Sky has announced a raft of new shows coming to its content slate, across Sky Original drama, comedy, entertainment, arts and factual programming.
During the Sky ‘Spotlight’ panel at the Edinburgh International TV Festival, Zai Bennett (MD of Content, Sky UK&I), Meghan Lyvers (Director of Original Drama, Sky Studios), Poppy Dixon (Director of Documentaries and Factual, Sky) and Dwayne Eaton (Commissioning Exec, Arts and Entertainment, Sky) revealed news and sizzles, featuring the likes of Julianne Moore (Mary & George) and Harvey Keitel (The Tattooist of Auschwitz), set to appear on Sky in the next twelve months.
Zai Bennett says: “At Sky we must deliver to our customers content worth paying for, and it’s with that lens we carefully consider which shows to commission and acquire across all genres, making sure we deliver some of their favourite shows of the year, with world class talent, on and off the screen.
“We’re pleased to announce a cohort of brand-new shows for our world-leading free-to-air Sky Arts channel, led by Dickens’ Italy with David Harewood, and continuing our mission to bring the arts to everyone. We are also building on the successful launch of our Sky Kids linear channel, with thoughtful, creative kids’ content, that parents can trust. We’re looking forward to premiering the climate change documentary, Save Our Wildlife, to coincide with COP28, featuring eight-year-old conservationist Aneeshwar.”
Poppy Dixon, comments: “With Sky Documentaries we aim to bring our audience incredible true stories, made by the best storytellers in the business – which we’re proud to showcase in the richly compelling narrative of Louis Theroux’s Tell Them You Love Me, as well as in the riveting, thought-provoking series House of Kardashian. We also could not be more delighted to announce our ground-breaking natural history series, Secret World of Sound with David Attenborough, set to premiere next year.”
Meghan Lyvers says: “We know Sky Original Comedy and Drama is loved by Sky customers, and so we are excited to bring them an unmissable line up of series in the coming year. These include Mary & George, starring Julianne Moore, as well as an ambitious adaptation of The Tattooist of Auschwitz, which will be scored by Academy Award-winner Hans Zimmer and Kara Talve. We also revealed today that our much-loved comedy series Funny Woman, starring Gemma Arterton, is returning for a second season.”
Dwayne Eaton comments: “Our Entertainment line-up at Sky continues to go from strength to strength and we’re so excited that one of the UK’s favourite television presenters, Alison Hammond, will take up the role as team captain on our brand-new TV quiz panel show, Rob Beckett’s Smart TV, with host Beckett, and opposing team captain Josh Widdicombe.
“We can’t wait for Rob Beckett’s Smart TV to join our award-winning entertainment slate, sitting alongside the likes of Never Mind the Buzzcocks and A League of Their Own.”
The Tattooist of Auschwitz
TX DATE: 2024
Sky and Peacock announce today that multi-Academy Award®-winning composer Hans Zimmer (Inception, Interstellar, Dune) and Kara Talve (Prehistoric Planet) will compose the score for the upcoming adaptation of the globally bestselling novel, The Tattooist of Auschwitz, produced by Synchronicity Films in association with Sky Studios and All3Media International.
The limited series, which completed filming in Europe this summer and stars Jonah Hauer-King, (The Little Mermaid, World on Fire), Anna Próchniak (Baptiste, Warsaw 44), Harvey Keitel (The Irishman, Youth), Melanie Lynskey (The Last of Us, Yellowjackets), and Jonas Nay (Deutschland 83, 86, 89), is set to debut globally next year and will be the first TV drama series fully composed by Hans Zimmer and Kara Talve.
Zimmer, who is best known for his iconic soundtracks to movies The Lion King, Rain Man, Gladiator, and The Dark Knight, will work alongside Kara Talve who is set to score Baz Luhrmann’s upcoming project, Faraway Downs, and is part of Bleeding Fingers, an Emmy-winning and BAFTA-nominated composer collective that was co-founded by Zimmer.
