SKY1 has abandoned plans to remake classic sci-fi series Blake’s 7 after announcing back in 2008 it was going ahead.

Sky bought the rights off BBC for the series which it planned to remake as part of a commitment to producing more British drama for the channel.

A Sky spokeswoman said: “Following the development process we have decided not to produce Blake’s 7. However, Sky continues to invest heavily in original drama and it remains at the heart of our plans.

“We have just announced an extended run for the second series of Chris Ryan’s Strike Back and we’ll soon be unveiling a new long-running series for primetime.”

The Blake’s 7 remake was announced while former Sky1 controller Richard Woolfe was at the helm but now with Stuart Murphy in charge, the emphasis has been place don “warmer” scripted shows.

Source: Digital Spy


Sky today announced a major commitment to original British comedy, with a raft of new shows for its flagship entertainment channel, Sky1.

The line-up features some of the UK’s best loved names including Ruth Jones, Dawn French, Victoria Wood, Catherine Tate, Kathy Burke, Stephen Fry, Bill Bailey and Sally Lindsay.

The new commissions are part of Sky’s ongoing commitment to invest in must-see content which delivers more value to existing customers and creates more reasons to join Sky. Supported by a multi-million pound investment fund, the new productions will complement the success of the Emmy® and Golden Globe® nominated Modern Family and the multi award- winningThe Simpsons.

The first commissions to be announced include:

Stella – the brainchild of Ruth Jones, the co-writer and co-star of the multi-award winning Gavin and Stacey.

Mount Pleasant – a comedy drama following the not-so-perfect life of Mancunian thirty-something Lisa (Sally Lindsay, Coronation Street), and her husband Dan (Daniel Ryan, The Street).

This Is Jinsy – an eccentric comedy written by and starring newcomers Chris Bran andJustin Chubbabout the bizarre residents of the fictional Island of Jinsy.

Little Crackers – a season of autobiographical comic shorts from Britain’s best-loved stars for this Christmas’ schedule. The all-star line-up, many making their debut on Sky, includesDawn French, Catherine Tate, Kathy Burke, Stephen Fry. Victoria Wood and Bill Bailey will also be directing their tales.

These are the first raft of HD comedies to be announced with more to be confirmed in the coming months.

This announcement followsSky1 HD’s commitment to original drama which was unveiled in March 2008. Since then Sky1 HD has received critical and commercial success with BAFTA-winning drama including Martina Cole’s The Take, Skellig, Terry Pratchett’s Going Postal and Chris Ryan’s Strike Back.Over the next year Sky1 HD will also transmit thorne starring David Morrissey and Mad Dogs starring Max Beesley, Philip Glenister, John Simm and Marc Warren.

The new comedy strategy has been overseen Sky’s Head of Comedy, Lucy Lumsden. Together with her former BBC colleague, Stuart Murphy they were responsible for hits includingLittle Britain, Gavin and Stacey, The Mighty Boosh, Early Doors, Pulling, 3 Non Blondes, Monkey Dustand Nighty Night.

Lucy Lumsden, Head Of Comedy, Sky1 HD, Sky 1, Sky 2 and Sky 3, commented: “It’s been an exciting time spreading the good news about Sky’s investment in comedy and I’m delighted that we’ve been able to attract a wealth of comedy talent. Sky’s investment in original comedy is testament to our long-term commitment to original and innovative programming.”

Stuart Murphy, Director of Programmes, Sky1 HD, Sky 1, Sky 2 and Sky 3 added: “It’s great to be working with Lucy again. She is the leader in her field and has made sure that customers benefit from her considerable experience and brilliant sense of humour. This really will be content worth paying for.”


Sky 1 HD today announced a stellar line up for its new series Must Be The Music. The judging panel will include the current golden boy of the British music scene Dizzee Rascal, multiple award-winning singer, pianist and multi-instrumentalist Jamie Cullum and chart topping singer/songwriter Sharleen Spiteri.

The judges and host will be attending auditions in London, Manchester and Edinburgh over June and July in the search for the UK’s best music act – any age, any song, any style. With such wide-ranging musical backgrounds, the panel are perfectly placed as judges for Must Be The Music, which is open to any type of musical talent, be they a gospel choir, an indie rock band, a rapper or a soprano singer.

