BBC Knowledge

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Real New Zealand experiences including the story of the daughter of a Nazi war criminal, one man’s struggle to reignite his sex life, and the quintessential tale of a Kiwi bach will air on BBC Knowledge this year following five successful submissions by New Zealand’s young producers. 

The short-form documentaries are in production for the factual entertainment network following a joint initiative between BBC Knowledge and NZ’s Screen Production and Development Association (SPADA).

The films will have their television premieres on BBC Knowledge NZ later this year, with a screening in Australia to follow.

To celebrate its February 2011 launch, BBC Knowledge NZ sought five true stories that reflected the essence of the channel – intelligent, informative, innovative and sometimes irreverent.  New Zealand factual producers under the age of 30 were invited to submit concepts for five short-form grants of NZ$5,000 each.

Deirdre Brennan, Director of Television, BBC Worldwide Australia said “We are so proud to showcase the young creative talent that exists in New Zealand. The winning entries demonstrate a fantastic diversity of philosophy and viewpoint across the spectrum of factual entertainment and they’re all a brilliant fit for BBC Knowledge.”

SPADA Chief Executive Penelope Borland added: “It’s great to have this initiative come to fruition, resulting in a fantastic and rare opportunity for these short-form documentaries by these young filmmakers to be screened on BBC Knowledge both in New Zealand and Australia.”

David White, producer of one of the winning entries, Lex, commented “There are so many wonderful people in New Zealand that you never get to see, nor document, but with the help of BBC Knowledge we can bring a little more of New Zealand to the world.”


The full list of winners is as follows:


Amy O’Connor, Wellington

Strawberries with the Führer

Positive Pattern Films Ltd.

An 80 year old Canterbury woman breaks her silence about growing up in Nazi Germany and her father’s involvement in the notorious Waffen SS.


Simon Burgin, Wellington

Porn and Piety

The battle between ‘good’ and ‘evil’ is getting intensely personal for campaigners on either sides of New Zealand’s moral divide.


Claire Clements, Dunedin

A Bach Somewhere

The story of a New Zealand bach, told through the eyes of Don, a permanent bach dweller who’s the epitome of what it means to live in and love New Zealand.


Emma Conroy & Catie McDonald, Auckland

Getting It Up

Cameo Productions Limited

A personal journey following one man’s struggle to get his sex life back on track.


David White, Wellington


White Balance Pictures

A trebuchet, some cannons and a grizzly bear. A story about a Hawke’s Bay farmer who doesn’t care what the neighbours think. 

BBC Worldwide will re-launch New Zealand’s Documentary Channel as BBC Knowledge next year, in a major step forward in the development of its global branded channels business.

BBC Knowledge will join BBC Worldwide’s other channels on the SKY platform – BBC World News and UKTV – to create a bespoke factual content offering geared towards the needs of New Zealand audiences.

BBC Knowledge is an award-winning, entertaining factual destination that is already a successful channel in more than a dozen territories around the world. It has quality content presented by talented and passionate experts such as Louis Theroux, Paul Merton, Bruce Parry, Michael Palin and Ray Mears.

“Creating a tailored factual offering specifically for New Zealand tastes and preferences is at the very core of our content strategy.  BBC Knowledge will have local flavour and local relevance,” said Tony Iffland, BBC Worldwide Australia’s General Manager.

“We look forward to engaging with the local production sector to discuss content acquisition and other opportunities to bring New Zealand content to New Zealand audiences. With three channels now in the market, this is a brilliant opportunity to showcase the diversity and depth of our content.”

 “BBC Knowledge has so much in common with the Documentary Channel  – they are both the homes of challenging, trustworthy content that is as entertaining as it is informative,” said Richard Driver, owner of the Documentary Channel. 

“It’s been a difficult decision to decide to sell the channel that I’ve established and cultivated to its present level of success, but I know that BBC Worldwide will only build on its achievements and audiences.”

“New Zealanders have a strong appetite for quality documentary programming, which has already been demonstrated by the success of the Documentary Channel,” added Karen Bieleski, SKY Television’s Head of General Entertainment and Prime. “We are delighted to be working with BBC Worldwide to re-launch this expanded version of the channel, with even richer content and the solid backing of the BBC’s exceptional programming output.”

This deal demonstrates BBC Worldwide’s commitment to the New Zealand market, based on a strong New Zealand affinity to its content and its long-established presence as a provider of quality channels.

It will build on the success of UKTV, the country’s most popular general entertainment subscription channel, and of BBC World News, the destination of choice for thousands of New Zealanders looking for authoritative and up-to-the-minute global news coverage.

BBC Worldwide’s distribution business continues to work closely with New Zealand networks to provide access to award-winning content across all genres. Its other established businesses in New Zealand extend across digital, live events, magazines and DVD publishing.