Last updated on April 17, 2014 at 9:30 EDT

Sky Announces Major New Commitment to Original British Drama

January 17, 2013

LONDON, January 17, 2013 /PRNewswire/ –

Sky today steps up its commitment to original British drama with the announcement of a
world-class line up of brand new, original drama, featuring stars including Dominic
Cooper, Vanessa Redgrave, David Harewood and Kylie Minogue. The diverse slate – the
biggest in Sky’s history – includes a drama based on the life of Ian Fleming, a season of
films from acclaimed female screenwriters and the directorial debuts of actors Idris Elba,
Matt Smith and Marc Warren.

Running across Sky’s portfolio of entertainment channels, and available on HDTV
[http://www.sky.com/shop/tv/high-definition ] and VOD
[http://www.sky.com/shop/tv/on-demand ], the raft of new drama commissions, complemented by
popular returning series, is part of Sky’s drive to bring more high-quality, exclusive
programmes to customers. It is supported by Sky’s commitment to invest GBP600 million a
year in home-grown programming by 2014, an increase of 50% over three years.

Delivering customers some of the most highly respected drama talent working in
television [http://www.sky.com/shop/tv ] today, both on and off screen, the new
commissions include:

– Fleming (Sky Atlantic), starring Hollywood actor Dominic Cooper in the lead role in
a series based on the life of Bond creator Ian Fleming

– The Reckless Season (Sky Living), a season of five original dramas from some of
Britain’s most renowned and critically-acclaimed female screenwriters, including Sally
Wainwright, Gwyneth Hughes and Annie Griffin

– The return of Playhouse Presents (Sky Arts) this year features the directorial
debuts of Idris Elba, Matt Smith and Marc Warren, with Elba and Warren both also scripting
their films. The season of dramas – which will be complemented by a further collection of
one-off comedy films – has again attracted high-calibre casts including Kylie Minogue, Mat
Horne, David Harewood, Anna Friel and Vanessa Redgrave.

– Mad Dogs The Finale (Sky 1), a two-part conclusion to the BAFTA-nominated drama
starring Max Beesley, Philip Glenister, John Simm and Marc Warren

In addition, a brand new medical drama from Jed Mercurio, under the working title
Critical is currently in development for Sky 1.

These new titles join the previously announced series:

– Moonfleet (Sky 1), a two-part family drama adaptation by Ashley Pharaoh (Life on
Mars, Ashes to Ashes) of the classic John Meade Falkner story

– The Smoke (Sky 1), created by Lucy Kirkwood (Skins), following the adrenaline
fuelled and gut-wrenchingly emotional stories of the White Watch crew of a London fire

– Strike Back (Sky 1) starring Philip Winchester and Sullivan Stapleton, returns for a
fourth series later this year.

– The Tunnel (Sky Atlantic). Ben Richards (Spooks, Party Animals) heads up the writing
team based on the format of The Bridge and set against the backdrop of Europe in crisis.

– Dracula (Sky Living) based on a script from Cole Haddon, the series stars Jonathan
Rhys Myers and begins filming this summer.

The slate was commissioned by Sky’s Head of Drama, Anne Mensah. She comments: “At Sky
we have a strong ambition to deliver modern, original dramas that are both entertaining
and intelligent. We seek to bring our customers the most innovative and bold pieces
produced by some of the brightest talent in drama programming today. Our broad range of
entertainment channels has allowed us to commission this diverse and rich drama slate,
providing customers with a wealth of choice and I’m thrilled to be able to unveil this
fantastic line up. The most exciting thing is that this is just the part of the growing
drama story at Sky.”

Stuart Murphy, Director, Entertainment Channels adds: “We’re absolutely delighted to
be announcing such a strong group of dramas for our customers. These new commissions bring
together world-class talent, both on and off screen, and are unique pieces of television
that exemplify the scale of our ambition. I am excited and fully supportive of Anne
Mensah’s vision as she drives forward a strategy that will deliver our customers the
highest-quality programming.”

Sky’s drama team consists of Anne Mensah, Head of Drama; Huw Kennair-Jones,
Commissioning Editor, Drama; Madonna Baptiste, Commissioning Editor, Drama; Beverly
Booker, Head of Development, Drama; Nicola Larder, Drama Development Executive and Daniel
Walker, Development Co-Ordinator.




Joining Sky 1′s existing dramas such as Strike Back which will return for a fourth
series (10 x 60′, A Sky and Cinemax/HBO co-production from Left Bank Pictures), and brand
new programmes such as MoonFleet (2 x 60′, Company Pictures) and The Smoke (8 x 60′,
Kudos), comes a further series:

*Mad Dogs The Finale (2 x 60′, Left Bank Pictures) – written by Cris Cole. Having
launched in 2011 and captivated Sky customers ever since, a thrilling two-part conclusion
to the story of the four hapless holidaymakers has now been greenlit. Max Beesley, Philip
Glenister, John Simm and Marc Warren reunite to film the fourth and final instalment in
the story this February and Sky 1 HD viewers can catch the third series of Mad Dogs this


Following on from the channel’s first original drama successes; Red Productions’ Hit &
Miss and Mammoth Screen’s Falcon and adding to the recently announced The Tunnel (a 10 x
60′ co-production with Canal+) Sky is pleased to announce today:

