Sir David Attenborough finds new home as BBC EARTH launches on FOXTEL and FETCH TV

Sir David Attenborough
image - BBC

The BBC has announced the Australian launch of documentary subscription television channel BBC Earth.

BBC Earth will launch on Foxtel and FetchTV later this year.

Featuring premium factual programming, the new channel will showcase nature programming featuring Sir David Attenborough acclaimed science series, including Blue Planet, as well as programs by Louis Theroux, Michael Mosley, Kate Humble and Professor Brian Cox. 

BBC Earth will replace the BBC Knowledge channel across the Foxtel and Fetch TV platforms.

While the closure of BBC Knowledge will be a blow for subscribers, Foxtel has signed an agreement with the BBC ensuring ‘first-run territory premiere rights’ for BBC lifestyle programming. The deal will see BBC lifestyle programming, including shows previously broadcast on BBC Knowledge migrate to other Foxtel network channels and the on-demand platform. 

The announcement of BBC Earth comes as Foxtel signs a new ‘long-term extension’ deal to continue broadcasting BBC programming in Australia.  The new deal includes thousands of additional hours of on demand content featuring premium British Drama, Entertainment, Documentaries, Natural History, and Children’s programming.


The content agreement will see the following channels on Foxtel:

• BBC First. The go-to channel for premium British drama including on demand access to boxsets of the BBC’s top franchises. BBC First on Foxtel includes Australian premiere rights to Call the Midwife, Death in Paradise and Silent Witness, plus new dramas including World on Fire starring Helen Hunt and Stephen Poliakoff’s Summer of Rockets, starring Keeley Hawes.

BBC UKTV. Watched by 1.4 million Foxtel households each month, UKTV is the home of British continuing dramas including Australian premiere episodes of EastEnders, Coronation Street and Emmerdale, plus chat-shows, celebrity specials, quiz and variety shows and classic British comedy.

• BBC Earth. The new BBC channel connecting viewers with the world, through documentaries from the world’s most inspiring and passionate experts. This includes the best of Sir David Attenborough from BBC Studio’s acclaimed Natural History production unit, alongside science programming, adventure series and human stories from experts including Louis Theroux, Michael Mosley, Kate Humble and Professor Brian Cox.

• BBC CBeebies. The BBC’s best-loved British children’s programming including Hey Duggee, Thomas & Friends and Sarah & Duck.

• BBC World News. Under the agreement with BBC World News, Foxtel will continue to deliver the BBC’s impartial, in-depth analysis of international news including sport, weather, business, current affairs and documentaries.

A spokesperson for Fetch TV advices TV Blackbox, the date of the BBC Earth launch is “still to be confirmed”, but Fetch and Foxtel will launch same day. All other BBC channels on Fetch (excluding BBC Knowledge) will remain under “our ongoing contract”.


Foxtel CEO Patrick Delany said:

“We know how much Foxtel customers love the BBC’s fabulous shows and we are incredibly pleased to put in place a new agreement providing a long-term extension to our 24-year relationship.

“For Foxtel, the new agreement is another step in ensuring we are future fit. Our integration of Netflix into the New Foxtel Experience dramatically increased on demand content available through Foxtel.

“This agreement provides a five-fold increase in BBC programming available on demand. It helps ensure we continue to deliver on our promise to provide customers with the best TV and on demand content, all in one place.”


Jon Penn, Managing Director for BBC Studios said:

“We’re delighted to be continuing our successful partnership with Foxtel, bringing Australian viewers the BBC channels and programs they love, and giving them the opportunity to consume them in the way they want to.

“As an added bonus, viewers will be getting a new channel dedicated to the BBC’s premium documentaries, offering some of the greatest natural history series ever produced.”