BBC's 'Boarders' Sets Premiere as "A Tubi Original"

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

The next phase in the streaming revolution is here. The Great Unbundling has ended; every production studio that will launch its own streaming service has done so, and now it is time for them all to fight it out and see who survives. Some of the losers are already clearer than others: Paramount+ is desperately looking for a buyer, AMC Networks series of streaming services aren't far behind, and BritBox got snapped off the board when no one was looking. Meanwhile, a new type of streamer is making a play for dominance, as FAST streamers, like Tubi, are launching their first originals with shows like Boarders.

Chances are you've probably heard of Tubi. Chances are greater that you're not sure what it is exactly. Tubi is a streaming service like Disney+, Paramount+, or Peacock. It's a streaming service that's very much like those three in that it is the main flagship streaming service owned by a broadcast network. Disney+ is ABC, Peacock is NBC, Paramount+ is CBS, and Tubi is Fox. However, unlike the first three, Fox no longer has a production studio to make its original content. Instead, its streaming service is known as a FAST streamer: Free Ad-supported Streaming Television.

FAST is returning to the basics of broadcasting but via app format. However, once you download, there's no monthly fee. Instead, there are rows and rows of channels full of old TV shows and films, running endlessly, supported by ads. Or at least, that's what FAST streamers were. But now they're getting into the "Originals" game, primarily by grabbing shows from overseas made by other networks with no streaming homes in the U.S. and getting to call them "Originals" because of having the exclusive rights to them.

Boarders is a perfect example of the trend. A BBC series about inner-city London students who are sent to a posh public school, it's the type of British fare that PBS turns its nose up at, that BritBox's audience has no interest in, and that most American streamers wouldn't know what to do with if they had it. (Most Americans are confused that Black people with British accents exist in the first place, let alone Black people with working-class British accents.) It's exactly the sort of series that never finds a place in the U.S. market.

Tubi is looking for shows that will define it as different, that will help it stand out, and will attract an underserved audience. (The only audiences more underserved on streaming than Black audiences are the wide variety of Spanish speakers in America.) Boarders is perfect for that. And that's how this series became Tubi's first major original series launched in the states. Here's the synopsis:

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.

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

The cast of Boarders stars up-and-coming actors Josh Tedeku (Supacell), Jodie Campbell (Bulletproof), Myles Kamwendo (The School for Good & Evil), plus newcomers Sekou Diaby and Aruna Jalloh. The show also features Derek Riddell (Happy Valley), Niky Wardley (Queen of Oz), Harry Gilby (Tolkien), Tallulah Greive (Cinderella), Rosie Graham (Sanditon), Georgina Sadler (The A List), Lawrence Taylor (Timewasters), and newcomers Assa Kanoutè and Archie Fisher

Lawrence Taylor doesn't just co-star, he is also the creative force behind the series, and wrote the six episodes along with Emma Dennis-Edwards, Yemi Oyefuwa, and Ryan Calais Cameron. Directors Ethosheia Hylton (Sanditon) and Sarmad Masud (You Don’t Know Me) split helming duties, 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 serves as musical director. Taylor executive produced along with Madeleine Sinclair and Susan Hogg for Studio Lambert and Nawfal Faizullah and Ayela Butt for the BBC. 

All episodes of Boarders debut on Tubi on Friday, March 8, 2024.


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:

More to Love from Telly Visions