Sky’s Urban Myths TV series returns this spring for another season of unusual, mostly-true stories. The Sky Arts series, which is inspired by the world of art, culture and rock an roll, will unravel the mysterious disappearance of Agatha Christie in 1926, go behind the scenes on the set of the iconic film Some Like it Hot, fathom the creative drug fuelled pairing of Salvador Dali and Alice Cooper, take a peek at David Bowie and Marc Bolan in their decorator overalls, and roam backstage at Live Aid and sympathise with Johnny Cash and the carnage wrought by a killer ostrich.
Fictionalised accounts of events that may or may not have happened, the episodes star a range of big names in their own right, from Gemma Arterton as Marilyn Monroe, Adam Brody as Jack Lemmon, Noel Fielding as Alice Cooper and David Suchet as Salvador Dali. The anthology’s cast also includes Sheila Hancock, Bill Paterson, Alex Pettyfer, Frank Skinner, Dougray Scott, Luke Treadaway and Jack Whitehall.
Phil Edgar-Jones, Director of Sky Arts, says: “We are thrilled to be bringing Urban Myths back to Sky Arts in April 2018. With the first season we knew we’d hit comedy gold, mining the madcap worlds of urban folklore and once again viewers will get to see some of Britain’s most talented actors, writers and directors bring a selection of terrific tales, mostly true, to life.”
A third season of Urban Myths is already in the works featuring a new line up of comedies that will be announced later this year, while Season 1 is already available on-demand. Season 2 premieres on Sky Arts on 12th April at 9pm, with all episodes released at once on-demand at the same time. Don’t have Sky? You can also stream them live and on-demand on NOW TV, as part of a £7.99 monthly Entertainment Pass, with no contract. For more information, click here, or keep reading for the full line-up, in order of weekly broadcast:
Urban Myths: Marilyn Monroe and Billy Wilder
One of Marilyn Monroe’s most iconic roles was undoubtedly that of singer and ukulele player Sugar ‘Kane’ Kowalczyk in the 1959 romantic comedy Some Like It Hot. It is regarded as one of the greatest comedy films of all time but, behind the scenes, America’s sweetheart is struggling to deliver a line. Marilyn runs to Arthur Miller and Paula Strasberg for reassurance, leaving Billy Wilder tearing his hair out and Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon making side-bets. On the forty-seventh take, Marilyn nails it: “It’s me. Sugar!”
Starring Gemma Arteron (Marilyn Monroe), James Purefoy (Billy Wilder), Alex Pettyfer (Tony Curtis), Adam Brody (Jack Lemmon), Felicity Montagu (Paula Strasberg) Dougray Scott (Arthur Miller) and Irfan Shamji (Clapperboard Guy). Written by David Cummings. Directed by Sean Foley. Produced by Zoe Rocha and Little Rock Pictures
Urban Myths: Backstage at Live Aid
Live Aid was not only “the day rock’n ’roll changed the world”, it was also the source of countless backstage music industry rumours. Backstage at Live Aid is a reimagined story that takes place behind the scenes on that unforgettable summer’s afternoon in 1985 as egos clash, hair is sprayed, double denim is completely acceptable and Bob Geldof and long-time personal assistant Marsha Hunt struggle to keep control of the most famous faces of the 80s.
Starring Kerry Howard (Marsha Hunt), Jonas Armstrong (Bob Geldof), Martin Compston (Midge Ure), David Avery (Freddie Mercury), Rufus Jones (Elton John), Seb Cardinal (Ric Parfitt), Dustin Demi-Burns (Francis Rossi), Karla Crome (Sade) and Con O’Neill (Tony). Written by Neil Forsyth. Directed by John Hardwick. Produced by Little Rock Pictures.
Urban Myths: Johnny Cash and the Ostrich
It’s November, 1983. Jean, a hotel manageress in Nottingham, arrives at work to find there’s trouble in room 211, currently occupied by country music legend, Johnny Cash. Eventually persuading him to let her in, they sit amongst the carnage and Cash explains that he has been visited by Waldo, the killer ostrich. In a series of flashbacks, Cash tells Jean how the ostrich attacked him at his theme park, home, The House of Cash in Tennessee, back in ’81 and how that set him on a path of pain-killer addiction and reckless drinking. Now Waldo has turned up in the East Midlands and is aching for revenge.
