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UK’s Sky orders seven factual series, Nick Hornby adaptation and crime thriller

Hijacked: Flight 73 looks at the storming of a Pan Am plane by Palestinian terrorists

ETVF: UK pay TV broadcaster Sky has commissioned seven factual programmes, a comedy series and a crime thriller, it was announced at the Edinburgh TV Festival on Thursday.

Crime thriller A Town Called Malice is a coproduction between Vertigo Films, Sky Studios and Rogue State. Set on the Costa del Sol in the 1980s, the eight-part series follows a family of petty thieves from South London who have fallen to the bottom of the criminal food chain. The family move to the Costa del Sol where they try to reinvent themselves and recapture their former glory.

Nick Love is the lead writer on A Town Called Malice, which will begin filming later this year ahead of a 2022 debut on Sky’s new flagship channel Sky Max and streaming platform NOW. NBCUniversal Global Distribution will handle international sales.

The comedy series is based on Nick Hornby’s novel Funny Girl. Starring Gemma Arterton, it centres on a young woman and beauty queen from Blackpool as she finds her comic voice in the male-dominated world of the 1960s sitcom.

From Potboiler and Rebel Park Productions, in association with Sky Studios, Funny Girl is written by Morwenna Banks and directed by Oliver Parker. Hornby and Arterton exec produce.

In factual, Sky has ordered four titles for Sky Documentaries and a series each for Sky Crime, Sky Nature and Sky History, which will also be made available on NOW.

The first programme for Sky Documentaries is 3×60’ series The Devil’s Advocate, which unravels the epic, stranger-than-fiction tale of Giovanni di Stefano, who rose to become a notorious criminal lawyer without any legal qualifications. Produced by Wonderhood Studios in association with Sky Studios, The Devil’s Advocate will premiere this December.

The second title is Red Elvis, a 1×90’ doc that chronicles the forgotten story of Dean Reed, an American who defected to the East at the height of the Cold War to achieve superstar status in the Soviet Bloc. It is produced by Talos Films and Sky Studios in association with Curiosity Studios and will debut this November.

Also premiering on Sky Documentaries this November is The Billion Dollar Scoundrel (working title, 3×60’), which investigates the unbelievable story of Texan Allen Stanford, who conned his way into billions of dollars and used his fortune to lure the English national cricket team to a ‘winner takes all’ one-off game against the West Indies. It is produced by South Shore in association with Sky Studios.

The final doc for Sky Documentaries is Hijacked: Flight 73 (1×90’), about the brutal storming of a Pan Am airliner by Palestinian terrorists in 1986 at Karachi Airport. Blast! Films produces with Sky Studios for a 2022 debut.

For Sky Crime, The Angel of Vengeance (wt) is a 3×60’ true crime series that tackles one of the most extraordinary cases in British criminal history. The series uncovers the story of Crystal Hunnisett, who to some is guilty of two gruesome murders and to others is a victim of abuse and should be acquitted. The series, which is produced by Trumble Films and Astronaut Films in association with Sky Studios, will air in October.

On Sky History, The Royal Bastards: The Rise of the Tudors (wt) charts the true story of one of England’s most powerful yet little-known women, Lady Margaret Beaufort, who navigated her way through one of the most turbulent and bloody periods in British history to secure her son as a successor to the throne. The 3×60’ docudrama is produced by 72 Films and will premiere in November.

Finally, for Sky Nature, Chasing the Rains is a 4×60’ natural history series that shines a light on life in the animal kingdom of northern Kenya, where cheetahs, elephants and wild dogs battle against a merciless climate. Produced by Maramedia, the show will premiere in 2022.

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