Unlike some more established conferences where streaming services and production studios bring new series to buy and sell, Content London is a relative newcomer to the schedule, having only existed since 2014 and the dawn of the streaming wars. However, its London location means easy access for British-based executives, so it’s grown quickly like San Diego Comic-Con, a mere one-hour plane ride from Los Angeles. BritBox CEO Reemah Sakaan was on hand at the 2023 edition, held at the end of November, to announce the service (co-owned by BBC Studios and ITV) had surpassed 3.4 million subscribers globally and picked up a couple of new titles to boot, including the BBC hit Blue Lights.
Initially announced in February 2022 and planned to go directly to air on BBC One, Blue Lights hails from the creators of The Salisbury Poisonings. Described as a police thriller, the announcement came with star Siân Brooke, then best known for Sherlock and Season 1 of Good Omens, attached to star along with Katherine Devlin (The Dig) and newcomer Nathan Braniff as three rookie police officers in Belfast’s PSNI (Police Service of Northern Ireland), learning the ropes. The hook was that Brooke’s character, Grace, is in her mid-40s, and the decision to leave her 20-year career to join the force has left her family, friends, and kids baffled and more than a little worried for her.
As the trailer for the first season shows, the series isn’t exactly a full-on thriller, as there are a lot of comic elements, especially where Grace is concerned. She’s only a few weeks into her role and making so many mistakes that her decision no longer looks like a winning bet. The result turned out to be more of a workplace comedy that also happens to be a police procedural.
Here's the synopsis for Blue Lights Season 1:
Blue Lights is an authentic, gripping, and darkly funny drama about ordinary people doing an extraordinary job as PSNI probationary recruits in Belfast. The series follows characters navigating their way through their first few months in a uniquely dangerous place to be a response police officer.
Brooke, Devlin, and Braniff co-star in Season 1 alongside Richard Dormer (COBRA), Martin McCann (Wolf), Hannah McClean (Sick Note), Andi Osho (The Sandman), John Lynch (Medici), Jonathan Harden (Time), Valene Kane (The Winter King), Dane Whyte O'Hara (Kin), Gerard Jordan (The Fall), Joanne Crawford (Resistance), Michael Shea (Hope Street), Nabil Elouahabi (Unforgotten), Frankie McCafferty (Clean Sweep), and Desmond Eastwood (Normal People).
The series was a massive success for the BBC when it debuted in March 2023, with its premiere averaging 6.4 million on iPlayer, and showing enormous appeal to a younger audience. Less than a month after it debuted, the BBC commissioned a second season, with Siân Brooke, Martin McCann, Katherine Devlin, Nathan Braniff, Joanne Crawford, Andi Osho, and Hannah McClean all set to return. BritBox has confirmed it has signed on to stream Season 2 in the U.S. when it debuts.
Blue Lights Season 1 does not yet have a set release date on BritBox but is expected to arrive in the coming weeks. Season 2 was last spotted filming in Belfast in September 2023, and is expected to debut on BBC One in the spring of 2024.