World flocks to buy top BBC shows

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The Independent Online

Sherlock, Call the Midwife and Upstairs Downstairs are winging their way to an international audience this weekend as the BBC opens the doors to its annual trade fair.

The corporation's commercial arm, BBC Worldwide, hopes to sell £50m-worth of its programmes in the next four days as a record 650 buyers from overseas broadcasters converge on Liverpool.

Its Showcase event will air 2,800 hours of documentaries, drama and comedy programmes made by the BBC and independent producers. More buyers have travelled from Asia this year and internet broadcasters such as Netflix and Hulu are attending for the first time.

Stars such as Emilia Fox, the lead in Silent Witness, and Hugh Bonneville, who plays Ian Fletcher in the comedy series Twenty Twelve, will appear.

BBC Worldwide, which also makes international versions of shows such as Strictly Come Dancing and has launched an overseas version of the catch-up iPlayer service, ploughs the profits from selling its programmes back into the BBC to add to its revenue from the licence fee.