BBC First
BBC First logo (2022–present)
Broadcast areaAustralia
Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus
Middle East & North Africa
Picture format1080i HDTV
(downscaled to 16:9 576i for the SDTV feed)
OwnerBBC Studios
Sister channelsBBC Earth
BBC Lifestyle
BBC Entertainment
BBC News (International)
BBC Brit
Launched3 August 2014; 9 years ago (2014-08-03)
ReplacedBBC Entertainment (Asia)
BBC HD (Poland)
Closed1 September 2020; 3 years ago (2020-09-01) (Africa)

BBC First is an entertainment subscription television channel featuring comedy, crime, drama and film programming, originating from UK and mostly from the BBC. The channel is wholly owned and operated by BBC Studios. The channel began rolling out internationally in 2014, launching first in Australia.[1][2][3] It is supported by extended localised advertising breaks.


In October 2013, the BBC announced that in 2014 they would roll out three new brands – BBC Earth, BBC First, and BBC Brit, with BBC First to be dedicated to comedy and drama programming.[4]

International roll-out


Hong Kong

On 1 November 2016, BBC First launched as a Subscription Video-On-Demand (SVOD) service in Hong Kong. The channel replaced BBC On Demand and BBC Entertainment on Now TV.[5] On 14 November 2016, the service was launched on myTV Super OTT platform until 31 January 2023.


In April 2021, BBC First launched as a Subscription Video-On-Demand (SVOD) service in Indonesia through Catchplay, which also serves as the platform's partner in Taiwan.[6]


BBC First was launched as a Subscription Video-On-Demand (SVOD) service on HyppTV Channel 812 on 1 October 2016, 10 months after BBC Entertainment was dropped from the provider.[7] The channel's content is also available in the "VOD" tab in the HyppTV Everywhere app for iOS and Android.

In mid-October 2021, BBC First launched as a SVOD service on Astro, along with BBC Brit.[8]


BBC First launched a Subscription Video-On-Demand (SVOD) service on StarHub TV Channel 522 on 4 April 2016.[9] On 1 December 2021, BBC First launched a Video-On-Demand (VOD) service on Singtel TV.[10]


In 2008, BBC Studios signed a cooperation agreement with Taiwanese OTT service myVideo to offer its drama content.[11]


Main article: BBC First (Australia)

On 17 April 2013, it was announced that the BBC had forged a new exclusive deal with Australian subscription television provider Foxtel which would see a new channel launched that would feature comedy and drama content, with programming screening as close to their original UK transmission as possible.[2] It was later announced the new channel would be named BBC First, a new global brand that would roll out in 2014, with Australia being the first location to launch the new channel, on 3 August 2014.[3][12][13]


Main article: BBC First (Canadian TV channel)

In March 2021, Canadian broadcaster Blue Ant Media, which already operated the Canadian version of BBC Earth, announced that its HIFI channel would be rebranded as a Canadian version of BBC First on March 16, expanding the company's partnership with BBC Studios.[14] Unlike the other versions, the Canadian channel is not directly owned by BBC Studios, due to Canada's regulations around foreign ownership of Canadian media, but is operated by Blue Ant under a brand licensing agreement.

Previously, the market had been served by the similarly formatted BBC Canada, which was closed by then-owner Corus Entertainment at the end of 2020; many of the BBC programs carried by the prior channel will carry over to BBC First.


Netherlands & Belgium

Main article: BBC First (Dutch TV channel)

BBC First launched in the Netherlands on 16 May 2015.[15]

Central and Eastern Europe

BBC First made its debut as a linear channel in Poland on 26 October 2018, replacing BBC HD.

Commenting on the development, Jacek Koskowski, general manager and VP for Poland, BBC Studios, said: “We’re living through a golden era of British drama with outstanding talent producing some of the very best television in the world. Increasing the drama hours on BBC HD was integral to that channel’s recent growth and now we are going further by bringing viewers even more of what they want. Coupled with the addition of Polish and English subtitles for the first time, I’m delighted to be introducing a dedicated premium drama channel to Poland”.[16]

BBC First launched in Croatia, North Macedonia and Slovenia on 1 April 2019,[17] followed by Romania on 12 October 2022[18] and Moldova on 6 June 2023.[19]


The channel launched in Turkey on 27 May 2020, replacing BBC HD.

Middle East & North Africa

BBC First launched a Subscription Video-On-Demand (SVOD) service on SHAHID VIP.


