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Sky Studios sets up Leeds hub

Sky original comedy series Brassic

Sky Studios, the European satcaster’s new production arm, has become the latest media company to set up a hub in the northern UK city of Leeds.

The Innovation Hub will be focused on developing talent, scripted partnerships and content in the Yorkshire city and will be led by executive producer Vicky Wharton.

Wharton has worked as development executive, script editor and drama producer on a raft of award-winning shows, from EastEnders to Murphy’s Law and, most recently, Harlots for US streaming service Hulu.

Sky is currently in production with five original series across the North and North West of the UK, including the third season of Tin Star, set in Liverpool, plus Cobra, Little Birds and Intergalactic, which are all being filmed on location and in studio space in Manchester.

Brassic, Sky’s biggest original comedy series launch for seven years, is currently in production for season two in Lancashire.

Sky already employs more than 1,300 people in Leeds, half of which are based at [email protected] Dock, Sky’s digital and technology hub, building a range of digital products for Sky customers including the Sky News and MySky apps.

Sky Studios also has a majority shareholding in Leeds-based factual production company True North, whose output includes A New Life in the Sun (Channel 4), A1: Britain’s Longest Road (BBC1) and Teen Mom (MTV).

Cameron Roach, director of drama at Sky Studios, said: “We want to ensure we invest in talent for the long term and, with the increased competition for projects, we’re aware there are fewer opportunities for new talent to develop their voices and break through.”

Sky Studios was unveiled earlier this year following US media giant Comcast’s buyout of the satcaster and is aiming to substantially increase the number of original series on the broadcaster’s channels. It is being led by content MD Gary Davey.

Sky is the latest media company to turn its attentions to Leeds following the decision of commercially funded UK pubcaster Channel 4 to build its new national headquarters in the city.

Multichannel broadcaster UKTV, producers’ trade body Pact and All3Media-owned Lime Pictures have since announced presences in the city, while transatlantic producer and distributor Entertainment One has acquired Leeds-based producer Daisybeck Studios.

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