Sky takes on Netflix as it steps up original content spend for 2018
James R | On 28, Nov 2017
Sky is stepping up its competition with Netflix, as the broadcaster plans to increase its spend on original content for 2018.
Group Chief Executive Jeremy Darroch’s pledged earlier this year to increase investment in original productions by 25 per cent, as Sky responds to demand from customers for more high-quality programming. In the last year, Sky originals such as Riviera and Tin Star have attracted record audiences, and now, Sky is cementing that commitment, taking the number of original series on Sky in 2018 to over 50, of which 24 are returning shows.
Managing Director, Content Gary Davey says: “There’s never been a more competitive time to be in the content business and I’m incredibly excited by the scale, quality and authenticity of the UK TV industry right now. Next year will see over 50 Sky Original Productions on air and over 20 of these will be returners – a testament to the popularity of our shows – and it doesn’t stop there, with our increased investment, the focus for 2018 remains getting even better on screen.”
Following its phenomenal success earlier this year Sky’s best-performing original series to date, Riviera will return with Julia Stiles reprising the role of Georgina Clios for another high-octane series about the lives of the super-rich on the Côte d’Azur. Jack Whitehall’s comedy thriller Bounty Hunters is set to return for more action and adventure. And brand-new drama Gangs of London, a fresh and original gangland thriller, will take viewers on an adrenaline-fuelled journey into the hidden heart of the capital. Added to these are more true (ish) tales from cultural history with three brand-new comedies from Sky Arts’ Urban Myths series. Rolling Stone and acclaimed painter Ronnie Wood visits some of the most iconic art institutions in the country sketching, painting and providing a unique insight into what makes each place special in Ronnie Wood Artist in Residence. And in brand-new entertainment show Loot, eight ordinary citizens play an extraordinary game…
With British talent including Idris Elba (In the Long Run), Benedict Cumberbatch (Patrick Melrose), Lennie James (Save Me), Suranne Jones (Save Me) and David Morrissey (Britannia) already set to appear on screen in 2018, the eight newly Sky Original Productions announced see that list expand to include Noel Fielding, David Suchet, Paul Kaye, Ade Edmondson, Paterson Joseph and Abdul Salis, plus Luke Treadaway, Sheila Hancock, Philip Glenister and more.
Here’s a new trailer for Sky’s 2018 line-up – read on below for more details on what’s on the way:
Patrick Melrose, Sky Atlantic
A brand-new, five-part drama starring Benedict Cumberbatch as the eponymous antihero – an aristocratic, outrageously funny playboy who undertakes a harrowing yet humorous decades-spanning odyssey through the south of France, New York and Britain as he comes to terms with the effects of childhood trauma, substance abuse and myriad family crises. Written by BAFTA award nominee David Nicholls (Far from the Madding Crowd, One Day).
A Discovery of Witches, Sky One
What happens when a witch and a vampire fall in love? History professor and closet witch Diana Bishop and geneticist and secret vampire Matthew Clairmont find out when they are thrown together in pursuit of the truth behind a strange manuscript found in the University of Oxford’s Bodleian Library. Based on Deborah Harkness’s bestselling novel, the series stars Teresa Palmer (Hacksaw Ridge) and Matthew Goode (Donwton Abbey).
Save Me, Sky Atlantic
From the company behind Line of Duty, Save Me is created and written by Lennie James (Critical) and directed by BAFTA winner Nick Murphy. Save Me brings a unique and unlikely hero to Sky Atlantic in the form of Nelson ‘Nelly’ Rowe (James) – a man who ‘likes a drink’, whose days are bookended by his first can and his last pint. Nelly’s world is turned upside down when he is arrested and accused of kidnapping his 13 year old daughter he barely knew existed. Jody’s mother, Claire (Suranne Jones) who shared a ‘summer of love’ with Nelly 14 years ago, is convinced of Nelly’s guilt. So Nelly sets out to clear his name, find the real perpetrator and save his daughter. With the help of his community, Nelly will stop at nothing in his life-changing quest for the truth. But the further he travels, the more he realises the answers lie closer to home than he could ever have thought – or dared to believe…”
Bulletproof, Sky One
These two would probably die for each other, and in this game, it could come to that. Noel Clarke and Ashley Walters star as Bishop and Pike, two streetwise London cops who strap up, strap in and speed around the city crushing crime, from robbery and kidnap to murder. But work occasionally has to take a back seat as family man Pike tries to escape his father’s shadow, and brooding bad boy Bishop smashes headlong into a personal crisis he never saw coming.
Britannia, Sky Atlantic
No one wants to be civilised. Written by the multi-award-winning Jez Butterworth (Spectre), Britannia is an epic journey into the dark, wild and unruly world of Britain in 43AD. The Imperial Roman Army – determined and terrified in equal measure – has returned to crush the Celtic heart of Britannia, a mysterious land ruled by wild warrior women and powerful druids. The Celts are a fearsome tribe who will stop at nothing to protect their nation, beliefs and honour, and their most dangerous weapon is the Druids, a mystical tribe whose immortality, through links to a powerful, dark underworld, makes them a force unlike any the Romans have faced before. Starring Kelly Reilly, David Morrissey, Zoë Wanamaker and Mackenzie Crook.
