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Programme Preview: The Young Pope

jude law the young pope

Update: Following its successful broadcast in the UK and Europe, The Young Pope has now been broadcast in the US, via HBO. It's also, amusingly, become the focal point of a meme as people take the name 'The Young Pope' at face value - something the Sky free telephone number certainly couldn't have imagined. Nevertheless, the programme received critical acclaim and is now available to view on Sky Box Sets for Sky +, Sky Q and Now TV customers.

In the world of TV production, there are three names which sell their content worldwide to a fevered and ravenous audience. Those three companies are our very own Sky (who've had massive success with the likes of Critical and Fortitude), HBO (Game of Thrones, The Jinx, Boardwalk Empire) and Canal+ (The Tunnel, 24). Each of them brings a degree of high quality sheen to their programming, and each of them understand that in a content led market, they have to produce TV which simply can't be ignored. As such, it's a pretty exciting day when we hear that all three will be teaming up to produce a new series from Academy Award winning director Paolo Sorrentino entitled The Young Pope.

Sorrentino shot to fame as the screenwriter of The Dust of Naples in 19098, before going on to write and direct The Consequences of Love, which explored the mindset of a lonely businessman being used as a pawn by the Mafia. The film was extremely well received, and was nominated for the Palme D'Or at the 2004 Cannes Film Festival. He's since worked on many films, creating a reputation as a filmmaker with a keen understanding of both drama and cinema. His forthcoming film, Youth, will be his second English language film after Sean Penn's This Must Be The Place. It stars Michael Caine as a retired orchestra conductor and will be competing for a Palme D'Or in the 2015 Cannes Film Festival.

The Young Pope, however, will star two-time Academy Award nominee Jude Law as PIUS XIII. born Lenny Belardo. A deeply complex character, Belardo was an almost comically conservative man in his beliefs, but yer would act with absolute compassion towards the weak and poor. Resistant to his office and the Vatican couriers, Belardo will face losing those closest to him and even his God. Here's what Paolo Sorrentino had to say about The Young Pope:

”The clear signs of God’s existence. The clear signs of God’s absence. How faith can be searched for and lost. The greatness of holiness, so great as to be unbearable when you are fighting temptations and when all you can do is to yield to them. The inner struggle between the huge responsibility of the Head of the Catholic Church and the miseries of the simple man that fate (or the Holy Spirit) chose as Pontiff. Finally, how to handle and manipulate power in a state whose dogma and moral imperative is the renunciation of power and selfless love towards one’s neighbor. That is what The Young Pope is about.”

The eight part series will most likely debut in late 2016, with filming set to finish in the early months of that year. It will be produced by Wildside, and co-produced by Haut et Court TV. Executive Producers for Wildside are Lorenzo Mieli and Mario Gianani together with John Lyons. Executive Producers for Haut et Court TV are Caroline Benjo, Carole Scotta and Simon Arnal. It will be broadcast on Sky Atlantic.

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