Starring Frank Skinner (Johnny Cash) and Isy Suttie (Jean). Written by Frank Skinner. Directed by Al Campbell. Produced by Avalon.
Urban Myths: The Dali and the Cooper
Facilitated in suitably surreal fashion by Alice Cooper’s agent Shep Gordon and Salvador Dali’s wife Gala, this is the incredible true story of a fascinating and weird few days in 1970s New York between the artist and his new found muse; one which led to the creation an extraordinary work of art involving a chocolate éclair and a brain.
Starring Noel Fielding (Alice Cooper), David Suchet (Salvador Dali), Paul Kaye (Shep Gordon) and Sheila Hancock (Gala Dali) with guest performance by Serge Pizzorno and music by Jarvis Cocker and Richard Hawley. Written by Roger Drew and Ed Dyson. Directed by Iain Forsyth & Jane Pollard. Produced by Richard Yee and Krishnendu Majumdar for Me & You Productions.
Urban Myths: David Bowie and Marc Bolan
It’s the swinging 60s and teenagers David and Marc are yet to hit the big time. In fact, such is their lack of success they are costing their manager Les Conn money. So in lieu of payment the two spend an afternoon painting Les’s Soho office, an event which will springboard a lifelong friendship between the two young men who will eventually be known around the world as music legends David Bowie and Marc Bolan.
Starring Jack Whitehall (Marc Bolan), Luke Treadaway (David Bowie) and Ade Edmonson (Les Conn). Written by Freddy Syborn. Directed by Jim O’Hanlon. Produced by Lion TV.
Urban Myths: Agatha Christie
Agatha Christie’s mysterious 11 day disappearance in 1926 gripped the nation and set off one of the biggest manhunts ever mounted. In desperation, Britain’s most famous crime writers of the time, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Dorothy L. Sayers, were drafted in to help the search. As they took matters into their own hands with their contrasting methods of detection, this was the beginning of crime’s most unlikely investigative partnership: Sayers and Conan Doyle, together at last and on the hunt for Agatha Christie.
Starring Anna Maxwell Martin (Agatha Christie), Bill Paterson (Sir Arthur Conan Doyle), Rosie Cavaliero (Dorothy L. Sayers), Adrian Scarborough (Inspector Danders) and Robert James-Collier (Colonel Archie Christie). Written by Paul Doolan and Abigail Wilson. Directed by Guillem Morales. Produced by John Rushton. Executive Producers Lucy Lumsden and Lucy Ansbro. Produced by Yellow Door Productions.
Urban Myths: Public Enemy
Multimillionaire rap legends Public Enemy are stranded, desperately trying to get to their gig in Sheffield. With time running out, their knight in shining armour arrives in the form of Kev, an unassuming local and huge Public Enemy fan who offers the heralded Flavor Flav and Chuck D a lift in his Ford Focus. Cue a funny and thought-provoking road trip set against a soundtrack of Bohemian Rhapsody.
Starring Philip Glenister (Kev, the local guy), Paterson Joseph (Chuck D), Abdul Salis (Flavor Flav). Written by Neil Webster. Directed by Ben Palmer. Produced by Happy Tramp.
Urban Myths: The Sex Pistols vs. Bill Grundy
This is the re-imagined story behind The Sex Pistols’ infamous appearance on Bill Grundy’s show in 1976, a year before their legendary debut album Never Mind the Bollocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols was released. The foul-mouthed encounter catapulted The Sex Pistols into the public eye and signalled the arrival of mainstream punk, while simultaneously destroying Grundy’s career – and all because of a last minute cancellation by Freddie Mercury.
Starring Daniel Mays (Mike Housego), Steve Pemberton (Bill Grundy), Kieran Hodgson (Malcolm McLaren), Kayvan Novak (Freddie Mercury) Frankie Fox (Johnny Rotten) and cast members from the National Youth Theatre. Written by Simon Nye. Directed by Simon Delaney. Produced by Spelthorne Community TV.