In the exciting build up to Sky's hotly anticipated new drama 'Fortitude', the company have announced two new dramas that are due to air during 2015. The entertainment will come in the form of the a Stephen Mangan comedy drama written by Joe Penhall and entitled 'Birthday', wherein he stars as a heavily pregnant man giving birth in an NHS maternity ward and a new Harlan Coben original story entitled 'The Five' exclusively for Sky Living. Both programmes will be part of Sky's £700 million commitment to British TV production during 2014, of which £75 million has already been used by Fortitude, due to air soon.These two commissions signal Sky's ongoing desire to push out into the world of big name commissions and generate increased revenue from selling their TV programmes to other broadcasters worldwide.
In 'Birthday' Ed, played by Mangan, is well and truly pregnant and finds himself in an NHS hospital, fully dilated and waiting for a cesarean and the birth of his daughter. He's alongside his dutiful, high flying wife (Anna Maxwell) who's trying to make the best of what is a bad, and at best bizarre, situation. We follow them through their journey as the story unfolds in Penhall's hilarious and heartfelt script, adapted from his award winning play of the same name. Sky are understandably proud of securing this exceptional piece of drama, and so is Stephan Mangan, who commented: “We’ve long known that Birthday would make a wonderful TV drama and we’re delighted that Sky Arts shared our vision. Now, for the first time, viewers are able to get right into the delivery room to witness the spectacle of a heavily pregnant man in all his hormonal, bloated, mammary-swollen glory; up close and (maybe a little too) personal.”
Their other big drama commissioned comes from acclaimed author Harlan Coben, who has crafted his first ever tale for the television. 'The Five', as it's due to be titled, is a roller-coaster thrill ride that follows a group of people united by a terrifying and terrible accident. Years prior, the disappearance of one of their younger brothers whilst he was in their care causes the present day group to revisit their past as the boy's DNA turns up at the scene of a murder. The tale, due to be broadcast on Sky Living, should be one of Sky's biggest draws in the New Year and satiate those calling the Sky contact us number to demand higher quality programming.
On his first effort for TV, Harlan Coben said this: “The Five is my first original story for television and I couldn't have found a better home. I've been a fan of Sky Living and Red’s rich, compelling dramas - and working with them has been a thrill. We are creating something special here. I can't wait for you to see it.”
Anne Mensah, Head of Drama for Sky said: "We are committed to bringing top quality original content to our customers, from the best on and off-screen talent in the industry. From the a heavily pregnant Stephen Mangan in Joe Penhall’s startingly original play Birthday to Harlan Coben’s first ever original serial for television plus a raft of other ambitious projects, 2015 is shaping up to be a stellar year for drama on Sky.”
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