Sky (UK) has announced 4 brand new dramas to be filmed in the coming months, reflecting the broadcast service's drive to bring more high-quality, exclusive programming to its customers. The new commissions are part of Sky’s commitment to invest £600 million a year (almost $1 billion) in home-grown programming by 2014, an increase of 50% over three years, says the press release.
Included amongst the 4 newly-ordered dramas is a drama titled Nightshift, which stars Ashley Walters and Daniel Mays as two cop, on duty overnight in South East London, discussing life, the universe and everything between.
In addition to his recent work in the second season of the 4-part acclaimed TV drama series Top Boy, as well as the UK version of Bad Boys that he and Noel Clarke have been working on, Walters is reportedly "in talks" to play England's first black soccer star, Laurie Cunningham, in a movie about his life.
He can also be seen on the new BBC One dramedy series, Truckers.
Top Boy season 1 did eventually become available to USA audiences, so I'm assuming season 2 will as well. If you haven't seen the first season, it's available for streaming on Hulu.
The other new dramas commissioned by Sky are:
• Critical (Sky 1): a 13-part, high-octane medical drama from Jed Mercurio, which unfolds in real time
• Two brand new films for the Playhouse Presents... strand on Sky Arts:
*Foxtrot: Billie Piper, Ben Whishaw and Lindsay Duncan star in this tale of a gang heist gone wrong, penned by Polly Stenham in her first project for TV
• Penny Dreadful (Sky Atlantic): a frightening psychological period horror, created by John Logan and starring Eva Green, Josh Hartnett, Timothy Dalton, Rory Kinnear and Billie Piper
Stuart Murphy, Director of Sky Entertainment, commented: “We're so happy with the dramas we’ve made so far, and I hope our new programmes will underline how much we put a premium on creative endeavour at Sky. We really believe that our philosophy of backing world class creative talent and pushing them to make their best work is the way to go.”
Cameron Roach, Head of Drama, added: “We love making these programmes and we hope that everyone who watches them feels like they’ve discovered something new, exciting and very special.”
The new commissions follow a host of original Sky productions which will be on screen in the coming months including:
• Drama Matters (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. Drama Matters features an all-star cast including Suranne Jones, Anna Friel, Russell Tovey, Sophie Rundle and Freema Agyeman
• The Tunnel (Sky Atlantic): Ben Richards (Spooks, Party Animals) heads up the writing team based on the format of The Bridge and set against the backdrop of Europe in crisis and starring Stephen Dillane and Clémence Poésy.
• Strike Back (Sky 1): starring Philip Winchester and Sullivan Stapleton, this returns for a fourth series this October.
• Dracula (Sky Living): based on a script from Cole Haddon, the series stars Jonathan Rhys Myers and will launch this Autumn.
• Moonfleet (Sky 1): a two-part family drama adaptation by Ashley Pharaoh (Life on Mars, Ashes to Ashes) of the classic John Meade Falkner story, starring Ray Winstone and Aneurin Barnard.
• Mad Dogs: The Finale (Sky 1): a two-part conclusion to the BAFTA-nominated drama starring Max Beesley, Philip Glenister, John Simm and Marc Warren
• Fleming (Sky Atlantic): starring Dominic Cooper in the lead role in a series based on the life of Bond creator Ian Fleming
• The return of A Young Doctor’s Notebook & Other Stories (Sky Arts) starring Daniel Radcliffe and Jon Hamm.
• The Smoke (Sky 1): created by Lucy Kirkwood (Skins), this follows the adrenaline fuelled and gut-wrenchingly emotional stories of the White Watch crew of a London fire station and stars Jamie Bamber and Jodie Whittaker.
UK audiences can view highlights from Sky’s new drama presentation at www.sky.com/skydrama.