Hans Zimmer says: “Within the depths of Auschwitz, here is a story of hope and love, that transcends boundaries and resonates with the very essence of our humanity. I stand humbled to be part of this extraordinary production and both Kara and I are deeply privileged to compose this score. We invite you to join us on this journey, as we celebrate the human spirit and the power of hope within the darkest corners of history.”
Kara Talve says: “This is a dream project for me; not only does it challenge me artistically but also deeply resonates personally. Like millions of others, my family perished in the camps and to have the privilege to work alongside this incredibly talented team and help bring this story of hope to life has been a unique chance to reflect and as it stands has been the most honorable undertaking of my career thus far.”
In series one, Barbara from Blackpool realised her dream and became TV comedy star, Sophie Straw, the nation’s favourite. In series two, Sophie finds out that ‘having a voice’ doesn’t mean it will be heard and that fame is a fickle friend. Fed up with being the comic muse in old school comedy shows, Sophie tries her hand at arthouse cinema hoping it will be more progressive – it isn’t! Undeterred, Sophie decides to create her own comedy show where she can tell authentic stories in all their messy and hilarious glory. She’s found her voice, and no one can stop her using it! She learns that the power is in the word.
Funny Woman is produced by Potboiler and Rebel Park Productions, in association with Sky Studios. Executive produced by Nick Hornby, Gemma Arterton, Andrea Calderwood, Gail Egan, Jessica Parker and Jessica Malik. The series is written by multi-award-winning writer Morwenna Banks and directed by BAFTA nominee Oliver Parker. Tilusha Ghelani commissioned the project for Sky Studios.
House of Kardashian
TX DATE: Autumn 2023
No other family defines our time or divides opinion like the Kardashians. To some they are admired as a dynasty of powerful women, inspiring girls across the planet. To others they are untalented and morally bankrupt reality stars, who are damaging women by selling their life as a superficial fairytale.
House of Kardashian, a three-part documentary series, aims to confound expectations and challenge what society knows of the Kardashians, exploring their rise, reach and the cost that comes with being some of the most famous women in the world and features never-before-seen archive footage, as well as exclusive, first-hand testimony from those in the family’s inner circle, including Caitlyn Jenner.
The series was commissioned by Poppy Dixon, Director of Documentaries and Factual at Sky and Hayley Reynolds, Commissioning Editor, on behalf of Zai Bennett, MD of Content, Sky UK&I. House of Kardashian is series directed by Katie Hindley and executive produced by Clare Cameron, alongside 72 Films’ Creative Director John Douglas.
Fremantle is handling the international distribution of the documentary series, excluding the USA.
Tell Them You Love Me (1×120)
TX DATE: November 2023
Tell Them You Love Me explores the extraordinary story of Anna Stubblefield, an esteemed university professor who becomes embroiled in a controversial affair with Derrick Johnson, a non-verbal black man with cerebral palsy. Anna says she unlocked Derrick’s mind from his body by teaching him to communicate using a keyboard.
But when Derrick’s family begin to question his miraculous transformation, and Anna’s intentions, it would lead to a criminal trial that would challenge our perceptions of disability and the nature of consent.
Through exclusive footage and interviews with those on both sides of the case, this feature documentary weaves a riveting and endlessly nuanced story about communication, race, and sex.
Tell Them You Love Me is produced by Mindhouse and has been commissioned for Sky Documentaries by Zai Bennett, MDof Content, Sky UK&I, Poppy Dixon, Director of Documentaries and Factual and Hayley Reynolds, Commissioning Editor. The Sky Original film is directed by Nick August-Perna and produced by Tamara Rosenberg and Andrea Debrito whilst Rachel Duncan serves as production manager and Suzy Burnet as production executive. Louis Theroux and Arron Fellows are the executive producers and Leroy F Moore Jr. is consultant producer.
Secret World of Sound with David Attenborough (3×60)
TX DATE: Spring 2024
David Attenborough explores the extraordinary ways that animals hear and produce sound, and the crucial role sound plays in the lives of animals around the globe – from birth to surviving adulthood and finding a mate. Using cutting-edge recording technology and 360-degree Dolby Atmos soundscapes, this immersive, ground-breaking series places sound centre stage for the first time.
