UK broadcaster Sky has announced four documentary projects for its Sky Documentaries channel along with a new series for each of its Sky Crime, Sky Nature and Sky History brands. The commissions will also air on the NOW streaming service.
The commissions for Sky Documentaries include The Devil’s Advocate, a three-part series about Giovanni di Stefano, a former movie mogul who rose to become a top criminal lawyer despite having no legal qualifications. The series is produced by Tom Garton with Katharine Patrick and Samantha Anstiss serving as executive producers. The series was commissioned by Zai Bennett, Sky’s managing director of content and Poppy Dixon, director of documentaries and factual, and distributed by NBCUniversal Global Distribution.
Red Elvis (pictured) tells the story of Dean Reed, an American musician who defected during the height of the Cold War and became a Soviet hero. The 90-minute film comes from director and producer Thomas Latter, with Julian P. Hobbs and Elli Hakami serving as executive producers for Talos Films. Noah Morowitz is executive producer for Curiosity Studios, and Rob Burk is head of original content.
The Billion Dollar Scoundrel (working title), is about an American conman who posed as a billionaire and lured England’s cricket team to a one-off “winner takes all” match against the West Indies. The three-part series is directed by Stuart Bernard, produced by Charlie Melville and executive produced by Andrew Mackenzie and Greg James. It was commissioned by Bennett, Dixon and Hayley Reynolds, commissioning editor, with NBCUniversal Global Distribution handling distribution.
Hijacked: Flight 73 is a feature documentary examining the 1986 hijacking of a flight by Palestinian terrorists. It was produced by Blast! Films and Sky Studios and commissioned by Bennett and Dixon. The film is distributed by NBCUniversal Global Distribution.
Meanwhile on Sky Crime, the true-crime series The Angel of Vengeance (working title) will debut in October and explore one of the most extraordinary criminal cases in British history. The three-part series tells the story of Crystal Hunnisett, who some believe is guilty of two gruesome murders and others see as a victim of abuse who deserves to be acquitted. Angel of Vengeance is produced and directed by Christian Trumble and executive produced by Jon Alwen. It was commissioned by Bennett, Dixon and Reynolds. The series is also distributed by NBCUniversal Global Distribution.
Sky History will premiere the docu-drama series The Royal Bastards: The Rise of the Tudors (working title), about Lady Margaret Beaufort, one of England’s most powerful and little-known women, who navigated an infamously bloody period of British history to install her son as a successor to the throne. The series is directed by Julian Jones and produced by Bernadette Ross, with David Glover as executive producer. It was commissioned by Bennett, Dixon and Daniel Korn, VP of programming at A+E Networks UK.
Finally, Sky Nature will premiere Chasing the Rains in 2022, a four-part series highlighting the animal kingdom in Northern Kenya, including cheetahs, elephants, wild dogs and more, all shot in 4K UHD. The series is produced by Maramedia with camera director Justin Purefoy alongside Kenyan producer Faith Musembi. Nigel Pope and Jackie Savery serve as executive producers. The series was commissioned by Alison Barrat for Love Nature and Helene Ganichaud for Arte France. It was commissioned for Sky by Bennett and Dixon, and is distributed by Blue Ant international.
“From profiling famous and infamous characters, to unravelling little known historical events and using innovative technology to explore the natural world, we are proud to bring viewers a diverse range of true stories that will inspire, inform and entertain. We hope to continue our record-breaking year with these new additions to the slate,” said Dixon of the new commissions in a release.