Up Next 2023: Sky’s unscripted slate blossoms with 12 new Sky Original commissions across Factual and Arts
Up Next 2023: Sky’s unscripted slate blossoms with 12 new Sky Original commissions across Factual and Arts
Sky today announces 12 new unscripted original commissions coming to Sky Documentaries, Sky Crime, Sky Nature and Sky Arts in 2023.
On Sky Documentaries, brand new feature doc Zuckerberg: King of the Metaverse (w/t) will piece together the events of Mark Zuckerberg’s life along with the creation of Facebook and Meta, combining rarely seen archive footage and exclusive interviews to take us up close and personal to one of the most powerful figures of the 21st century.
Crime-lovers can tune in to Dublin Narcos, from the team behind BAFTA Award-winning Liverpool Narcos, tracking the rise in violence, addiction and organised crime in Dublin from the 1980s to present day. The Wicklow Mountains west of Dublin are the backdrop for Gone: Ireland’s Vanishing Triangle (w/t), exploring the mystery of six women who went missing without trace in the darkly wooded hills between 1993 and 1998. New docu-series Who Killed Lin and Megan Russell? (w/t) explores one of the most shocking multiple murders of the 90s as Michael Stone, after serving 25 years in prison, prepares a last appeal against his murder conviction. Meanwhile, a complex ecological crime story is unpicked in The Great Rhino Robbery (w/t), exploring how the rhino horn came to be more valuable than gold. One-off feature documentary Forced Out (w/t) asks why being gay in the Armed Forces remained illegal until as late as 2000, telling the story of the countless men and women dishonourably discharged because of their sexuality.
On Sky Nature Steve Backshall returns with his next series Whale with Steve Backshall which will take viewers on a journey across the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans to uncover the world’s most popular yet endangered whales and dolphins. Watch a teaser clip here
Poppy Dixon, Director of Documentaries and Factual Commissioning commented:“Showcasing a richly diverse range of stories, characters and tones – from the man who built our obsession with social media, to the shocking treatment of our gay veterans, from a spate of bizarre international rhino horn robberies to the Dublin-based follow up to our award-winning series Liverpool Narcos, and much more beyond - I couldn’t be more excited about our latest slate of projects in 2023 for Sky Documentaries and Sky Crime.”
Music fans can find an iconic dream team on Sky Arts this year, as AC/DC’s Brian Johnson and Dire Straits’ Mark Knopfler join forces for brand new six-parter Brian Johnson and Mark Knopfler’s Good Times. The rock legends will romp through the history of popular music alongside special guests including Sam Fender and Emmylou Harris. The head-banging continues with Greatest Guitar Riffs, as the world’s best guitarists explore the power of the riff in gigs past and present and its place in pop culture.
Art enthusiasts should prepare to forget everything they thought they knew about Turner as new feature documentary Decoding Turner comes to screens later this year, following two plucky enthusiasts alongside art historians and academics as they reveal the startling hidden codes they believe are woven into his paintings.
Crafters will be pleased to hear after a successful first series, Master Crafters will return to Sky Arts later this year with new host, musician comedian and actor Bill Bailey. Bill Bailey’s Master Crafters: The Next Generation will see Bill join junior crafters and seasoned experts as they explore wood carving, stained glass and silversmithing.
Phil Edgar-Jones, Director of Sky Arts and Entertainment said: We have a range of treats for our loyal Sky Arts lovers over the next few months, whether they want to argue over the best guitar riffs, marvel at the hidden symbols in JMW Turner’s paintings or spend quality time with a rock legend or two. Joan Jett to Mavis Staples and everything in between.
Sky Documentaries and Sky Crime titles are commissioned by Poppy Dixon, Director of Documentaries and Factual. Sky Arts titles are commissioned by Phil Edgar-Jones, Director of Sky Arts and Entertainment. All titles are commissioned for Zai Bennett, Managing Director of Content for Sky UK and Ireland. The Commissioning Editors for factual are Tom Barry and Hayley Reynolds. The Commissioning Editors for arts are Barbara Lee and Benedetta Pinelli.
The announcements made today join a raft of original and exclusive TV shows and films coming to Sky in 2023, offering customers more value and choice than ever before. Check out what’s coming Up Next on Sky screens in 2023 here.
