'James Bond' Gets Dedicated BSkyB Channel

Daniel Craig James Bond Casino Royale 2011

The U.K. satellite TV giant will launch a network dedicated to Ian Fleming's British spy movie franchise, which currently stars Daniel Craig.

LONDON – U.K. satcaster BSkyB is to launch a dedicated movie channel for the James Bond franchise on October 5 this year, timed to coincide with the 50th anniversary celebrations of the release of the first Bond movie, Dr No, on the same day in October 1962.

The channel launch will also come ahead of the theatrical roll out of Sam Mendes' Skyfall, with Daniel Craig donning the dinner jacket and holstering the Walther PPK for the third time.

The satcaster's channel will be part of this year's celebrations of 50 years of the franchise.

BSkyB's Sky Movies secured the TV rights to the James Bond film catalog, which were so far held by ITV in the U.K., from Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and Eon Productions earlier this year.

The deal also included two non-Eon produced movies, the 1967 Casino Royale spoof Bond film and Never Say Never Again, the film that marked Sean Connery's return to the iconic role after Roger Moore's spell in the tuxedo.

Commercial web ITV has shown Bond movies since 1975, with its most recent deal signed a couple of years ago.

The satcaster's dedicated channel will allow the complete catalog of Bond films to be shown uninterrupted and in high definition in the U.K. for the first time.

All 22 Bond films will be shown on Sky Movies 007, in SD and HD, and without any adverts.

It mirrors Sky's recent strategy with Sky Sports F1, the satcaster's first channel dedicated to just one sport that followed a blockbuster rights deal to Formula One.

Ian Lewis, the director of Sky Movies, said: "The Bond movies are a very special franchise and we want to ensure that our customers will be able to experience it in a way they've never been able to before, and so we're going to create a dedicated channel Sky Movies 007 HD devoted entirely to James Bond showing the entire catalogue of films and loads of extra material.

"We're delighted that our customers will have the best Bond movie-watching experience ever with Sky Movies - uninterrupted, in HD, on demand and on the go."