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European pay TV giant Sky on Tuesday unveiled several new and returning original series, including a newly ordered drama with the working title Gangs of London, co-commissioned with Cinemax, and season 2 of the Julia Stiles starrer Riviera.
Sky also revealed that comedy-thriller Bounty Hunters, starring Jack Whitehall, would return for a second season. It further announced three new comedies as part of the Sky Arts channel’s “true(ish)” cultural history series Urban Myths, featuring stories about David Bowie, Alice Cooper, Salvador Dali and Public Enemy. Additionally, arts documentary Ronnie Wood Artist in Residence will provide more star power in the form of the Rolling Stone member as its host.
The company, in which 21st Century Fox owns a 39 percent stake and has offered to buy 100 percent, confirmed a previously announced 25 percent increase in its investment in original productions per year, saying it will offer more than 50 originals, including 24 returning shows, in 2018.
Sky executives, including CEO Jeremy Darroch and managing director content Gary Davey, also highlighted previously announced upcoming shows with such stars as Benedict Cumberbatch (Patrick Melrose), Idris Elba (In the Long Run), The Walking Dead‘s Lennie James (Save Me), Doctor Foster and Coronation Street star Suranne Jones (Save Me) and Walking Dead‘s David Morrissey (Britannia).
Sky originals, such as Riviera and Tin Star, have attracted record audiences for the company this year and have further diversified its onscreen offerings beyond licensed Hollywood fare.
“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 U.K. TV industry right now,” said Davey. “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 onscreen.”
Here is a closer look at the originals Sky announced on Tuesday:
The drama will return, with Stiles reprising the role of Georgina Clios for another look at the lives of the super-rich on the Cote d’Azur.
Gangs of London (working title)
Describing it as “a fresh and original gangland thriller” set in the present day, Sky said the drama “will take viewers on an adrenaline-fueled journey into the hidden heart of the capital.” When the head of a criminal organization 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, it said in a plot description. The show, set to air in 2019, was created and is being executive produced by Gareth Evans, director of The Raid.
Sky Arts’ Urban Myths
Sky said viewers can also expect “more true(ish) tales from cultural history with three brand-new comedies from Sky Arts’ Urban Myths series.” When Bowie Met Bolan will bring to life the story of when Davie Jones (David Bowie) first met Mark Feld (Bolan), with Luke Treadaway as Bowie and Jack Whitehall as Bolan. The Dali and the Cooper will tell “the incredible true story of Alice Cooper’s encounter with Salvador Dali in New York in 1973,” with David Suchet playing Dali and Fielding portraying Cooper. And Public Enemy (feat. Kev Wells) will tell the story of how rap revolutionaries Public Enemy were stranded in Broomhill, England, after their tour bus left without them and they had to rely on a local and his old Ford Focus to get them to their show on time. It stars Paterson Joseph as Chuck D, Abdul Salis as Flavor Flav and Philip Glenister as their helping hand.
Ronnie Wood Artist in Residence
Rolling Stones member and painter Wood will visit “some of the most iconic art institutions in the country sketching, painting and providing a unique insight into what makes each place special,” according to a description. Among the cultural institutions are the Royal Opera House, the Royal Albert Hall, Shakespeare’s Theatre and Sadler’s Wells.
Sky’s upcoming entertainment show starts in a small British town where eight ordinary citizens will play an adventurous game after being 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,” according to a show description. “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?”
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