*Fleming (4 x 60′, Ecosse Films) – Hollywood actor Dominic Cooper will take up the
lead role in this new series based on the life of Bond creator Ian Fleming. Since Casino
Royale was published in 1953, the world has been fascinated with James Bond. This four
part series will take a no holds barred look at Ian Fleming, the man behind the James Bond
legend, whose real life was as exciting, eventful and sexually charged as his famous


Sky Living’s previously announced Dracula (10 x 60′), a Sky and NBC co-production from
Playground Entertainment) starring Jonathan Rhys Myers begins filming this summer. This
will be followed with The Reckless Season, which will bring together some of Britain’s
most renowned and critically-acclaimed female screenwriters for a series of drama pilots.
Three dramas are commissioned thus far with a further two to follow:

*Talking To The Dead (2 x 60′, Bonafide Films) – written by Gwyneth Hughes (The Girl,
Five Days). This two parter tells the story of Fiona, a newly qualified detective on her
first murder case. Adapted from the Harry Bingham book, this rookie heroine may be set to
find out that enthusiasm can prove deadly.

*Reubenesque (1 x 60′, a Kudos and Pirate co-production). Written and directed by
Annie Griffin (Fresh Meat, The Book Group), Reubenesque takes an unashamedly naked look at
modern women with a story that centres on a female football referee’s journey to becoming
a plus size model.

*The Last Witch (1 x 60′, Red Productions) – written by Sally Wainwright (Scott &
Bailey) This single drama tells the story of two five hundred year old witches battling it
out in modern day Britain. When this powerful duo go to war, everyone else is simply


Following on from last spring’s hugely successful season of plays, Sky Arts has
confirmed a second season of Playhouse Presents featuring a plethora of British talent:

*Hey Diddly Dee (1 x 30′, Sprout Pictures) – written and directed by Marc Warren (Mad
Dogs) For every star that is born…one has to die. When the star of the show suffers a
tragic accident who is to blame? The understudy? A faulty trap door? Or the theatre’s
lucky cat? This dark comedy drama stars Kylie Minogue, Mat Horne, Peter Serafinowicz,
David Harewood, Paul Kaye and Lee Boardman

*Cargese (1 x 30′, Sprout Pictures) – written by Simon Stephens (A Doll’s House) and
directed by Matt Smith (Doctor Who). This unique piece of poetic realism mines the tragic
seam of adolescent love and loss.

*Mr Understood (1 x 30′, Eleven Film) – created by Kate Hardie. A deeply personal, and
comic, drama that follows young transvestite, Andrew, as he battles with self-doubt.

*Nightshift (1 x 30′, Cajun Pictures and Company Pictures) – written by Jimmy Gardner.
Nightshift follows two coppers as they cruise the streets of South East London in the wee
small hours discussing life, the universe and everything else amidst the surreal world of
the night.

*The Pavement Psychologist (1 x 30′, Sprout Pictures) – written and directed by Idris
Elba. The Pavement Psychologist is a taught and sexy drama about Jenny (Anna Friel,
Limitless, Pushing Daisies), a woman in search of satisfaction, in a world of accounting.

*Union Square (1 x 30′, Sprout Pictures) – written and directed by Carlo Nero, based
on a short story by Leonard B. Francavilla. A disturbance at Union Square leads to some
strange encounters for two policemen in this funny and poignant portrait of loneliness in
the city. Starring Vanessa Redgrave, Stephen Graham, Samantha Bond and Sushil Chudasama.

These five original dramas will be joined by a raft of new comedies completing this
year’s Playhouse Presents strand.

About Sky

Sky is the UK and Ireland’s leading home entertainment and communications company.
Around 40% of all homes have a direct relationship with Sky through its range of TV,
broadband and home telephony services.

Sky is the UK’s biggest investor in television content, investing more than GBP2.3
billion a year in channels such as Sky 1, Sky Atlantic, Sky Living, Sky Arts, Sky Sports,
Sky Movies and Sky News. Around two-thirds of Sky’s content spend is invested in the UK
and Sky is the fastest-growing source of investment in original British programmes. More
than 30 million people watch Sky content each week.

Alongside its commitment to offering customers a greater choice of high-quality
content, Sky is a leading innovator. Customers enjoy total control and flexibility over
their favourite TV through Sky+, watch TV on the move through Sky Go, and enjoy the best
quality TV experience at home through High Definition and 3D.

Sky distributes its content broadly over several platforms, including satellite,
cable, IPTV, mobile and WiFi. NOW TV, Sky’s second consumer brand, builds on the company’s
leadership in internet TV. Sky is also the UK’s fastest-growing home communications
company and favourite ‘triple-play’ provider of TV, broadband and home phone.

Sky believes in making a wider contribution to the communities in which it operates by
taking positive action on the environment, supporting grassroots sports and increasing
access to, and participation in, the arts. Sky employs 23,000 people, has annual revenues
of GBP6.8 billion and is estimated to support a GBP5.4 billion contribution to UK GDP. Sky
is listed on the London Stock Exchange (BSY). http://www.sky.com/corporate


Source: PR Newswire