Today Sky announced a whole raft of new shows coming to the network, with a diverse collection of drama (and a new Karl Pilkington show!) commissioned, hailing a massive new commitment to original British drama. They plan to invest £600 million a year in home-grown programming by 2014, an increase of 50% over three years. Here’s a list of what you’ll be seeing for all that cash:
Fleming (Sky Atlantic)
Starring Dominic Cooper (Captain America, Mamma Mia!, My Week with Marilyn), Fleming is a new 4 part drama about the lift of Bond creator Ian Fleming. For those that don’t know his background, Fleming’s genuine life story is as interesting as his famous creation!
Living a bit of a playboy lifestyle when WWII hits, Fleming finds himself forced into the Naval Intelligence… But instead of flailing under the pressure of having to work, he excelled, using his vivid imagination, charm and mischievous sense of humour he to create some of the most outrageous counter intelligence missions of the war.
The Tunnel (Sky Atlantic)
Adaptation of Danish/Swedish TV series ‘The Bridge’, where the body of a prominent politician is discovered, severed, with half in one country, and half in the other, leading to both sides having jurisdiction. In this version, the Bridge is switched for the ‘Channel Tunnel’, leaving the English and French having to work together. It’s a co-production with the French channel Canal+, and Kudos (who made Spooks, Life on Mars, Hustle etc…) Ben Richards (Spooks, No Angels, Outcasts) heads up the writing team.
Moonfleet (Sky 1)
A two-part adaptation of the John Meade Falkner’s pirate and smuggling novel ‘Moonfleet’. Written by Life on Mars, Ashes to Ashes scribe Ashley Pharaoh, it looks to be another one of those classic big budget dramas Sky has got so good at doing!
THE MOANING OF LIFE with Karl Pilkington (Sky 1)
After turning 40, Karl has decided to swap forced into round-the-world traveling stunts for Ricky & Steve, for a more personal journey of self-discovery… round-the-world… “I’ve been on the planet for 40 years now, and I’m still none the wiser as to what it’s all about really. I’ve never worried about life’s big questions. People at my age sit about pondering about‘why are we here?’ The only time I ever asked meself that is when Suzanne booked us a surprise holiday to Lanzarote.”
So, it’s sounding rather like an Idiot Abroad, but without Ricky setting stupid tasks. Given that when Karl goes ‘off book’ to try something himself, it’s usually vastly entertaining anyway, I don’t think it’s a great loss!
Mad Dogs : The Finale (Sky 1)
The BAFTA-nominated drama starring Max Beesley, Philip Glenister, John Simm and Marc Warren is back soon with season 3, but will also have an additional final two-episodes to see a proper close to the last story.
Playhouse Presents (Sky Arts)
Playhouse Presents did brilliantly for Sky last year, so it’s no surprise it returns again this year. The new season 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.
Dracula (Sky Living)
Don’t know a lot about this, other than it’s a co-production with NBC, it’s based on a script from comic book writer, Cole Haddon, stars Jonathan Rhys Myers (The Tudors), and begins filming this summer.
Other shows of note include:
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 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 station.
Strike Back (Sky 1) – starring Philip Winchester and Sullivan Stapleton, returns for a fourth series later this year.