Sky announce host of new programming for 2012

Ruth Jones as StellaSky 1 and Sky Atlantic revealed several new programmes for next year, including the American musical drama Smash, British comedy Stella, drama Treasure Island and documentary series Great Britain: Our Story.

Let’s take a look back at the best of what’s in store from January onwards.

Sky Atlantic has acquired the exclusive UK rights to Smash the latest in a line of musical dramas. Developed from an idea by Stephen Spielberg, Smash explores the subculture of musical theatre; celebrating the beauty and heartbreak of Broadway.

The fifteen, hour long, episodes are scheduled to air on Sky Atlantic in early 2012.

Commenting on Sky’s acquisition of the series, Director of Sky Atlantic HD Elaine Pyke said: “Created by, and starring, some of the most accomplished talent working in showbusiness today, Smash is the perfect addition to Sky Atlantic’s impressive slate of exceptional drama – both originated and acquired – set to air in 2012, including Hit + Miss, Luck and Mad Men.”

The channel has also commissioned three programmes to be produced especially for the network. Sky say this represents the channel’s biggest investment in UK content to date.

“The new commissions, which span drama, factual and factual entertainment, are part of Sky’s commitment to increase its investment in original British content by 50% over the next three years. By 2014, Sky expects to invest £600 million a year in British programmes across its portfolio of channels.” The broadcaster states.

In drama, the channel will show Falcón, a four-episode drama, based on Robert Wilson’s best-selling Javier Falcón novels. The series centres on Falcón, a Chief Inspector in the Seville police, a complex and layered character, with a psychological darkness which mirrors the brutal darkness which surrounds him in Seville.

There is also Great Britain: Our Story, which is described as a bold and celebratory factual television event bringing to life the events and characters which have shaped the nation’s history.

“Big, ambitious and gripping, the new series will tell the history of Britain and Ireland from the Roman invasion to the Coronation of Elizabeth II and Sky state “the birth of TV in 1953.” Sky say. And who are we to argue with their facts and figures.

Spanning over two thousand years in seven hours, the series will bring the real and often surprising stories of the unsung heroes of history vividly to life through compelling drama and spectacular CGI which will sweep across Britain to see it change and evolve through time.

Sky Atlantic is to also screen Morgan Spurlock’s New Britannia, a lively new factual entertainment show in which the acclaimed American humourist will dissect the eccentricities of British culture. Unapologetically candid and shamelessly irreverent, no subject will be off-limits as Spurlock takes a comedy sideswipe at the behaviours and institutions which make Britain so… British.

Meanwhile over at Sky One they’re starting the New Year with a trip to the Welsh Valleys as comedy Stella becomes the latest offering of original British comedy. The brainchild of Ruth Jones, co-writer and co-star of the multi-award winning Gavin and Stacey, Stella is a ten-episode warm, funny, down-to-earth family saga which promises an authentic slice of the working-class Welsh Valleys

Drama on Sky One sees the channel venture to Treasure Island which is set in the dangerous world of buccaneers. This new adaptation of the much loved Robert Louis Stevenson classic will take viewers through the story across two episodes.

The drama follows the story of Jim Hawkins who’s unexpectedly drawn into the world of piracy when he discovers Flint’s treasure map. However, Long John Silver will stop at nothing to get hold of the gold for himself. As they set sail for Treasure Island, Jim embarks on an action adventure that will change his life forever.

With Silver preparing to lead a mutiny who will be the first to find Flint’s buried booty? Who will keep control of the ship? And who will leave the island alive? Silver and Jim explore the true meaning of loyalty and betrayal as they battle it out for the treasure and ultimately their own survival.

Cast include Eddie Izzard in the role of Long John Silver, Elijah Wood as Ben Gunn and Donald Sutherland as Captain Flint.

There is also Moone Boy for Sky One in 2012 which is adapted from Chris O’Dowd’s comedy short which was broadcast on the channel last December as part of the Little Crackers series. Chris will star in this part autobiographical comedic look at his life growing up in Ireland in 1989. Moone Boy is scheduled to air next summer.

Set in a small town in Ireland in 1989 it follows the antics of the youngest member of the Moone family, 11 year old Martin Moone. Martin has a unique perspective on life aided by an imaginary friend, Sean Murphy, played by Chris O’Dowd. Martin’s imagination comes into play both in his childish drawings, which come alive through animation, and in the ridiculous schemes he comes up with, against Sean’s better judgement. With Sean’s help, Martin negotiates life as the youngest in a chaotic, scatter-brained family.

Both Johnny Vegas and Steve Coogan have signed up to take on roles in the series and auditions are underway across several locations in Ireland to find a young actor to take on the lead of Martin Moone.