Dizzee Rascal, scored his fourth UK Number 1 last weekend with “Dirtee Disco”, following up his previous Number 1 singles “Dance Wiv Me”, “Bonkers” and “Holiday”. The man who won Best British Male at this year’s Brits is now helping to look for Britain’s best music. Having won the prestigious Mercury Music Prize as a breakthrough act, he’s now transcended urban and pop music with hit collaborations with everyone from Calvin Harris to Florence + The Machine on “You’ve Got The Dirtee Love”. So Dizzee is no stranger to working with artists across different types of music and spotting new talent.

Jamie Cullum is also at the top of his game. He is the UK’s biggest-selling jazz artist of all time and the singer-songwriter’s albums “Twentysomething”, “Pointless Nostalgic” and “Catching Tales” have sold over 5 million copies worldwide.

As a Brit and Grammy nominated artist, he has taken jazz into the mainstream and his new album “The Pursuit” has seen Jamie embark on a sold out world tour, from which he will be flying into the UK to record ’Must Be The Music’. Jamie’s success is truly global, taking him from Seoul to Sao Paolo, Melbourne to Memphis and across the USA where he has achieved huge success collaborating with Clint Eastwood on the Golden Globe nominated score for Gran Torino. Jamie also finds time to host his own weekly show on BBC Radio 2.

Sharleen Spiteri is a multi-award winning artist with a coveted Ivor Novello under her belt and is best known for being the lead singer of Scottish rock/blues band Texas, however has also achieved success more recently as a solo artist, with her albums “Melody” and the recently released “The Movie Songbook”.  Having sold over 12 million albums worldwide and recognised as one of the UK’S most credible singer/songwriters, Sharleen is in prime position to join the other two judges on Must Be The Music in the search to find the best musical talent the UK has to offer.

The series, open to all musicians and singers no matter what type of music they play, is set to air in early August 2010 on Sky 1 HD and its unique new format hands back control to the artists themselves, empowered by creative support, promotional advice and a cash fund of £100,000 to kick start their career. The final will be held live at one of the UK’s biggest and most famous music venues, where the finalists will perform on the same stage as the show’s prestigious judges.

Jamie Cullum commented:

“I’m honestly so pleased to be involved in a competition that gives all musicians out there the opportunity to be heard. I know that some people may feel that their unique approach to music doesn’t normally have a voice, but they are exactly who we are looking for – genuine talent in whatever form it takes.”

Dizzee Rascal stated:

“I know how hard it is to break into the music industry and am giving all you fellow musicians out there a chance to come and show me, the other judges and the rest of the UK that we really do have some of the best musicians in the world right under our noses, who deserve a break. I’m here to give you that break.”

Sharleen Spiteri stated:

“It’s going to be a great opportunity for musicians out there to come and perform in front three judges who have such diverse musical styles, that no matter what style of music they perform it will surely pique the interest of at least one of us. Regardless of our differing music genres, ultimately we all have the same goal and that’s to encourage unsigned and undiscovered talent to perform to the best of their abilities and give them the opportunity to succeed in something they are truly passionate about.”

Must Be The Music will launch this summer on Sky1 HD and Sky1. For further information, go to

Duncan Gray, Head of Entertainment, Sky1 HD and Sky1, 2 and 3, commented:

“Dizzee, Jamie and Sharleen are a superstar trio of judges who will help real musical talent get real rewards.”

Henrietta Conrad, Executive Producer Princess Productions added:

“We’ve appealed for people with a passion for music to attend the auditions, and by adding these incredible artists into the mix, we now have the perfect combination. Dizzee Rascal, Sharleen Spiteri and Jamie Cullum are passionate, credible and brilliantly talented and we hope this will ensure that Must Be The Music really will be the show to watch this summer.”


Sky1 HD presents KIMBERLEY WALSH: BLUE JEAN GIRL, an exclusive one-off documentary hosted by the Girls Aloud superstar.

The documentary will see Kimberley embark on a revealing and entertaining journey as she travels across America to trace the history of the most universal item of clothing in the world – the humble pair of jeans.

