Sky has added a slate of nine new Sky original documentaries and factual shows ahead of the launch of its new factual channels, Sky Documentaries and Sky Nature.

The new feature length documentaries and series include definitive biographies of Stephen Hawking and Tina Turner with exclusive access to the star herself, alongside a look at Hollywood legend Steve McQueen. Two sports documentaries include The United Way about Manchester United, led by legend Eric Cantona and Tyson Bruno, a feature length film charting the sensational highs and lows of two of boxing’s biggest icons.

Lancaster is the story of the legendary Lancaster Bomber, synonymous with the Dambusters, and the brave servicemen that flew them. Music docs include The Go-Go’s which looks at the pioneering female punk band and Look Away, a documentary which looks at the darker side of rock and a subject that has been glossed over for decades: statutory rape.

In a landmark natural history series, Sky Nature introduces Shark with Steve Backshall, a series committed to dispelling the myth of sharks as cold-blooded killers, showing the misunderstood predator in a brand-new light.

Sky’s Managing Director of Content, Zai Bennett, said: “These new commissions showcase Sky’s investment in world-class original content and the breadth and range of factual shows our customers will be able to find on Sky Documentaries and Sky Nature. With the launch of these two new services and Sky HISTORY, we want to provide viewers with compelling, engaging and informative TV, a place where nature and documentary fans can gravitate to.”

Sky Documentaries and Sky Nature, alongside the rebranded Sky HISTORY launch on Wednesday 27th May, and will be available to all Sky and NOW TV. The new shows are currently in production and will air at the end of 2020 and into 2021. The shows have been commissioned by Zai Bennett, MD of Content at Sky UK & Ireland, and Jamie Morris, Director of Programme Strategy. Tina Turner, The Go-Go’s and Lancaster were also negotiated by Jack Oliver, Head of Co-Productions, Sky Entertainment.

Here are Sky’s details about the new commissions

Biographical Documentaries

Hawking (1 x 90’)
Sky Documentaries and NOW TV. A Sky original documentary, produced by Atlantic Productions, in association with Sky Studios.

Hawking is a new 90-minute feature documentary about the life of Professor Stephen Hawking. The film produced by multi-Bafta winning Atlantic Productions, explores the remarkable human story of the man who became one of the most iconic physicists of the 20th Century. It draws on private family archive – footage and stills – and includes interviews with his family, friends and colleagues.

McQueen: The Lost Movie (1 x 90’)
Sky Documentaries and NOW TV. A Sky original documentary, produced by Associated Rediffusion Productions, in association with Sky Studios.

Hollywood icon Steve McQueen would have been 90 years old in 2020. Tragically, he never made it past 50, but in a short career reached global superstar status as the male lead of many of the most memorable films of the 1960s and ’70s, such as ‘The Great Escape’, ‘Bullitt’ and ‘The Towering Inferno’. One film from his prime mid-1960s era was started but never completed, and all materials from it were thought to have been long-lost or destroyed. But the fate of these missing reels only tells part of this tale, and the full behind-the-screens story – which plays like something out of ‘Once Upon A Time in Hollywood’ – will have to be seen to be believed.

Tina Turner
Sky Documentaries and NOW TV. A Sky original documentary produced by Lightbox.

The story of an icon from the Oscar-winning filmmakers behind UNDEFEATED and SEARCHING FOR SUGAR MAN. With over 200 million record sales worldwide, 12 Grammy Awards and the holder of the Guinness World Record for selling more concert tickets than any solo performer in history, Tina Turner’s road to global superstardom is an undeniable story of triumph over adversity. As this documentary with exclusive access to the star will show you, it is the ultimate story of survival.

Culture and Current Affairs Documentaries

The Go-Go’s (1 x 90’)
Sky Documentaries and NOW TV. A Sky original documentary produced by Fine Point Films and Fadoo Productions in association with Polygram Entertainment, Universal Music Publishing Group and Interscope Films.

With candid interviews from the band themselves and other industry insiders, The Go-Go’s examines how an all-female punk band in the 80s changed perceptions, broke down barriers and made history, paving the way for future musicians, particularly women. This documentary digs deep into the annals of Go-Go’s history and how, despite the pressure of fame and painful consequences of success, the group became a global phenomenon.

Look Away (1 x 90’)
Sky Documentaries and NOW TV. A Sky original documentary produced by Top Hat Productions.

This documentary takes a stark look at the darker side of rock and a subject society has glossed over for years: statutory rape. For the first time, women who were groomed in their early teenage years open up about their experiences and offer a genuine and unfiltered insight into their conflicting emotions. As the power imbalance surrounding their experiences is highlighted, this documentary explores the lengths the music industry went to in order to protect its own.

Sports Documentaries

Tyson Bruno (1 x 90’)
Sky Documentaries and NOW TV. A Sky original documentary, produced by Workerbee, part of Endemol Shine UK, in association with Sky Studios.

This historic feature length film charts the sensational highs and lows of two of the world’s most iconic black sportsmen, capped off with a reunion between the two foes. One hero, one villain: this is the story of America’s ‘baddest man on the planet’ Iron Mike Tyson as the friend and enemy of Britain’s gentle giant, Frank Bruno and the fascinating story of the way their lives remained connected like two sides of the same coin.

The United Way (1 x 100’)
Sky Documentaries and NOW TV. A Sky original documentary, a Matthew Lorenzo Production presented by Ingenious Media in Association with; Ad Hoc Films, Embankment Films and Cantilever Media.

The story of Manchester United is one of the ultimate stories of our time and it has never been fully told this way before. This highly cinematic one-off feature documentary relays the swirling rise of an iconic sporting dynasty with comprehensive, unseen footage, untold anecdotes and unprecedented depth. All led by the legendary Eric Cantona, who provides the creative and storytelling spine throughout the film. Think ‘Rome’ but in the sphere of sport – Old Trafford is the Colosseum, the titanic managers Sir Alex Ferguson and Sir Matt Busby are the Emperors.


Historical Documentaries

Sky Documentaries and NOW TV. A Sky original documentary produced by Tall Boy Films Ltd.

From the team behind the box-office hit SPITFIRE comes the second film in a trilogy commemorating iconic WWII aircraft. LANCASTER tells the story of the legendary bomber synonymous with the Dambusters and the night raids against Nazi Germany. This film is testimony to the bravery and resilience of the service men and women who flew and supported the missions and the deep lasting affect it had on them.

Nature Programming

Shark with Steve Backshall (3 x 60’)
Sky Nature and NOW TV. A Sky original series, produced by True to Nature and Sky Studios.

Presented by naturalist and shark expert, Steve Backshall, this landmark natural history series celebrates the wonder of sharks and dispels the myth of sharks as cold-blooded killers. This series takes viewers on a global journey, from tropical coasts into the open ocean to deep down into the depths of our seas and explores what can be done to save sharks.  Steve comes eye to eye with the most feared, yet misunderstood predator, to reveal them in a brand-new light.

Jon Creamer

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