Sky unveils 2020 slate of original programmes
James R | On 15, Feb 2020
Sky is seriously stepping up its investment in original programming, unveiling a slate of 80 original series to hit Sky screens in 2020 – an increase of 25 per cent year-on-year from 2019, together with a 40 per cent boost in the volume of programming from the US.
Sky is committed to more than doubling its investment in original content by 2024 through Sky Studios, as well as the proposed development of Sky Studios Elstree, a new state-of-the-art TV and film studio in North London.
The news was unveiled at Sky’s Up Next showcase event at the Tate Modern this week. The line-up includes a drama about Roald Dahl and Beatrix POtter, a parademic comedy from Samson Kayo and a dark comedy adapted from the novel Sweetpea.
Here’s the full list of new original shows:
The Tale of the Curious Mouse (Sky One)
From the makers of Sherlock and Dracula. The Tail of the Curious Mouse is a heart-warming, Christmas film for Sky One inspired by the true story of when a young Roald Dahl met his hero, Beatrix Potter. With Beatrix (Dawn French) coming to the end of her career and Roald aged only six and having recently lost his father and sister, this meeting of two literary legends was to have an enormous impact on the lives of both writers.
The Tail of the Curious Mouse was commissioned by Jon Mountague, Sky Studios’ Director of Comedy and Zai Bennett, Sky’s Managing Director of Content and will be produced by Hartswood Films. Written by Abi Wilson, the show is executive produced by Elaine Cameron for Hartswood Films.
Bloods (Sky One)
BAFTA-nominated Samson Kayo (Famalam, Timewasters) and Golden Globe-nominated Jane Horrocks (Absolutely Fabulous, Little Voice) star in six-part comedy series Bloods as paramedic partners in the South London ambulance service. When tough-acting loner Maleek is paired with over-friendly divorcee Wendy, their partnership looks dead on arrival. But pretty soon they’re giving each other life support. An ensemble comedy, set within the fast-paced, never-ending rush of 999 call outs, Bloods charts Maleek and Wendy’s struggle to gain the respect of their fellow paramedics.
Jane Horrocks said: “I am very much looking forward to working on Bloods and being paired with the extremely funny Samson Kayo. I know nothing of the world of paramedics, but maybe I need to overcome my fear of blood before I start.”
Samson Kayo said: “I’m super excited to show the world Bloods especially because I almost became a paramedic. Lucky for the NHS, I chose to play the character instead! I’m looking forward to hopefully bringing a bag of laughs to Sky with the lovely team at Roughcut who have some quality comedies under their belt!”
Bloods was commissioned by Jon Mountague, Sky Studios’ Director of Comedy. Tilusha Ghelani is commissioning editor for Sky Studios. Created by Samson Kayo and Nathan Bryon. It is written by Nathan Bryon and Paul Doolan (Trollied) and produced by Seb Barwell (Stath Lets Flats). The executive producers for Roughcut are Ash Atalla (The Office, The IT Crowd) and Alex Smith (Trollied). Bloods will be distributed by NBCUniversal Global Distribution on behalf of Sky Studios.
Safe Space (Sky One)
Greg Davies is a demotivated small-time psychotherapist heading nowhere fast until fate intervenes in the form of a new client; his rising star local MP. A dark web of revelations lead to a serious breach of client confidentially. A tale of control, power and how idiotic it makes us.
Written by Greg Davies & Stephen Morrison. Produced by Avalon (Taskmaster, Breeders, Catastrophe,The Russell Howard Hour, and Last Week Tonight With John Oliver).
Redknapps’ Weekend Warm Up (Sky One)
A new entertainment series hosted by football and entertainment star, Jamie Redknapp, his dad, footy legend and national treasure, Harry Redknapp, and his best mate, BAFTA winning comedian, Tom Davis. The manager, Harry, the player, Jamie and the fan, Tom are inviting the biggest and best names in show business and sport to join them, and a lively audience, for an evening packed full of laughter, topical football talk, celebrity chat, and thoroughly entertaining VTs – as well as Harry’s unique anecdotes.
Jamie Redknapp said: “When the opportunity came along to work with two of my favourite people I couldn’t refuse. Big T is one of my favourite comedians and of course my Dad knows how to crack a joke too. I’m looking forward to getting started and letting you all have a laugh along with us.”
Harry Redknapp said: “When Jamie asked me to join him on his new chat show, I jumped at the chance. I’ve been watching my son’s work in A League of Their Own and as a pundit on Sky Sports for a long time and wanted to work with him, along with Tom Davis.”