We witness how baby caiman communicate with each other from within the egg, how lions and hyaenas battle in the dark using sound, how a strange fish baffled local residents with its eerie hum, and how some birds have mastered the art of mimicry to remarkable effect. Packed with wonder, insight and new scientific discoveries, Secret World of Sound with David Attenborough will transport viewers into an unforgettable experience.
Secret World of Sound with David Attenborough was commissioned for Sky Documentaries by Zai Bennett, MD of Content, Sky UK&I, Poppy Dixon, Director of Documentaries & Factual and Tom Barry, Commissioning Editor. It is produced by Humble Bee Films (UK) Infield Fly Productions (Canada) in association with Netflix. Executive producers are Stephen Dunleavy and Dugald Maudsley, series producer is Sharmila Choudhury.
Dickens in Italy/Dickens: Phantoms and Fictions
TX DATE: Christmas 2023
Actor and writer David Harewood fronts brand new, two-part series, Dickens in Italy with David Harewood (w/t), as he follows in the footsteps of one of the world’s most famous writers and his little-known journey through Italy’s most beautiful cities. Reframing the idea that Dickens was a quintessentially English writer, David will uncover Italy’s influence on Dickens’ writing style, political beliefs and its personal impact as he traces the novelist’s Grand Tour through Venice, Naples, Genoa and Rome.
David Harewood commented: “Dickens has millions of avid readers, and his works remain enduringly popular the world over. His time in Italy is little-known and often disregarded, yet it was completely formative for him personally, politically and informed the writing style which captured so much attention. I’m looking forward to following his path and uncovering some new stories about the writer we all know so well.”
Also coming this Christmas, one-off documentary Dickens: Phantoms and Fictions explores the haunting world of Charles Dickens’ supernatural tales, delving into his eerie and atmospheric worlds through actor readings and archive footage, and exploring the popularity of ghost stories during the Victorian era.
Dickens in Italy with David Harewood (2×60) and Dickens: Phantoms and Fictions (1×60) were commissioned by Phil Edgar-Jones, Director of Sky Arts, for Zai Bennett, MD of Content, Sky UK & I. The Commissioning Editor for Sky is Benedetta Pinelli (Dickens: Phantoms and Fictions) and the Assistant Commissioner is Leanne Cosby (Dickens in Italy). Dickens in Italy with David Harewood and Dickens: Phantoms and Fictions are produced by Section 52 Films. Dickens in Italy with David Harewood is co-produced with Ballandi. These will be the first two productions for Section 52 Films co-founded by David Harewood and Sabina Emrit Harper.
Battle of the Bagpipes
Coming to Sky Arts next year, three-part documentary series Battle of the Bagpipes will lift the lid on piping traditions, culture, and its star players as they all compete for the ultimate piping prize. Following military and civilian pipe bands all striving to be the best of the best, this new series proves that piping is not for the faint-hearted.
Viewers will uncover the fiercely competitive audition process for the Lone Piper at the Royal Military Tattoo and follow new recruits taking part in their first piping competition in the hope to be selected for a once-in-a-lifetime piping opportunity at the King’s Coronation. Meanwhile, long-time rival pipe bands go head-to-head at the fiercest competition in the piping world: Glasgow’s World Pipe Band Championships.
Battle of the Bagpipes (3×60) was commissioned by Phil Edgar-Jones, Director of Sky Arts, for Zai Bennett, MD of Content, Sky UK&I. The Commissioning Editor for Sky is Barbara Lee. Battle of the Bagpipes is produced by Spun Gold TV.
TITLE Save our Wildlife
TX DATE 9 October 2023
Eight-year-old conservationist Aneeshwar is demanding action to save our planet. Not just for humans, but also for the wildlife that lives alongside us. In our latest climate change documentary, Aneeshwar and five friends from around the world will focus on the threats facing six iconic species.
From walruses to Bengal tigers, green sea turtles to majestic Monarch butterflies – we’ll find out why the populations are in decline and what can be done to try and save them. These are animals that could become extinct over the next fifty years unless the world leaders gathering at COP28 in Dubai take immediate action to tackle the climate emergency.
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