Tubi Acquires BBC Dramedy 'Boarders'

Aruna Jalloh as Femi, Josh Tedeku as Jaheim, Jodie Campbell as Leah, Myles Kamwendo as Omar, and Sekou Diaby as Toby walking down the school hallway in 'Boarders' Season 1

Aruna Jalloh as Femi, Josh Tedeku as Jaheim, Jodie Campbell as Leah, Myles Kamwendo as Omar, and Sekou Diaby as Toby in 'Boarders' Season 1

BBC/Studio Lambert

It is perhaps one of the great ironies of life that one of the most visible changes the Black Lives Matter movement had was in British television, where the BBC, as a government-funded broadcaster, has stuck to its commitment to diversifying the voices that create TV series. However, that impact is blunted by selling shows to the highest bidder in America, causing them to wind up all over the place. Champion, for example, just debuted on Netflix in Januar 2024; The Confessions of Frannie Langton streamed on BritBox. The upcoming Queenie (which wound up on ITV) will debut on Hulu. And now Boarders will go to...Tubi? 

Tubi, for those who aren't sure what it is, is a FAST channel. As I've mentioned a couple of times recently, FAST is an acronym; it stands for Free Ad-supported Streaming Television, which is sort of like broadcast TV of old, but with a twist. They come as an app, much like Disney+, Max, YouTube, PBS, etc. However, there's no credit card involved, no need to prove you subscribe to cable, and no monthly fee. Instead, depending on which version you use, there's the old TV guide of channels, though channels dedicated to shows, endlessly showing season upon season, episode upon episode, or tiles, offering you endless viewing of films.

At first, these FAST channels just showed older stuff, series no one really cared to pay for, one million episodes of The Twilight Zone, and a thousand hours of Magnum PI, just like Netflix streaming did back in the day before it began creating original content. And now, just like Netflix, FAST channels are getting into the originals game, though not at the expense of making those originals themselves. Instead, they're scooping up shows no one else is buying or hard-up networks like Paramount+ need to sell for a quick buck, such as when Freevee bought The Flatshare, Roku got The Burning Girls, and now Tubi picking up Boarders.

Daniel Lawrence Taylor as Gus gives Josh Tedeku as Jaheim some tough love talk in 'Boarders' Season 1

Daniel Lawrence Taylor as Gus and Josh Tedeku as Jaheim in 'Boarders' Season 1

BBC/Studio Lambert

Boarders is an unusual case because it's rare for a FAST streamer to pick up a series like this before it airs in the U.K. The show was initially greenlit in 2022, with Daniel Lawrence Taylor (Timewasters) as the lead writer, a coming-of-age comedy-drama about five underprivileged black students from inner-city London who win scholarships to an elite boarding school. Here's the official synopsis:

Stepping out of the urban metropolis, our leads will experience the highs and lows of boarding school: learning about themselves, their identity and what life on the other side looks like - which they discover is nothing like life in zone three.From fun and independence to pressure and competition, first crushes, forging friendships and making enemies, Boarders will look at the experience of going to a top public school from a unique perspective. These kids may be outsiders but they’re determined to prove themselves - and shake things up along the way. The new boarders have arrived.

Following a problematic viral video involving a student, our leads are offered sixth form scholarships to St Gilbert’s, in an attempt to rehabilitate the image of one of the country’s oldest and most prestigious schools. They soon find themselves in a world they can only describe as something out of Harry Potter, surrounded by lush playing fields, cloistered grandeur and complex social rules which they must decipher quickly in order to survive. They will go on a journey as they learn about themselves, their identity and what it’s like to live alongside the one percent - which they discover is nothing like life as they knew it.

Derek Riddell as Headmaster Bernard and Niky Wardley as Carol Watlington-Geese, Chair of the Board look shifty in the headmaster's office in Boarders Season 1

Derek Riddell as Headmaster Bernard and Niky Wardley as Carol Watlington-Geese, Chair of the Board in Boarders Season 1

BBC/Studio Lambert

The cast of Boarders stars up-and-coming actors Josh Tedeku (Supacell) as Jaheim, Jodie Campbell (Bulletproof) as Leah, Myles Kamwendo (The School for Good & Evil) as Omar, plus newcomers Sekou Diaby as Toby, and Aruna Jalloh as Femi. Derek Riddell (Happy Valley) will play headmaster Bernard, Niky Wardley (Queen of Oz) will play Carol Watlington-Geese, Chair of the Board, while Lawrence Taylor will take an on-screen role as student mentor Gus. The cast also features Harry Gilby (Tolkien), Tallulah Greive (Cinderella), Rosie Graham (Sanditon), Georgina Sadler (The A List), and newcomers Assa Kanoutè and Archie Fisher

Lawrence Taylor was joined in the writing room by Emma Dennis-Edwards, Yemi Oyefuwa, and Ryan Calais Cameron. Directors Ethosheia Hylton (Sanditon) and Sarmad Masud (You Don’t Know Me) split helming duties across the six episodes, with Alison MacPhail serving as producer and Carleen Beadle-Larcombe as line producer. Mykaell Riley, founding member of Steel Pulse and The Reggae Philharmonic Orchestra, served as musical director. Lawrence Taylor executive produced along with Madeleine Sinclair and Susan Hogg for Studio Lambert and Nawfal Faizullah and Ayela Butt for the BBC. 

Boarders does not yet have a release date on BBC Three, but is expected out in the first half of 2024 and will stream on Tubi directly following.


Ani Bundel has been blogging professionally since 2010. A DC native, Hufflepuff, and Keyboard Khaleesi, she spends all her non-writing time taking pictures of her cats. Regular bylines also found on MSNBC, Paste, Primetimer, and others. 

A Woman's Place Is In Your Face. Cat Approved. Find her on BlueSky and other social media of your choice: @anibundel.bsky.social

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