Along the way she’ll be meeting designers and fashion experts in order to get to the heart of our passion for jeans and attempt to find herself the perfect pair. KIMBERLEY WALSH: BLUE JEAN GIRL will TX on Thursday 16th June at 9pm on Sky1 HD and Sky1.

Kimberley Walsh commented: “Jeans are a fashion essential, everybody owns a pair.  This documentary will reveal a surprising history of the wardrobe staple. I’ve met some really interesting people from real life cowboys to top fashion designers and will be using my new found knowledge to show you how to find your perfect pair.”

KIMBERLEY WALSH: BLUE JEAN GIRL will trace the evolution of jeans, discover their social relevance and why we love them so much. Kimberley will explore the early beginnings of denim and their changing status from an item worn by American gold miners in the 1800s to the 1930s cowboys.

Her journey begins in San Francisco, the home of Levi Strauss, where she gets her hands on the oldest ever pair of jeans. Kimberley attends the Red Bluff rodeo where she saddles up and goes riding with real life cowboys to find out why jeans work best on horse back.  In Los Angeles Kimberley investigates the celebrity premium denim brands before heading to New York where she examines the corporate side of jeans. Here she meets several designers including Tommy Hilfiger and Patrick Robinson, Head Designer at Gap. Back in the UK, Kimberley talks to designer Katharine Hamnett to get the low-down on the British jeans scene. But will her newly acquired knowledge of denim help with her quest to find the perfect pair of jeans?

KIMBERLEY WALSH: BLUE JEAN GIRL was commissioned by Celia Taylor, Head of Features and Factual, Sky1 HD, Sky1 2 & 3 and was executive produced by Sarah Murch, Ten Alps Television and Lesley Douglas, Globe Productions.

Don’t miss KIMBERLEY WALSH: BLUE JEAN GIRL, Wednesday 16th June at 9pm only on Sky1 HD and Sky1.


Sky1 HD today (Tuesday 20 October, 2009) announced further details on one of its two brand new sporting panel show pilots.

CPL Productions will produce A LEAGUE OF THEIR OWN (w/t 1×30) where England’s Number One fan and Gavin & Stacey star JAMES CORDEN will referee proceedings. The brand new format will see Ashes hero and Nottingham Forest fan STUART BROAD and former England footballer and Sky Sports presenter JAMIE REDKNAPP line up as team captains.

Sporting knowledge is all about lists. Can you arrange David James’ five worst haircuts in chronological order or list which football team has had the most sex scandals this season? A LEAGUE OF THEIR OWN takes its cue from this perennial sporting obsession and sets two teams of comedians, celebrity sports fans and major league sports stars against each other to see who has the most in-depth sporting knowledge.  From record breaking feats to headline grabbing fouls, the show is stuffed with the kind of sensational take home facts that sports fans just love to quote.  Featuring physical challenges, the latest technology, comedians and celebrity guests plus cameo appearances from the biggest names in sport make A LEAGUE OF THEIR OWN the perfect platform for one-upmanship and banter, mixing specialist knowledge of groundbreaking sporting moments with hilarious facts and figures.

Duncan Gray, Commissioning Editor, Entertainment, Sky1 HD, Sky1, Sky2, Sky3 comments: “We’re really excited to have James Corden, Jamie Redknapp and Stuart Broad bringing their sporting and comedic prowess to such a great production.”

Danielle Lux, Managing Director of CPL Production comments: “A League of Their Own is an Olympic standard comedy show for anyone who loves their sport and a fun-filled half hour for those who don’t.”

Danielle Lux and Murray Boland will Executive Produce the pilot from CPL Productions. Duncan Gray, Commissioning Editor, Entertainment, Sky1, 2 and 3 will Executive Produce for Sky1 with James Townley as Production Manager.

A LEAGUE OF THEIR OWN will air on Sky1 HD in late 2009.

Sky1 HD today (Monday 24 August, 2009) announced the start of production on STRIKE BACK (6×60) – an all action, high definition adaptation of one of ex-SAS soldier Chris Ryan’s hugely successful novels.

