Italian TV hits Chinese screens

Italian company Giglio TV has struck a deal with China International Broadcasting Network (CIBN), which will bring Italian programmes to Chinese television for the first time.

Italian TV hits Chinese screens
The TV deal was unveiled at the Italian embassy in Beijing. Photos: (L) Gustavo Devito/Flickr and (R) Philip Jägenstedt

The initiative was launched at the Italian embassy in Beijing and aims to “promote Italy and its culture in the country”, the foreign ministry said in a statement.

Gilgio TV owns a number of channels in Italy, including live! which broadcasts music events and the Nautical Channel.

Ambassador Alberto Bradanini said the move had “strategic and cultural” value.

The programming available to Chinese viewers will include everything from fashion to food, cinema and documentaries, Bradanini said.

“This will become an effective platform to spread our culture and interest in our country,” he added.

The deal reflects the growing relationship between the two countries, as a number of Chinese people take up residency in Italy.

There are currently 304,768 Chinese people listed as legal residents in Italy, according to the national statistics agency Istat. The Chinese are the third largest non-EU population in Italy, behind Morocco and Albania.

Earlier this month Istat also announced that trade to China is on the rise, jumping by 23.4 percent over a year to July 2013.

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PHOTOS: Double takes in Rome as John Malkovich plays pope

Dressed in white robes and other papal insignia, actor John Malkovich delighted throngs on Saint Peter's Square in the Vatican City on Thursday as he filmed a scene for Paulo Sorrentino's The New Pope series.

PHOTOS: Double takes in Rome as John Malkovich plays pope
Is the pope? No, it's The New Pope. Photo: Vincenzo Pinto/AFP

Pilgrims did a double take as the bearded “pontiff” strode around, the 65-year-old going as far as to greet babies proffered for his “blessing”.

After the major success of Sorrentino's The Young Pope series, starring Jude Law, the Italian director has returned with a follow-up drama with American Malkovich as Pope John Paul III.

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The actor rode on board a black popemobile rather than the usual white variant and bodyguards were on hand just in case the enthusiasm of yellow rose-waving bystanders ever got out of hand as he left the vehicle to acknowledge them.

As well as spying Malkovich, onlookers also got to see the escort of visiting Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite along the famed Via della Conciliazione en route to a reception with Pope Francis.

But it appeared it was the actor who got top billing as he was put through his paces for the eight-part series — a collaboration between Sky, HBO and Canal+.

Law played an ultra-conservative and machiavellian Pope Pius XIII in The Young Pope, a well-received ten-part series.

All photos by Vincenzo Pinto for AFP.