Prime television's 2014 line-up markedly increases its New Zealand content while upping the levels of British aristocracy in its schedule.

Among its new local shows is the channel's first original dramatic production, ANZAC Girls, a mini-series about nurses during World War I starring Antonia Prebble which has been made across the Tasman in conjunction with Screentime and the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

The centennial of the outbreak of WWI is also being marked on the channel by War News, a five-part documentary series in which New Zealand's involvements in the conflict are reported as contemporary one-hour news shows.

For history closer to home there is documentary series Making New Zealand which tells the stories behind the country's infrastructure projects like hydroelectric schemes, railways, roads, bridges and tunnels.


And to balance out all that rampant development is Keeping It Pure, an ecological series that aims to "define our view of our country and our environmental and economic future."

New among the imported period dramas from the channel which has Downton Abbey as a key show are The White Queen, an adaptation of the War of the Roses bestseller by Phillippa Gregory, which looks like it does for the Plantagents what television's sexed-up history lesson The Tudors did for their sucessors.

Talking of which, Reign, an American-made teenage spin on the story of Mary Queen of Scots starts on Prime tonight.

It's the latest among the shows resulting from the channel's deal with the distribution arm of US network CBS earlier in the year.

More new CBS shows in the offing include sitcom The Millers which starts early December, and in the New Year there is teen sci-fi romantic fantasy Star-Crossed and soapy southern legal drama Reckless.

For those with more Downton-ian tastes there's The Paradise, the BBC production that is a second drama inspired by the Victorian early days of Britain's first department store after ITV's Mr Selfridge which screened on TV One earlier this year.

Most of Prime's current fixtures are returning in the New Year including the final season of the Anna Paquin-starring supernatural saga True Blood.