Produced by BAFTA winning production company Left Bank Pictures (Wallander, The Damned Utd) STRIKE BACK was commissioned by Elaine Pyke, Head of Drama, Sky1 HD and will be produced by Andrew Benson (Prime Suspect , Hornblower) for Left Bank Pictures. It will be directed by Daniel Percival (The State Within, Place of Execution). The opening episodes, which are set in Iraq, have been written by Jed Mercurio (Bodies, Cardiac Arrest). Chris Ryan, best known as the one who got away in the Bravo 2 Zero team, is acting as series consultant

STRIKE BACK is an adrenaline fuelled contemporary action drama with an outstanding cast which includes Richard Armitage (Spooks, Robin Hood) as John Porter and Andrew Lincoln (This Life, Teachers) as Hugh Collinson. Jodhi May (The Amazing Mrs. Pritchard, A World Apart, The Last of the Mohicans) plays intelligence officer Layla Thompson, and in the opening film, Orla Brady (Mistresses, Wallander) plays Middle East correspondent, Katie Dartmouth. Nicola Stephenson (The Chase, Clocking Off) is Diane Porter, John Porter’s wife. Laura Greenwood (Prime Suspect) plays Porter’s daughter, Alexandra, Dhafer L’Abadine (The Mark of Cain, Whistleblowers) plays Hakim Al Neseri and Fenar Mohammed Ali plays Hassad.

STRIKE BACK is a story of deception, redemption and revenge, all played out in the interlinked lives of two former soldiers; Major Hugh Collinson and discharged veteran John Porter. Their paths last crossed seven years ago. Now, amidst a new hostage crisis in the Middle East, their lives are about to collide again.

On the eve of the invasion of Iraq in 2003, John Porter leads a Special Forces unit on a daring hostage rescue into the heart of Basra, events overtake our hero with disastrous results. The decisions taken on that night inexorably unite the fate of both Porter and Collinson. Porter bares the burden of guilt and the repercussions haunt him for seven years, until an opportunity presents itself for him to return to Iraq and redeem himself.

Elaine Pyke, Head of Drama, Sky1 HD comments: “Sky1 HD drama is about trying to astound audiences, up the creative bar, and commission shows which make audiences love being Sky subscribers. Strike Back fits perfectly in with this. As with all Sky1 dramas, not only will it feature a gifted cast with a large popular following, but working with Andy Harries and Left Bank Pictures means an already crackling script will jump out of the screen. Shot in South Africa with stunning locations and high octane HD action sequences on a grand scale, Chris Ryan’s best selling novel will be a truly uncompromising, compelling, action drama.”

Andy Harries, Chief Executive, Left Bank Pictures comments: “It’s brilliant to have a major player in the UK commissioning original quality drama. Elaine Pyke and Sky shared our enthusiasm for Chris Ryan’s novel, and it is an exciting challenge to turn the action and adventure of his book into a thrilling must watch TV series.”

STRIKE BACK is a Left Bank Pictures production for Sky1 HD and Sky1. The series will be shot on 35mm film for a truly cinematic style for broadcast on Sky1 HD in spring 2010.  BBC Worldwide have secured the international distribution rights.

STRIKE BACK has been adapted for the screen by Jed Mercurio (Bodies) and executive produced by Andy Harries for Left Bank Pictures and Elaine Pyke for Sky1 HD.


Richard Armitage as John Porter

Andrew Lincoln as Hugh Collinson

Jodhi May as Layla Thompson

Orla Brady as Katie Dartmouth

Dhafer L’Abidine as Hakim Al Neseri

Fenar Mohammed Ali as Hassad

Nicola Stephenson as Diane Porter

Laura Greenwood as Alexandra Porter

Cal Mcaninch as Major Chris Pemberton

Emma Read, Commissioning Editor, Factual and Features, Sky1 HD, Sky1, Sky2 and Sky 3, has commissioned indie Outline Productions to produce FAT FAMILIES (working title, 6 x 60’), a new factual entertainment format presented by straight-talking fat loss expert, Steve Miller (Get Off Your Arse And Lose That Weight, Get Off Your Arse And Get A Job).

25% of all adults and 16% of children in the UK are now classified as clinically obese. British families are officially the fattest in Europe. FAT FAMILIES will see Steve Miller moving into the homes of some of Britain’s fattest families each week. They might blame their genes, but Steve will discover that it’s not genetics that’s making these families fat – it’s a world of entrenched habits and over large portions that’s left them suffering embarrassing health problems including diabetes, asthma, sleep apnoea and yeast infections.  With a range of shock tactics at his disposal, Steve will help these families to ‘lose the weight, before it’s too late.’