Tom Davis said: “Who wouldn’t want to be involved in a show featuring two football legends? Until that day comes I’m chuffed to be working with Harry and Jamie on their Weekend Warm Up. The boys are always a laugh and it’s going to be a lot of fun.”
Redknapp’s Weekend Warm Up was devised by Jamie Redknapp and Expectation, and commissioned by Phil Edgar Jones, Sky’s Director of Arts and Entertainment and Zai Bennett, Sky’s Managing Director of Content. Shirley Jones is the commissioning editor for Sky. It will be produced by Expectation with executive producers Ben Wicks and Aaron Morgan, series producer Genna Gibson and talent executives Louisa McKay and Zak Ooma.
You (Sky One)
When Tara O’Rourke kills her estranged father in a drug fuelled rage, she and her best friends are forced to flee across Europe in search of Tara’s long-lost mother. Along the way, the girls have to navigate depleting funds, awkward romances and an inconvenient pregnancy – but the biggest danger comes from Tara’s uncle, Reagan – because the girls made the mistake of stealing Reagan’s drug stash… and he happens to be the most feared gangster in Rotterdam. And all the while, the spectre of a mythical serial killer known as The Traveller inches ever closer…
You was commissioned by Sky Studios’ Director of Drama, Cameron Roach and Zai Bennett, Sky’s Managing Director of Content. Based on the novel YOU by Zoran Drvenkar, this is a Kudos (part of Endemol Shine UK) production. Developed for television by lead writer Ben Chanan, who will also executive produce alongside Karen Wilson and Katie McAleese for Kudos. The lead director is Robbie McKillop. The producer is Derek Ritchie. Kara Manley and Serena Thompson will executive produce for Sky Studios. Worldwide distribution is by Endemol Shine International.
Sweetpea (Sky Atlantic)
A darkly comic drama adapted from the novel Sweetpea by C. J. Skuse. Rhiannon is your average girl next door, living quietly with her boyfriend and little dog. By day her job as an office manager is demeaning and unsatisfying. By evening she dutifully listens to her friends’ plans for marriage and babies. Rhiannon never complains, smiling through it all with reserves of serenity and a sparkling wit. She has become skilled at keeping it together. Being normal. But behind this mask is a ferocious power lying dormant, and a long-buried secret that Rhiannon wishes she could forget. When a chance encounter with a stranger leads to a shocking act of violence, Rhiannon’s mask slips completely and she is forced to confront the darker side she has long kept hidden. The girl everyone overlooks might just be able to get away with murder.
Sweetpea was commissioned by Sky Studios’ Director of Drama, Cameron Roach and Zai Bennett, Sky’s Managing Director of Content. The series is written and executive produced by BAFTA Breakthrough Brit Kirstie Swain. Patrick Walters, Jamie Laurenson, Hakan Kousetta, Iain Canning and Emile Sherman executive produce for See-Saw Films, and Liz Lewin executive produces for Sky Studios.
Brassic, the hit comedy drama, will also return for a second season, while Intelligence, a GCHQ comedy created by and starring Nick Mohammed, alongside David Schwimmer, arrives this month. This new programming adds to the breadth of Sky original series which are already due to air on Sky in 2020, including The Third Day (Jude Law, Naomie Harris), I Hate Suzie (Billie Piper), Save Me Too (Lennie James, Suranne Jones, Lesley Manville), Breeders (Martin Freeman, Daisy Haggard), and The Trip to Greece (Steve Coogan, Rob Brydon). Sky One hit COBRA has also been renewed for a second season.
Key acquired shows for 2020 include The Plot Against America (starring Winona Ryder), The Undoing (starring Hugh Grant and Nicole Kidman) Run (written by Vicky Jones and exec produced by Phoebe Waller-Bridge), Penny Dreadful: City of Angels (starring Natalie Dormer) and the award-winning Succession (starring Brian Cox).
Group CEO, Sky, Jeremy Darroch, says: “2020 is going to be the best year yet for content on Sky – we have over 80 original series and 40% more US shows, we have new channels like Sky Comedy, Sky Nature and Sky Documentaries launching and we are announcing ten new commissions today. In an increasingly competitive market, we keep pushing to give our customers what they want, all the best TV, all in one place.”
Sky’s Managing Director of Content, Zai Bennett, adds: “In a world where there are more hours of content than ever, we want to make sure that we’re offering our customers the most high-end, engaging TV that quite simply blows them away. We’re creating and investing in our own world-class original content that sits perfectly alongside the best from the US. This year we’ll be making more of our customers’ favourite shows than ever before.”