Dutch Features sells Best Friends, the most-watched local teen series, to Norway
by Vassilis Economou
- The daily, multi-award-winning TV series for young audiences, which is currently in its 11th season, is continuing its expansion into the European market
In the run-up to the MIPTV Market – which will run from 9-12 April in Cannes – indie sales outfit Dutch Features Global Entertainment, headed up by CEO Pim van Collem, has announced the sale of the most-watched prime-time Dutch teen series, Best Friends, to Norwegian pubcaster NRK. The deal will bring the successful daily show to NRK’s children’s channel NRK Super, with the first episodes set to air in August this year.
Best Friends (SpangaS in Dutch) is the Netherlands’ longest-running daily drama series aimed at a young audience. Co-produced by NL Film and Dutch pubcaster KRO-NCRV, the series is currently airing its 11th season, with the 12th already in production. Best Friends will also celebrate its 2,000th episode this November, while its influence seems to be spreading even further, as five TV specials, several books, a game and two feature films based on the series have been released over the years.
Best Friends follows a group of students at their high school, Spangalis College, and their everyday challenges that are related to both their personal and school lives. The observation of each character’s coming-of-age process is the main theme of the series, as it includes stories of love and friendship, family issues, and how each character deals with personal matters such as loneliness and sorrow. Furthermore, the series covers other, current topics such as dealing with divorce, bullying at school, the search for one’s sexuality, immigration and, of course, dreams for the future – everything that a teenager could possibly face in his or her everyday life.
Regarding the deal, NL Film producer Kaja Wolffers stated: “We have received wonderful feedback from NRK on the series. Best Friends addresses complex societal issues such as bullying, gender diversity and silent poverty, yet remains entertaining for young audiences around the world. The fact that NRK recognises the core values of this series is the biggest compliment we could ever receive for a Dutch drama series. It has been able to fascinate, inspire and retain young viewers in the Netherlands for 12 years now, hence we are looking forward to a long collaboration with NRK.”
It should be noted that this is not the first time that Best Friends has enjoyed success outside of the Netherlands. In 2010, German network Super RTL acquired and aired 50 episodes, while in 2012, Swiss pubcaster SRF co-produced a local version of the series. Among the awards it has received are the sought-after Prix Jeunesse, the Japan Prize and the Cinekid Media Award.
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