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Netflix acquires ‘Meet the Adebanjos’ — a series about a British-Nigerian family that was initially rejected by major TV stations

Nine years after starting as a self-funded web series and getting turned down in the UK by BBC, ITV and SKY, Meet the Adebanjos is now on Netflix (mmftrend)
  • Netflix is constantly offering subscribers new options to enjoy in the comfort of their homes. 
  • One of the latest to join this popular American streaming service is “Meet the Adebanjos.”

Ranked as ‘UK’s Number 1 British African Sitcom,’ “Meet the Adebanjos,” follows a British-Nigerian family living in Peckham, South London.

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The comedy showcases the typical ups and downs of a first-generation Nigerian couple raising their British-born children.

Viewers watch on as the old fashioned father Bayo Adebanjo struggles to instil his African values in his reluctant British family.

Bayo, the father, is played by award-winning British-Nigerian actor Wale Ojo. He is supported by his wife, Gladys (Yetunde Oduwole), daughter, Sade (Andrea Ama Aboagye), son, Tobi (Daniel Davids) and the eccentric Aunty Funke (Moji Bamtefa).

According to one of the show’s producers, Andrew Osayemi, “What we have is a show celebrating British Nigerian culture. My parents came to the UK in the ’80s with a very similar background. We did a whole massive casting session for a week with 200 of the UK’s best actors, and made sure the actors we cast for the parents had authentic accents.”

How it all started

“Meet the Adebanjos” began as a 2011 web series self-funded by the show’s co-creators, Osayemi and Deborah Odutuyo.

They had to put the show online after receiving multiple rejections from mainstream broadcasters including BBC, ITV and SKY.

Recounting the experience, Osayemi said, “I pitched to BBC and they said no, pitched to ITV — NO, Every broadcaster in the UK? NO NO NO. I was at my wit’s end. I was devastated. I had risked all of my investors’ money-making 7 episodes of a TV show and couldn’t find a buyer for it.”

The trailer did well, reportedly attracting over 10, 000 views on Youtube which gave the producers the confidence they needed to continue.

According to Osayemi, “The most amazing thing is what the show has achieved with minimal promotion. The fact that the audience almost doubled to 1.4million over a week gave the whole team a real sense of encouragement and validation of the hard work that has gone into this project.”

It was not long before the producers started getting calls from interested TV stations in various countries. The show was eventually sold to Ghana, Nigeria, and Uganda.

Commenting on the initial rejection, Osayemi said, “Two and a half years ago I didn’t have a clue about TV. But from producing the show to securing its international distribution, I doubt many people on the planet have had this high-level induction to the business that I have received in such a short space of time.”

“Meet the Adebanjos” went on to win a couple of awards including Zaffa, NEL, Screen Nation, Beffta and UK Black Comedy Awards. 

Nine years later, it has now been picked up by Netflix, a major streaming platform with subscribers in over 190 countries. It became available for streaming on November 4, 2019.

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