In a somewhat unexpected turn of events, the BBC announced today
that they have decided not to purchase the rights to the mini-series Farscape: The Peacekeeper Wars
, having aired all four seasons of the TV series, and given a significant number of episodes their world premiere.
UK digital broadcaster Sky
have purchased the rights to air the four-hour mini-series on their flagship channel Sky One
, available on digital satellite and cable. Sky purchased the rights in tandem with a UK terrestrial broadcaster (likely Channel 4, or possibly Five).
Sky One will give The Peacekeeper Wars
its UK premiere on Sunday, January 16 at 9pm
for Part One, with Part Two airing the following Sunday, January 23 at 9pm
With Sky One having exclusive rights for the non-terrestrial airing, it means that Sci Fi UK will not be showing the mini-series either (they have rerun rights for the TV series). Likewise, with another broadcaster bidding for the terrestrial rights (terrestrial stations are included with a TV license in the UK, and equivalent to the big six US networks), it means the BBC will also not be able to broadcast the series.
They apologised to fans in this message
on their website and have expressed their sadness over losing the show, since it had been fully expected that they would air the mini-series in next year. They decided not to purchase the show as the joint bid from Sky and the terrestrial broadcaster pushed the price too high for them to acquire it. They also reassured fans that they still have terrestrial rerun rights to Farscape themselves, and while none are scheduled that could change in the future.
While it's somewhat unexpected that Sky would pick up the mini-series, given its link to the TV series, they have recently announced plans to change their image and move from the trashy, sex-oriented shows they were known for to more high calibre drama, and have picked up "higher quality" shows such as Deadwood
(and other HBO drama series) and several mini-series including USA Network's the 4400
Sky One also has strong links with Sci Fi US, as they air the UK premiere of new episodes of flagship shows Stargate SG-1
and Stargate Atlantis
, as well as co-producing the new Battlestar Galactica
TV series with Sci Fi, and they are currently airing it as a world premiere. Given their shift in direction, which has included several mini-series being added to the Sunday 9pm slot, it's easy to see how The Peacekeeper Wars
fits into their schedule.
As for the terrestrial broadcaster, while it's not been announced as of yet, it's quite likely that it is Channel 4, as they like to air mini-series themselves (having premiered shows such as Angels in America
here in the UK), and often buy terrestrial rights either from Sky (when Sky buy all the UK rights, such as with Star Trek: Enterprise
), or in tandem with them. Five would be the outside chance, as they are also big on their US imports, but don't tend to buy many mini-series.
We'll keep you updated with respect to the UK airings, so stay tuned for any updates or changes.