Notes to Editors
For further information on Sky Documentaries and Sky Crime titles, please contact Marina Forsythe and Patricia Deveer.
For further information on Sky Arts titles, please contact Lucy Butterfield.
Zuckerberg: King of the Metaverse (w/t, 1x90), Sky Documentaries and NOW, Autumn 2023: For the first time, this feature documentary will piece together the events of Mark Zuckerberg's life and his creation of Facebook and Meta, to reveal one of the most powerful figures of the 21st century. Told through key players and rarely seen archive, Zuckerberg: King of the Metaverse w/t will unpick the enigmatic man behind it all, telling the inside story of the remarkable events that have defined his life and career - and the world with it. For many, Zuckerberg’s creation is a vision of heaven where everyone can connect and come together. For others it has unleashed some of the darkest forces in the history of humanity. As Zuckerberg fights for the future of his empire, now is the perfect opportunity to tell one of the great stories of our time.
Zuckerberg: King of the Metaverse (w/t) is produced by BAFTA and Emmy winning Rogan Productions, in association with Sky Studios, and directed by Nick Green.
Dublin Narcos (3x60), Sky Documentaries and NOW, 5th March 2023: Over the 1980s and 1990s Dublin transformed from a recession-blighted backwater to one of the wealthiest cities in Europe. As its fortunes changed so did those of its criminals, who profited from selling heroin, ecstasy and cocaine. Dublin Narcos tells the story of the rise in addiction, violence and organised crime over these years and which persist to this day, with first hand testimony from the kingpins and cops to the ravers and users. We also hear from the fearless journalists whose attempts at exposing the drugs barons led to the death of one of their bravest, Veronica Guerin.
Dublin Narcos is produced by Blast! and Sky Studios. It’s written and directed by Benedict Sanderson. Executive producers are Edmund Coulthard and Sacha Baveystock; Series Producer is Claire McFall; and Producer is Laura Dunne.
Gone: Ireland’s Vanishing Triangle (w/t, 2x60), Sky Crime and NOW, Autumn 2023: Between 1993 and 1998, six young women went missing around the Wicklow Mountains west of Dublin. All were snatched from ordinary lives but are linked by an extraordinary fact: not a single trace was found of any of them. Twenty-five years on, their families have had no answers. Award-winning filmmaker Colette Camden takes us through the area now known as The Vanishing Triangle, revealing how, for many, the focus remains on a convicted sex offender the papers call “The Beast of Baltinglass”, whose history of violence invites suspicion. Others, however, feel this is a distraction from alternative avenues of inquiry.
Gone: Ireland’s Vanishing Triangle (w/t) is produced by Five Mile Films, in association with Sky Studios, and directed by Colette Camden. Alice Duffy is Producer and the Executive Producer is Nick Mirsky.
Who Killed Lin and Megan Russell? (w/t, 3x60), Sky Crime and NOW, Autumn 2023 :In 1996, Lin Russell and her six-year-old daughter Megan were brutally killed in broad daylight while 9-year-old Josie Russell incredibly survived. It became one of the country's most shocking multiple murders of the 90's. After a year, the police finally charged local drug addict Michael Stone, based primarily on a ‘confession’ to a former cell mate. Now, after Stone has served 25 years and continues to maintain his innocence, this series includes exclusive access to his legal team as they prepare one last appeal, coinciding with a claim by one of Britain's most notorious serial killers, Levi Bellfield, that he committed the murders.
Who Killed Lin and Megan Russell (w/t) is produced by Rare TV, in association with Sky Studios, and executive produced by Rory Wheeler. Series Director is Tom Peppiatt and Nada Issa is Producer.
The Great Rhino Robbery (w/t, 3x60), Sky Documentaries and NOW, Summer 2023: In 2011, regional museums and auction houses across Britain are hit by a bizarre crime spree. Despite holding millions of pounds worth of precious artefacts, only one item has been targeted during each robbery: rhino horn. As this strange crime wave sweeps through Europe and beyond, rhino numbers are shrinking as their horns become more valuable than gold in the dark, illegal, world of animal poaching and trafficking. This documentary unpicks the story behind why the Rhino is facing extinction and the race to catch the people responsible - before it’s too late.
