7 September 2015
Marco Pierre White to judge the cooking skills of celebrities including Alex James and Keith Duffy in competitive new show set at sea
Award-winning television network UKTV has commissioned its first advertiser-funded programme (AFP) for Watch, a highly-competitive new travelling cookery show, Battlechefs.
The broadcaster is teaming up with P&O Cruises to bring the show to its flagship entertainment channel, following a series of successful branded-content partnerships for its other channels including Dave, Yesterday and Good Food.
The commission, being produced by Spark Media Partners, will see ten amateur celebrity chefs including Alex James (Blur), Keith Duffy (Boyzone) and John Partridge (EastEnders) board a cruise ship and take it in turns to command the kitchen. Their talents will be judged by British celebrity chef and restaurateur Marco Pierre White.
Filmed across two separate Mediterranean cruises on newly-launched flagship Britannia, each voyage will be host to its own self-contained competition featuring five celebrities, who will each assume the role as Head Chef and prepare a meal for the Captain and his VIP guests. In each episode, we follow the untrained chefs as the ship sails from port to port and they discover charming and captivating stories about each location and the food that is grown and produced locally.
Using the cooking techniques they've learnt, they'll each try to impress the Captain with their skills. Their competitors will help prepare the meal, but as they also get a chance to score each other, will they play tactically as they fight it out to become Battlechefs Champion?
The new series was ordered by Dave General Manager, Steve North. In partnership with P&O Cruises, the show was brokered by UKTV's Director of Commercial Partnerships, Sally Quick, Spark Media Partner founders Mark Baker and Steve Havers and P&O Cruises Marketing Director, Christopher Edgington.
UKTV Commissioning Editor Victoria Summer commented,
Travel, food and competition come together in Battlechefs. It's an energetic show which centres on challenge and good-hearted rivalry, so sits perfectly alongside Watch viewer favourites such as the hugely popular Masterchef Australia. Seeing whether our celebs can pull off the menus they're given against the clock is going to be very entertaining.
UKTV's Sally Quick added,
We're very excited to be announcing our first advertiser-funded programme for Watch. We work within the commissioning team to keep the brands really close to the action of making brilliant, must-watch TV. We are delighted to be working with P&O Cruises and Spark Media on this project, they both really understand how to make great content.
Spark Media's Mark Baker said,
Battlechefs is part travelogue and part game show. It's a TV hybrid that features celebs who are passionate about food. They'll be on Britain's biggest cruise liner as it tours the Med in the world's first floating cookery competition.
Edgington from P&O Cruises said,
We are very excited to be making Battlechefs on Britannia. Watch provides an ideal audience to encourage newcomers to cruising and will showcase our food ethos. Our cookery school on board provides the perfect set for the show as the celebrities prepare the speciality dishes from around the Med.
Battlechefs will air on Watch in 2016. It joins a raft of new content coming to the channel including Singing in the Rainforest, starring well-known celebrities including Myleene Klass and the Happy Mondays, Nigel Marvin's Cruise Ship Adventures, which travels to some of the world's most exotic locations discovering incredible wildlife and top rating US acquisition Secrets and Lies.
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Watch is an entertainment channel that promises to surprise with out-of-the-ordinary programming. Premiering hit fantasy and science-fiction dramas such as The Strain, Grimm and Beauty and the Beast, it also showcases a selection of distinctive series like Doctor Who, David Attenborough's Natural Curiosities and Masterchef Australia. Watch is the exclusive home of Dynamo: Magician Impossible, an award winning original commission from UKTV.
UKTV is the multi-award winning media company that reaches 42 million viewers a month.
UKTV's eleven imaginative brands - UKTV Play, Dave, Watch, Gold, Alibi, Yesterday, Drama, Really, Home, Eden and Good Food - include the most popular non-PSB channel in the UK and account for 9% of the British commercial TV market. The company's most recent financial results showed record-breaking year-end revenue of £283m and EBITDA of £74.1m. It invested £123m in programming and related launches last year, and is becoming an increasingly significant investor in UK creativity.
UKTV has a truly innovative model, curating brand-defining commissions, high-profile acquisitions and the very best of BBC, alongside programmes originally shown on ITV and Channel 4. The network embraces technology to deliver inspired channels to audiences through Freeview, Sky, Virgin Media, BT, TalkTalk, YouView and UKTV Play, and distributes its highly valued original programmes to 200 territories. Now celebrating its 22nd year at the forefront of digital television, UKTV - an independent commercial joint venture between BBC Worldwide and Scripps Networks Interactive, Inc. (SNI) - is proud to be the only British television broadcaster to be recognised by Best Companies.