Small Nation, Big Reach: The U.K. Exerts Outsize Influence in the World of Entertainment

The sun never sets on the British entertainment empire.Whether it’s the BBC’s “Blue Planet II” wowing TV viewers in Beijing or Paddington Bear’s new movie making kids squeal in Bulgaria or the latest West End hit thrilling theater buffs on Broadway, Britain’s cultural offerings have conquered consumers the world over.

Like the U.K.’s diplomatic prowess and its military might, the local entertainment industry boasts a reach and impact disproportionate to the nation’s size.It probably ranks second only to the U.S.

in how widely its content crosses cultures, countries and continents, heightening Britain’s soft power and burnishing its international image.

From “Fantastic Beasts” to “Fleabag” to “Phantom of the Opera,” the U.K.’s films, shows and plays attract global followings, as do many of its stars, whose names regularly appear on prestigious awards lists.

Since 2010, seven Brits have flown

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