UK satellite broadcaster Sky has not been shy when it comes to commissioning original content since announcing its intention to increase its budget to £600m a year by 2014.
Alongside a comedy slate that includes Stella, Trollied and Moone Boy, new British dramas include Sky Atlantic’s first homegrown series Hit & Miss and detective series Falcon, and Bedlam on Sky Living.
Now Sky is pushing further ahead into original drama with a new slate featuring star turns from Dominic Cooper and Kylie Minogue and projects from Idris Elba and Matt Smith.
Heading to Sky Atlantic is Fleming (4×60′), starring Cooper in a series based on the life of James Bond creator Ian Fleming. The series, which will be coproduced by BBC America, it is produced by Ecosse Films.
Also coming up is The Tunnel, the British/French adaptation of Danish/Swedish crime drama The Bridge from head writer Ben Richards.
Over on Sky Living, five original dramas by writers including Sally Wainwright, Gwyneth Hughes and Annie Griffin will form The Reckless Season.
Talking To The Dead (2×60′), produced by Bonafide Films, is written by Hughes and tells the story of Fiona, a newly qualified detective on her first murder case. It is based on the book by Harry Bingham.
Reubenesque (1×60′), from Kudos Film and Television and Pirate Productions, is written and directed by Griffin (Fresh Meat). It is about a female football referee’s journey to become a plus size model.
The Last Witch (1×60′) is produced by Red Productions and written by Wainwright (Scott & Bailey). The single drama is a supernatural story about two 500-year-old witches in modern day Britain.
Two further dramas in The Reckless Season will be announced at a later date.
Sky Living’s previously announced Dracula (10 x 60’) is a Sky and NBC coproduction from Playground Entertainment and stars Jonathan Rhys Myers. Filming begins this summer.
A two-part special called Mad Dogs The Finale (2×60′) will bring to an end the Mad Dogs series and will air after the third season run this spring. It is produced by Left Bank Pictures.
Sky1 will also air a fourth season of action drama Strike Back (10×60′), a Sky and Cinemax/HBO coproduction also from Left Bank Pictures; Moonfleet (2×60′), based on the John Meade Falkner story by Ashley Pharoah (Life on Mars); and The Smoke (8×60′), set in a London fire station, created by Lucy Kirkwood and produced by Kudos Film and Television.
Jed Mercurio (Line of Duty) is also behind a new medical drama under the working title Critical, currently in development for Sky1.
Anthology series Playhouse Presents returns to Sky Arts this year with projects from first-time directors Elba, Smith and Marc Warren.
Hey Diddly Dee (1×30′), produced by Sprout Pictures and written and directed by Warren (Mad Dogs), is a dark comedy drama about the star of a show who suffers a tragic accident. Minogue, Mat Horne, Peter Serafinowicz, David Harewood, Paul Kaye and Lee Boardman star.
Also from Sprout Pictures is Cargese (1×30′), which tells a story of adolsescent love and loss. It is written by Simon Stephens and directed by Doctor Who’s Smith.
The Pavement Psychologist (1×30′), another Sprout Pictures Production, is written and directed by Elba (Luther). The drama features a woman in search of satisfaction – in the world of accounting.
The fourth commission from Sprout Pictures in Union Square (1×30), written and directed by Carlo Negro and based on a short story by Leonard B Francavilla about the strange encounters faced by two policemen.
Mr Understood (1×30′), produced by Eleven Film, was created by Kate Hardie and is a comedy drama about a young transvestite who battles with self-doubt.
Also commissioned is Nightshift (1×30′), from Cajun Pictures and Company Pictures. Jimmy Gardner’s story follows two police officers as they swap small talk while patrolling south east London in the dead of night.