The Great Rhino Robbery (w/t) is produced by the BBC Studios Documentary Unit in association with Sky Studios and is executive produced by Will Lorimer. Series Director is Jesse Vile and Series Producer is Bernadette Ross. Anoop Pandhal and Joanna Boateng serve as producers.
Forced Out (w/t, 1x90), Sky Documentaries and NOW, Summer 2023: Although homosexuality was decriminalised in the UK decades earlier, it remained illegal to be gay in the UK Armed Forces until 2000. Forced Out (w/t) tells the story of the men and women who were dishonourably discharged from the Army, Navy and RAF because of their sexuality. Thousands faced intrusive interrogations by military police and many were imprisoned, had medals removed, and lost their service pensions. Released to coincide with the findings of an independent government review, this film charts the historic battle for the ban to be overturned.
Forced Out (w/t) is produced by Dragonfly Film & TV (part of Banijay UK) in association with Sky Studios. Tom Pullen and Richard Bond are the Executive Producers, Luke Korzun Martin is the Producer Director and Sophie Perrins is the Producer.
Whale with Steve Backshall, (4x60), Sky Nature and NOW, Autumn 2023: Steve Backshall, a naturalist, conservationist, and one of TV’s most renowned wildlife presenters, will take viewers on a journey across the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans to uncover the world’s most popular yet endangered whales and dolphins. Watch the teaser here
A True to Nature and Sky Studios production, in association with Fremantle, Whale with Steve Backshall is directed by Ellen Husain and Tom Whitworth, and executive produced by Wendy Darke. Simon Nash is series producer.
Brian Johnson and Mark Knopfler’s Good Times (6x60), Sky Arts and NOW, Autumn 2023: Musicians don’t come much bigger than legends of rock Brian Johnson and Mark Knopfler, lead singers of AC/DC and Dire Straits. Having sold a staggering 300 million records between them, each has left their own mark on our cultural history. Now, after a lifetime in music, they’re taking a moment to reflect. In this brand new series, Brian, Mark and special guests including Sam Fender and Emmylou Harris will embark on a joyous romp through the history of popular music, exploring the key moments that transformed these mavericks into iconic musicians.
Brian Johnson and Mark Knopfler’s Good Times is produced by Somethin’ Else TV Studio, part of 4th Floor Creative, a division of Sony Music Entertainment UK.
Greatest Guitar Riffs (3x60), Sky Arts and NOW, Autumn 2023: Forget solos. The riff is where legends are made. Join the world’s greatest living guitarists as they celebrate the power of the riff, a humble instrumental refrain which united us under its spell and changed music forever. With masterclass demonstrations and stories of gigs past and present, the architects of our favourite songs will deconstruct their own riffs as well as those that inspired them, from the opening seconds of The Kinks’ You Really Got Me to Dolly Parton’s iconic intro to Jolene.
Greatest Guitar RIffs is produced by Somethin’ Else TV Studio, part of 4th Floor Creative, a division of Sony Music Entertainment UK.
Decoding Turner (1x90), Sky Arts and NOW, Summer 2023: JMW Turner’s paintings are world famous, but what if they’re not what they seem? This new one-off film will change the way we interpret some of Turner’s most familiar works as two plucky enthusiasts, joined by art historians and academics, reveal the startling hidden codes they believe are woven into his paintings. Follow their Da Vinci Code-esque quest as they delve into the unseen images which have been staring out from their frames for centuries.
Decoding Turner is produced by Castle Entertainment.
Bill Bailey’s Master Crafters: The Next Generation (4x60), Sky Arts and NOW, Spring 2023: Celebrating traditional crafts, Bill Bailey’s Master Crafters: The Next Generation, will spotlight the stellar work of expert crafts professionals across Britain and follow junior crafters as they refine their skills. Filmed across the UK, this series will explore three traditional heritage crafts in all their glory: wood carving, stained glass and silversmithing. The show will also highlight the work of The Prince’s Foundation in supporting new generations of crafters and keeping traditional building skills alive as a key part of our national and international heritage.
Bill Bailey’s Master Crafters: The Next Generation is produced by Spun Gold TV.