A huge hit with viewers this autumn, Bounty Hunters was Sky One’s biggest sitcom launch since 2011. Season 2 of the comedy thriller from writing team Jack Whitehall and Freddy Syborn will see Barnaby (Jack Whitehall) and Nina (Rosie Perez) back with a bang – quite literally – ready for more adventures and scrapes in the second instalment of this hit show. Bounty Hunters is a Cave Bear and Tiger Aspect Production for Sky and will be produced by Ben Cavey and Pippa Brown.
Riviera 2 sees Julia Stiles reunited with cast members Lena Olin, Roxane Duran and Dimitri Leonidas for a second series of Sky Atlantic’s record-breaking drama. Viewers will be transported back to the stunning sun-soaked setting of the Côte D’Azur, to see what lies ahead for the Clios family after the explosively thrilling finale to series one. Riviera is a Sky Original Production in association with Altice. Produced by Archery Pictures, Primo Productions and Sky, the Executive Producers are Kris Thykier, Paul McGuinness and Cameron Roach. International distribution is being handled by Sky Vision.
Gangs of London (w/t)
This series is set in present day London – a dynamic and multicultural city that’s being torn apart by the turbulent power struggles of the international gangs in control. When the head of a criminal organisation is assassinated, the sudden power vacuum his death creates threatens the fragile peace between the intricate web of gangs operating on the streets of the city. Coming to Sky Atlantic in 2019, Gangs of London (w/t) is created and executive produced by Gareth Evans, director of the award-winning The Raid film franchise and co-commissioned with Cinemax. The series was developed and will be produced by Pulse Films (American Honey) in association with Sister Pictures.
Urban Myths: When Bowie Met Bolan
Urban Myths: When Bowie Met Bolan brings to life the story of when Davie Jones first met Mark Feld. As struggling teenage musicians, they were both summoned to their manager Les Conn’s office in Denmark Street one morning and, in lieu of them making him any actual money by selling any records, asked to repaint his office. Starring Luke Treadaway as David Bowie, Jack Whitehall as Marc Bolan and Ade Edmondson as Les Conn, the show is directed by Jim O’Hanlon, produced by Richard Grocock, written by Freddy Syborn and executive produced by Simon Welton. When Bowie Met Bolan is made by Lion TV for Sky Arts. International distribution is being handled by Sky Vision.
Urban Myths: The Dali and The Cooper
Urban Myths: The Dali and The Cooper tells the incredible true story of Alice Cooper’s encounter with Salvador Dali in New York in 1973. Over the course of a few days, Alice Cooper was invited to one of the most surreal dinner parties ever by Dali before being asked to pose in a photo-shoot for one of the world’s first holograms while wearing a tiara made up of $2million worth of gems while brandishing a shish-kebabbed statuette of the Venus De Milo. Starring David Suchet as Salvador Dali, Noel Fielding as Alice Cooper, Shelia Hancock as Gala Dali and Paul Kaye as Shep Gordon. Written by Roger Drew and Ed Dyson, the show is directed by Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard, produced by Krishnendu Majumdar and Richard Yee, with composers Jarvis Cocker and Richard Hawley. The Dali and The Cooper is a Me & You production for Sky Arts. International distribution is being handled by Sky Vision.
Ronnie Wood: Artist in Residence
Ronnie Wood: Artist in Residence plucks Ronnie from the rock environment of The Rolling Stones and transports him to the rarefied surroundings of the UK’s most iconic cultural institutions, from the Royal Opera House to the Royal Albert Hall and from Shakespeare’s Theatre to Sadler’s Wells. He’ll immerse himself in each institution – meeting the characters, observing the production, the preparations, the place and all the people involved. He’ll sketch, paint and reveal through his art, and the experience he has in creating it, a unique insight into what makes each place so special. The executive producer is Ian Sharpe and producer-director is Chris Walker. The series is made by Somethin’ Else for Sky Arts.
Loot starts in a small British town, where eight ordinary citizens are about to play an extraordinary game; they’ve been tipped off that some valuable treasure has been abandoned. If they can lay their hands on it and hide the loot for two weeks from detectives determined to track them down, it’s all theirs to keep. But as news of the missing treasure sweeps through the town and the crack team of detectives gets to work, will these unusual suspects have the cunning and nerve to outwit the investigators? Or will the detectives, using old-fashioned sleuthing techniques combined with modern technology, be their downfall? Produced by Shine TV, the creative director is Tim Whitwell, executive producer is Matt Bennett, series editor Tom Hutchings and the series producers are Gayl Paterson and Ben Allen.