Disney Plus reveals first original UK TV shows - and one features David Beckham

Disney Plus logo with popcorn
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Disney Plus has announced the first batch of original series that The Walt Disney Company will produce in the UK.

In a press release, Disney revealed that three of its upcoming productions would be scripted TV shows, with the fourth an unscripted series that will star ex-Manchester United and England soccer icon David Beckham.

Of the three scripted series, one will be Disney-branded and the other two will be Star-branded. Disney states that these originals will "add a diverse range of news stories and exciting voices" to its streaming service and will "span a wide range of genres".

Save Our Squad, the factual series starring Beckham, will see the former midfielder return to his roots to mentor a struggling grassroots soccer team. Joining Save Our Squad as a Disney Plus original will be The Ballad of Renegade Nell. The series will follow Nell Jackson, who is framed for murder and, aided by a spirit called Billy Blind, goes on the run as a highway robber.

As for the Star TV shows, Culprits takes place in the aftermath of a heist and sees the crew, which carried out the robbery, chased down by an unknown party after they go their separate ways. Finally, Extraordinary is a comedy series that follows Jen, a young girl who is the only individual in the world who doesn't possess a superpower.

Disney Plus is coming for Netflix and Amazon Prime's audiences with its Originals

With Disney Plus now firmly centered in a streaming battle with Netflix and Amazon Prime Video, it isn't surprising to see The Walt Disney Company begin to expand its Originals content. 

The streaming service has already surpassed 100 million subscribers (h/t The Verge) as of March 2021, which is impressive given that Disney Plus only launched 18 months ago in the US.

With such a big subscriber base, Disney clearly wants to make a dent in its competitors' own fanbases and steal some of them away. The company has a massive back catalog propped up by its beloved animated movies, Star Wars productions and Marvel properties, and this trio will always be the biggest allure for any future Disney Plus subsscribers.

However, the streamer's Originals content does allow Disney to be more creative in the types of productions it makes. It would be highly unlikely to see the likes of Culprits and Save Our Squad become tentpole Disney series, so a platform like Disney Plus gives their creators an opportunity to craft unique properties that might just kick Disney Plus' Originals division into gear.

Disney plans to make 50 Originals in Europe by the end of 2024, and it's well on its way to meeting that target. Its four UK productions take its European Originals line-up to 14 already, and it'll be interesting to see if any of them leave a mark on audiences upon release.

Senior Entertainment Reporter

As TechRadar's senior entertainment reporter, Tom covers all of the latest movies, TV shows, and streaming service news that you need to know about. You'll regularly find him writing about the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Star Wars, Netflix, Prime Video, Disney Plus, and many other topics of interest.

An NCTJ-accredited journalist, Tom also writes reviews, analytical articles, opinion pieces, and interview-led features on the biggest franchises, actors, directors and other industry leaders. You may see his quotes pop up in the odd official Marvel Studios video, too, such as this Moon Knight TV spot.

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