain's leading free to air broadcasters. The fact that both the BBC and Fremantle want to invest in Expedition is a testament to the spectacular scale of this project. Our strategy to raise UKTV Originals to new heights is gathering pace. Steve Backshall has a huge fan base amongst Dave viewers of all ages and I can't wait to see how the incredible trust and companionship of Steve's expert team combine to achieve a number of newsworthy world firsts.

Tom McDonald, BBC Head of Commissioning, Specialist Factual and Natural History, said:

Steve's last two expeditions for BBC TWO were adrenalised, immersive and wowed the audience so we're delighted to be working with UKTV and True to Nature to premiere his next adventures. Steve is unique, brave and adventurous. But also hugely inquisitive, insightful and knowledgeable - the perfect mix for contemporary Specialist Factual at the BBC.

Angela Neillis, Director of Non-Scripted for FremantleMedia International said:

We're delighted to partner with the world-class team at True to Nature, the adventure daredevil Steve Backshall, UKTV and BBC for Expedition. Steve will take global audiences on an epic journey of wonder and awe, and we're looking forward to working with broadcasters internationally to build Expedition into a global brand. We're always on the lookout to partner with producers that can bring us the best in factual programming and jaw-dropping television experiences. Wendy and her team deliver just that."

Wendy Darke, CEO, True to Nature added:

I couldn't wish to be working alongside a more talented, experienced and dedicated team of creatives in production, broadcast and distribution, to realise the ambition for our world first premium factual global series. Steve Backshall is a skilled naturalist and explorer who will take viewers on a fascinating journey to reveal the natural mysteries and treasures of our planet.

Updates from the expedition will be shared on twitter @davechannel, @BBC Earth and @stevebackshall via #Expedition and on Instagram @Backshall.Steve.



For more information please contact:
UKTV - Ben Duncan, Publicist
UKTV - Kerry Goode, Head of Network Communications
FremantleMedia - Jumana Rizwan, Head of Global PR
BBC - Sheryl Holland, Communications Manager
True To Nature - Wendy Darke

UKTV is a commercial broadcaster reaching over 40m viewers every month. 

The award-winning independent has eleven imaginative brands - UKTV Play, Dave, W, Gold, Alibi, Yesterday, Drama, Really, Home, Eden and Good Food. These include the two most popular non-PSB channels in the UK and account for nearly 10% of the British commercial TV market. 

The network delivers inspired channels to audiences through Freeview, Sky, Virgin Media, BT, TalkTalk, YouView, Freesat, Amazon Fire and UKTV Play, and distributes its highly valued original programmes to 200 territories. Now celebrating over 20 years at the forefront of digital television, UKTV - an independent commercial joint venture between BBC Studios and Discovery, Inc. - is proud to be the first British television broadcaster in The Sunday Times top 100 companies list. | | @uktvpress

BBC Two is a mixed-genre channel with programmes of depth and substance. It includes the greatest amount and range of knowledge-building programming on the BBC, complemented by distinctive comedy, drama and arts programming.

The BBC's Specialist Factual and Natural History output covers science, religion, history, business and natural history. Our ambition is to ensure that we're working in the full range of forms in each of these genres from blue chip to presenter lead, documentary to magazine show, format to live or as live event. We're committed to the reputational and to the popular - and want our content to satisfy every section of the BBC audience - from the learned to the curious novice. | @bbcpress | @bbcfactualPR

FremantleMedia creates, produces and distributes some of the best known and loved content in the world including: American Gods, The Young Pope, Deutschland 83, Got Talent (co-produced with Syco in the UK and the US), The X Factor (co-produced with Syco in the UK), Take Me Out, Family Feud, Match Game, Gute Zeiten Schlechte Zeiten, Wentworth, Neighbours, Grand Designs, Jamie Oliver and Munchies (with VICE Media). We have an outstanding global network with operations in 31 countries, producing over 11,000 hours of programming a year, rolling out more than 60 formats and airing more than 420 programmes a year worldwide. The company also distributes more than 20,000 hours of content in over 200 territories. We are part of RTL Group, a global leader across broadcast, content and digital, and a division of the international media company Bertelsmann. For more information, visit, follow us @FremantleMedia and visit our LinkedIn and Facebook pages.

TRUE TO NATURE is a Bristol-based Independent Production Company founded by Dr Wendy Darke, former Head of the BBC Natural History Unit. We specialise in innovative, world-class natural history and specialist factual content and TV production using great story telling to build lifelong relationships between people and the natural world. At TRUE TO NATURE we have a culture where talented people are valued, supported and trusted to collaborate and do their best work. We encourage, grow and develop high-performing teams to take creative risks, resulting in ground-breaking new formats and innovative production techniques. We pride ourselves on building longstanding relationships with our commissioners and stakeholders, to ensure that together we deliver outstanding never-seen content and stories with the highest factual integrity and production values for all audiences in the UK and worldwide. The natural world is at the heart of what we do, and we are passionate about being a voice for nature. Recent, commission announcements include: VOLCANO 24, a 1 x 60' specialist factual documentary based on an International co-production partnership between, True To Nature and ZDFE Enterprises, PBS, WNET Thirteen Nature, ZDF and ARTE.

TRUE TO NATURE Limited,C/o Films @59, 59 Cotham Hill, Bristol BS6 6JR, United Kingdom. Company based at Films @ 59 winners of the Broadcast Post Production Award 2018.