Read commented: “Steve is a no nonsense expert who will say ‘bollocks’ to the endless excuses of our FAT FAMILIES as he transforms the ‘fatties’ into ‘fitties’. Over the years, Steve has heard every excuse in the cookbook, but he will break their bad habits and create a radical regime that will transform their lives forever.”

Laura Mansfield, Joint Managing Director, Outline Productions added: “Guaranteeing personal drama and revelations, this new transformational format sees Steve Miller refusing to take any prisoners. In FAT FAMILIES his refreshingly direct approach will hopefully find our contributors finally being able to turn round years of frustration and lose the weight they so desperately need to.”

Steve Miller will oversee full medical body MOT’s, makeover the contributors’ homes and arrange an intensive programme to transform the eating habits, behaviour and attitudes which helped them gain the weight in the first place. In order to guarantee they comply with his plan, Steve will be tagging the families with a special monitor that reports their progress 24/7. At the first sign of a lapse, he’ll be on-hand to ensure that they won’t be top of the ‘Fatse index’ again any time soon.

FAT FAMILIES is an Outline Production for Sky1 HD. The series was commissioned by Emma Read. Laura Mansfield is executive producer. The series will be broadcast on Sky1 and Sky1 HD from January 2010.

Duncan Gray, Commissioning Editor, Entertainment, Sky1 HD, Sky1, Sky2 and Sky3, has commissioned indie Silver River (I’m Running Sainsbury’s, Supersizers Go) to produce 25 brand new hour long episodes of hit entertainment show OOPS TV. Following the success of the first series, Justin Lee Collins will once again be providing his voice talents, with his tongue firmly in cheek as we take an irreverent look at some of the funniest and most embarrassing moments caught on camera.

OOPS TV was a big success for Sky1, offering fresh new content in an early peak slot. The series performed well with an audience reach of 3.8m viewers.

Gray commented: “I loved watching Oops TV with my family and am delighted to be involved in the second series.”

OOPS TV is a modern take on the blooper show that takes a look at the best TV out-takes, home videos, CCTV shockers, sporting bloopers and YouTube shenanigans from all over the world. From newsreader nightmares to internet wedding dances to the world’s funniest pets, if someone somewhere has done something funny and it’s been captured on film, then it’s game for OOPS TV. Featuring motor sport meltdowns, four legged fiends and even babies behaving badly, no comedy stone is left unturned. 

Chris Sussman is the Executive Producer and Joe McVey is the Senior Producer for Silver River Productions. Duncan Gray is the executive producer for Sky1.

OOPS TV will be broadcast on Sky1 in October 2009.

Sky1 HD have commissioned Uppercut Films to produce a 1×90 documentary chronicling the personal experiences of injured British service personnel as they embark on an epic journey to the Everest region of the Himalayas.

War Torn (working title) will feature some of Britain’s bravest heroes as they go through the rehabilitation process from frontline to Civvy Street. The 80-man Khumbu Challenge expedition is part of a five-year Royal Navy initiative to help rehabilitate injured Royal Navy and Royal Marine personnel. Participants will span a range of abilities including double amputees and those emotionally traumatised in recent conflicts.

The 90-minute film will tell the personal stories of these brave young men as they prepare for the expedition and attend training sessions in Scotland and North Wales. The five teams – two climbing, three trekking – will be led by experienced climber Steve Perry plus a team of dedicated local guides and sherpas as well as RN and RM personnel. The event has already received support from the England football team and HRH Prince Harry who is Royal Patron of the KCO9 expedition.

Celia Taylor, Commissioning Editor, Sky1 HD, Sky1, Sky2 and Sky3 comments: “War Torn promises to be everything a Sky1 documentary should be – action packed with awe inspiring HD visuals but with brilliant story telling and a real depth of emotion at its heart.”

Christine Hall, Executive Producer, Uppercut Films: “Filming in the Himalayas presents many unique challenges but these are nothing compared to what the injured guys will go through. Their personal stories will give extraordinary insight into the remarkable way these young men deal with their injuries.”

