Britain’s Bloodiest Dynasty: The Plantagenets is a forthcoming four-parter from Channel 5 which is being billed as “the real-life Game of Thrones”.
What’s more interesting about the show, hosted by historian Dan Jones, is that it is part-funded by advertisers and media agencies – the latest in a series of such deals cut by the broadcaster that Viacom recently acquired from Richard Desmond.
The documentary Never Teach Your Wife to Drive is another in-house commission funded by the same model, while the more established The Gadget Show is backed by Dixons Retail.
The approach, which helps to explain the 35 per cent revenue growth that Channel 5 has enjoyed in the past three years, is causing concern in television circles because it transforms the relationship between broadcasters and commercial clients.
Similarly, Sir Martin Sorrell’s Group M Entertainment is spending millions on television production.
Such investments might offend traditionalists but will help the BBC as it argues that its licence-fee funding model allows it to produce distinctive shows that are not dependent on commercial alliances.Reuse content