South Africa

The channel launched on DStv in South Africa on 18 October 2015.[20][21] On 4 August 2020, it was announced that BBC First would close in South Africa at the end of August 2020 after its current carriage agreement with MultiChoice was not renewed.[22][23][24] Some of its programming was moved to sister channel BBC Brit[25] and streaming service Britbox.[26]

Programming blocks

There are BBC First programming blocks on the following channels:


Main article: List of television programmes broadcast by the BBC


  1. ^ "BBC Worldwide and Foxtel unveil new channel name". BBC Worldwide. 18 October 2013. Retrieved 3 May 2014.
  2. ^ a b Knox, David (17 April 2013). "New BBC Drama channel headed to Foxtel". TV Tonight. Retrieved 3 February 2014.
  3. ^ a b Knox, David (19 October 2013). "BBC First channel to launch on Foxtel in August". TV Tonight. Retrieved 3 February 2014.
  4. ^ Middleton, Richard (18 October 2013). "BBCWW to scrap global iPlayer". C21 Media. Retrieved 28 March 2014.
  5. ^ BBC First debuts in Hong Kong. BBC Worldwide. 1 November 2016.
  6. ^ "Catchplay+ joins hands with BBC Studios to bring the best of UK drama to Indonesia and Taiwan through BBC First". Retrieved 24 May 2021.
  7. ^ "BBC First | Channels | BBC Asia | BBC Worldwide". Retrieved 28 November 2016.
  8. ^ "Astro Promotions - Special Deals for New & Existing Customers". Retrieved 15 September 2021.
  9. ^ Premium British drama comes to Singapore with launch of BBC First, StarHub TV, 24 March 2016
  10. ^ "BBC Studios brings premium British content to new audiences in Singapore through partnership with Singtel". Retrieved 8 January 2022.
  11. ^ "BBC Studios Signs First Deal With Taiwan's myVIDEO". Retrieved 24 May 2021.
  12. ^ Knox, David (26 May 2014). "BBC First to launch on August 3rd". TV Tonight. Retrieved 2 July 2014.
  13. ^ Knox, David (2 July 2014). "Foxtel Channel Changes". TV Tonight. Retrieved 2 July 2014.
  14. ^ Ramachandran, Naman (3 March 2021). "BBC Studios, Blue Ant Media Team to Launch BBC First Channel in Canada (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Retrieved 3 March 2021.
  15. ^ "A First for Europe as BBC Worldwide's premium drama channel debuts in The Netherlands" (Press release). BBC Worldwide. 29 April 2015. Retrieved 30 September 2015.
  16. ^ "Premium British drama channel BBC First to launch in Poland". BBC. 13 August 2018.
  17. ^ Chris Dziadul (18 February 2019). "BBC First expands in CEE".
  18. ^ "Televiziunea BBC First HD, lansată în România în grila Digi Tv / RCS RDS". 12 October 2022.
  19. ^ "BBC First grows its footprint across CEE". 7 June 2023.
  20. ^ "BBC Worldwide launches BBC Brit, BBC Earth and BBC First in Africa" (Press release). BBC Worldwide. 12 August 2015. Retrieved 28 September 2015.
  21. ^ BBC First South Africa (Archived)
    Redirect to BBC Brit
  22. ^ BBC FIRST SA Closure BBC South Africa. 4 August 2020.
  23. ^ 'BREAKING. MultiChoice dumps the BBC First Channel from Dstv from September, calls it a 'refresh of it British entertainment line-up'.' TV with Thinus. 4 August 2020. Retrieved 4 October 2020.
  24. ^ "DStv kills off BBC First" Broadband TV News. 4 August 2020. Retrieved: 5 October 2020.
  25. ^ DStv shakes-up its British Entertainment line up News24. 4 August 2020. Retrieved 26 April 2021.
  26. ^ New Streaming Service launches in South Africa: Here's everything you need to know a out Britbox. News24. 27 June 2021. Retrieved 28 June 2021.
  27. ^ "BBC Worldwide and Sony Pictures Television Networks join forces to launch BBC First programme block on AXN Mystery in Japan" (Press release). BBC Worldwide. 20 April 2015. Retrieved 14 October 2017.
  28. ^ "BBC First makes its debut in India on Zee Café" (Press release). BBC Worldwide. 26 April 2017. Retrieved 14 October 2017.