Broadcasting: BBC flops score global ratings

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The Independent Online
Nostromo and Rhodes may have flopped in the UK, but they have proved an overseas success and helped boost BBC international sales to a record, it was disclosed yesterday.

The expensive epics feature in the top-10 best-selling BBC TV programmes of the past year, even though they drew poor audiences at home.

BBC Worldwide announced 1996-97 sales of pounds 112.1m, a 20 per cent leap on last year's figures.

Boosting commercial income from overseas sales and forthcoming pay channels is the key to the BBC's strategy to increase its financial resources in the face of an inflation-linked licence fee. Last year the Director-General, John Birt, announced an aim to treble commercial income in the next decade, saying this was needed for the BBC to compete in an ever more crowded media market.

Topping the BBC bestseller list was People's Century, the highly acclaimed 26-part documentary of key 20th century events, as told by those who lived through them. Top 10 best-sellers 1: People's Century 2: Rhodes 3: Dancing in the Street 4: Pride And Prejudice 5: Silent Witness 6: Ruby Wax Meets... 7: Killing For A Living II 8: Dangerfield 9: Nostromo 10: Wallace and Gromit