BBC's TV distribution event kicks off in Brighton

MUMBAI: TV stars from some of BBC Worldwide's top-selling series are out in force in Brighton to support this year's BBC Showcase, the world's largest trade event hosted by a single television distributor.

The BBC Worldwide event sees a week of international premieres as over 550 buyers from TV networks in 100 countries jet into the UK to buy the best of British programmes.

Joining them are the stars from series like Mistresses, Ashes to Ashes, Oliver Twist and Cranford who will attend special gala events held to help launch key BBC Worldwide titles.

Already on the guest list are actors Sarah Parish, Shelley Conn, Sharon Small, Orla Brady, Patrick Baladi, Raza Jaffrey, Max Brown and Adam Rayner from contemporary BBC drama series Mistresses – they will be helping to kick off the four-day TV industry event at a special opening dinner held in the programme’s honour.

Primeval's James Murray will also attend, following the series' huge international sales success.

In addition, Imelda Staunton and Timothy Spall will also be there, representing the BBC's success in period drama for Cranford and Oliver Twist, respectively.

BBC Worldwide is the UK's largest television exporter, generating £216 million from programme sales last year. Over 1,000 hours of new British programming are available to view at BBC Showcase 2008. The average buyer sits at their viewing booth for 10 hours a day, for four days, to preview as much British programming as possible. Over 100 producers and scriptwriters descend on Brighton to help BBC Worldwide pitch to TV networks from across the globe

Over 550 buyers will attend the annual event, where they will view around 1,000 hours of the latest, leading television output from Britain.

Daily screening sessions are held across all genres, as sales teams and leading producers pitch directly to network buyers from around the world. Buyers will be presented with co-production propositions, formats and finished programming.

Set in a world where friends have become the new family, Mistresses follows the lives and loves of a group of 30-something girlfriends who met at university. But their lives have taken very different turns.

Cranford stars Oscar-winner Judi Dench and follows the small absurdities and major tragedies in the lives of the people of Cranford, as they are besieged by forces that they cannot withstand.

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