Chris Terrill, Director/Cameraman (HMS Brilliant, Nature’s Fury, Commando On the Front Line), “For these brave men so badly injured in Afghanistan and Iraq this will be en epic adventure – though the biggest mountain they face is not Everest but the one in their minds.   It is my job to follow them on both journeys – the physical one and the emotional one”.

With exclusive access to the event – including live online coverage from the mountain – War Torn will bring home the inspirational and candid account of these brave heroes drawing on their courage once again as they strive to overcome the appalling trauma of their injuries whilst climbing the World’s highest mountain.

War Torn will air on Sky1 and Sky1 HD in December 2009.

Sky 1HD and Sky 1 have agreed a deal with BAFTA award winning documentary maker Ross Kemp to produce and present 12×60 factual programmes for the British broadcaster for the period July 2009 to July 2011.

The deal will see Sky1HD and Sky1 broadcast 6×60 films each year of the two-year deal.

Ross Kemp comments: “I’m very happy to be signing this exclusive deal with Sky1 and Sky1 HD. I’m fortunate to have had a great working relationship with the channel over the last few years and I look forward to this continuing for the next two. The audience and press reaction to all the shows we have made has been testament to the relationship between Sky1 and myself. Sky1 have always been very approachable and receptive to the ideas Mongoose, Tiger Aspect and I have brought to the table. They have also allowed us a level of creative freedom to develop programmes which I believe has contributed massively to their overall success.  Stuart Murphy has a very clear and bold idea of how he wants Sky1 to develop in the future and I’m proud to be part of his vision.”

No projects have been green lit as yet, and no production company commitments are attached. Ross Kemp comments: “Where next? Who knows, but what’s for sure, whatever we plan to pursue, we will put our heart and soul into it for the Sky1 viewer and tell the stories no one else is telling.”

Stuart Murphy, Director of Programmes, Sky1 HD, Sky 1, 2 & 3 comments: “It’s an absolute pleasure to agree this new exclusive deal with Ross Kemp. He has been presenting and producing incredible films for Sky 1 and more recently Sky 1 HD for over four years, and has brought the stories of countless untold individuals across the globe directly into viewers’ living rooms. In an era of often bland and stuffy current affairs reporting, Ross brings colour, passion and insight, and opens the stories first to millions of viewers. Sky aim to be the best in everything we do, and Ross is simply the best. What he has achieved with his films in Afghanistan, Gangs and Kenya is something unique to British broadcasting.”

Celia Taylor, Commissioning Editor, Factual and Features, Sky1 HD, Sky1, 2 and 3, will executive produce the forthcoming Ross Kemp projects.

Ross Kemp on Gangs was awarded the BAFTA for best factual series in 2007. The four-part series triumphed in a category that included Stephen Fry’s Secret Life of The Manic Depressive, Bruce Parry’s Tribe and Who Do You Think You Are?

In January 2008 Ross Kemp in Afghanistan was broadcast on Sky1 and Sky1 HD; a personal and gritty account of soldiering on the front line it gave a different perspective on what British troops face in Helmand province. Shot entirely in HD it allowed the audience to experience life through the eyes of the serving soldier in extraordinary, uncompromising and unflinching detail.  The five-part series reached over two million people per episode and won the award for Best Multichannel programme at the Broadcast awards in 2008, and along with Ross Kemp: A Kenya Special (broadcast in October 2008) was nominated for a BAFTA in 2009 in the factual series and current affairs categories respectively.

In November 2008 the Association of International Broadcasting (AIB) awarded Ross the International TV personality of the year accolade.

In January 2009 Ross Kemp: Return to Afghanistan was broadcast on Sky1 and Sky1 HD. The five-part series saw Ross back on the front line this time with 5 Scots, the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders. The series is nominated for the Multichannel programme of the year award at this year’s Media Guardian Edinburgh International Television Festival.

Ross Kemp’s last project for Sky1 and Sky1 HD, Ross Kemp In Search of Pirates, aired in June 2009 and saw Ross tracking pirates in Somalia, Nigeria and South East Asia. After one week viewing the second episode has achieved a cumulative audience of 1.7m.

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