Sky has ordered 10 major dramas across its channels, including a four-part Ian Fleming biopic for Sky Atlantic and talent-led Sky Arts projects starring the likes of Vanessa Redgrave and Kylie Minogue, and created by Idris Elba, Matt Smith and Grayson Perry.
The series were ordered by Sky head of drama Anne Mensah and mark the first time the pay-TV broadcaster has taken international rights to drama commissions for distribution via Sky Vision - although it would not reveal which projects it is distributing.
Ecosse Films’ Fleming stars Dominic Cooper as the James Bond creator. The series will be distributed by BBC Worldwide. US cable network BBC America is already on board and it is thought VoD rights in the US are also being discussed.
Ecosse Films founder Douglas Rae said it brought the project to Mensah because Sky had acquired the James Bond feature film library. The series, which was originally developed as a feature film, is based on a John Pearson biography. “Sky Atlantic is aspiring to be like HBO in scale, and that is perfect for us,” Rae said.
Separately, Sky Living has ordered three projects: Bonafide Films’ Gwyneth Hughes-penned Talking To The Dead, Kudos and Pirate co-pro Rubenesque, written by Fresh Meat’s Annie Griffin, and Red Production Companys’ Sally Wainwright- penned The Last Witch.
Sky Arts has commissioned six 30-minute dramas for the latest season of its Playhouse Presents strand, including Eleven Film’s Mr Understood from Grayson Perry; Nightshift, a Company Pictures and Cajun Pictures co-pro written by Jimmy Gardner; and four from Sprout Pictures: Hey Diddly Dee, starring Kylie Minogue and directed by Marc Warren; Cargese, directed by Doctor Who’s Matt Smith; Idris Elba-directed Pavement Psychologist; and Vanessa Redgrave-fronted Union Square.
Mensah said a number of these passion projects had potential to become longer-running series. “When we have great talent come to us with their projects of conviction, we are always open to the discussion - one of the best things about being a subscription business is that we’re able to take more creative risks,” she said.
Fleming (4x1hr, Ecosse Films) – Dominic Cooper stars as Bond creator Ian Fleming
Sky Living HD
Talking To The Dead (2x1hr, Bonafide Films) – Gwyenth Hughes-penned detective series
Rubenesque (1x1hr, Kudos & Pirate) – Annie Griffin’s story of a plus size model
The Last Witch (1x1hr, Red Productions) – Sally Wainwright’s tale of 500 year old witches in modern day Britain
Sky Arts HD
Hey Diddly Dee (1x30mins, Sprout Pictures) – Marc Warren directed, Kylie Minogue-fronted dark comedy
Cargese (1x30mins, Sprout) – Piece of poetic realism directed by Dr Who’s Matt Smith
Mr Understood (1x30mins, Eleven Film) – The story of a young transvestite from Grayson Perry and Kate Hardie
Nightshift (1x30mins, Cajun & Company Pictures) – Jimmy Gardner-penned cop drama
Pavement Psychologist (1x30mins, Sprout) – Idris Elba-directed drama starring Anna Friel
Union Square (1x30mins, Sprout) – Comedy about two policemen starring Vanessa Redgrave