First Sky Arts Amplify Grants Announced
Aside from their tireless work in bringing world class TV to our homes and improving Britain’s young athletes in the Sky Academy, Sky are also dedicated to supporting the arts within the UK. As arts budgets are slashed in an austerity nation, Sky have stepped up and offered £3 million in funding to encourage arts organisations to pitch together to win up to a million pounds in funding annually over the next three years on new TV ideas. Now, a few months later Sky are pleased to announce the first three ideas that have come from the fund. They’re a drama-doc about sexting, a new work at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park and a ground-breaking theatrical piece.
A new development in the scene means that Arts Council England will help broaden the reach of Sky Arts Amplify by creating so called ‘speed dating’ sessions across England for Arts organisations and production companies to meet and discuss potential ideas and collaboration. If those meetings are successful, Sky will support some of the best ideas to help take them to the next stage of development. It’s a fantastic deal for arts organisations and for Sky, and both are hoping that the future is bright.
The first project that Sky Arts have commissioned through the fund is called Generation Sext, and it sees the National Youth Theatre team up with The Christmas TV & Film Company for a 30 minute drama-doc based on the earth day workshops of a new National Youth Theatre play that explores the issues around so-called ‘Sexting’, young people and sexual consent. Described as “a compelling mix of real-life testimony and dramatic scenes written as an immediate response to the issues generated by the workshops”, it promises to be nothing if not totally fascinating. Generation Sext will air on Sky Arts on Wednesday the 29th of July at 10pm.
Next up is a site specific work at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park from What Larks!, who are developing the idea of creating a specially choreographed performance piece based around a new exhibition within the park. The Sky Arts film would be follow an artist as they prepare for the exhibition and the performance while exploring their inspirations and dreams. There is no specific release date, but Sky Arts assure us it’ll broadcast in 2016.
The final project getting support from Amplify is from Wingspan Productions, who will be delivering a highly unusual one-off theatrical performance piece to be aired on Sky Arts in 2016. Taking the form of two one hour documentaries detailing the development of the innovative piece and the final piece in full from a theatre in London’s West End. The project is due to air in 2016.
Phil Edgar-Jones, Director, Sky Arts: “In launching Amplify we wanted to create new and innovative ways of making Arts TV. The first few projects out the blocks absolutely deliver on this intent. From shining a light on the world of sexting with the NYT; to unleashing an unbelievably daring way of making theatre on the world; to creating an ambitious dance-meets-sculpture project; all these projects demonstrate the vibrancy and breadth of the arts in the UK.”
Sky Pick Up Aquarius Rights
The business of keeping pay-TV customers happy is a relatively simple one; have things work, fix them when they don’t and make sure there’s good stuff to watch. Over the years, Sky have worked tirelessly at all three of those, building the best DVR (Sky+), the best customer service team and one of the finest TV lineups in the world. Whilst the first two of those three are fixed, the third requires almost constant attention from the company. In the last year, we’ve seen Sky pick up the likes of True Detective Series 2, The Brink, The Muppets and many more in an effort to become the home of some of the best world TV in the UK.
Today, Sky have announced that they’ve added yet another programme to a rapidly growing list of impressive TV acquisitions – Aquarius. This NBC drama stars X-Files and Californiacation legend David Duchovny as Los Angeles homicide detective Sam Hodiak, circa 1967. It’s the height of the ‘summer of love’ and years before Charles Manson (played here by Gethin Anthony) would notoriously mastermind the horrific Tate-LaBianca murders for which he is now imprisoned. The tale follows the work of Detective Hodiak as he enlists a young detective named Brian Shafe (Grey Damon) to aid his missing persons investigation and to infiltrate the Manson family as they continue to recruit vulnerable young men and women to join their cause. Also starring Inherent Vice’s Emma Dumont and The Vampire Diaries’ Claire Holt.
The programme is a 13 x 60 minute drama and was acquired for Sky Atlantic UK, Ireland, Austria and Germany by Sophie Judge, Acquisitions Manager, Sky Entertainment, and joins a deal announced earlier this year for Sky Italia to screen the series. It was acquired from Jayne Redpath, SVP Sales for UK/Eire and Pan-Territory and Andre Renaud, Senior Sales Executive for SE EMEA for ITV Studios Global Entertainment, which distributes the show internationally. Aquarius is produced by Tomorrow Studios, a partnership between ITV Studios and Marty Adelstein. Following its first airing on Tuesday 11 August on Sky Atlantic in the UK and Ireland, the drama will broadcast in other Sky territories later in the year.
Gary Davey, Sky’s Managing Director of Content, commented
“I’m thrilled Sky has secured Aquarius for our customers across Europe. With an excellent script and high production values as well as an acclaimed cast, it will make for gripping television. Exclusively on Sky Atlantic, Aquarius further strengthens Sky’s position as the home of quality drama across Europe.”
Dan Gopal, EVP EMEA Distribution and Global Digital Partners for ITV Studios Global Entertainment said
“Sky’s reputation for broadcasting the best international content makes it the perfect home for Aquarius, a compelling drama which combines intelligent writing, thrilling storyline, the star power of David Duchovny and the iconic fashion and music of the 1960s. We are delighted that it will launch on Sky Atlantic in the UK during August, while the series continues its run in the US, and we look forward to its forthcoming debut in Sky’s other European territories later this year. It’s great that Sky’s audience will be able to enjoy the show across the full offering of Sky’s linear and on-demand services in each market, whether at home or on the go.”
This latest deal just proves that Sky is the place to be this summer, following the news that Sky 1 will be broadcasting a new Richard Hammond programme very soon. All in all, it would appear that Sky aren’t taking their foot off the pedal in the war against BT and Virgin Media.
How To Fix Sky Phone Problems
The home phone is still an integral part of a home, even with the proliferation of mobile phones, and as such, losing it can feel like you’re missing out on a lot. If you’re experiencing Sky home phone issues then you’ll be familiar with the feeling. In this guide we’ll help you fix those issues.
- Check Sky Status Service
Sky operate a service which informs customers which parts of their service are and aren’t working at any given time. It can be accessed through their website or through the Sky service application for your phone. If Sky Talk is listed as being down, then it’s a problem at Sky’s end and you’ll have to wait for them to fix it. Rest assured that they’ll be hard at work on the issue.
- Check your dial tone
Ensure your phone is turned on and lift it to your ear, if you can’t hear a dial town then check the following:
- Whether your phone line has been damaged (chewed, et cetera) or accidentally pulled off from the socket.
- Whether the volume of your phone has been turned down.
- Whether any of the other landline phones around your house are on or off the hook.
After going through all these checks, now try to plug any other corded phone into the master socket. You can easily search the master socket which is usually located where the telephone line enters your premises and quite often comes with a horizontal line running across it. Now, if you are able to hear a dial tone with that phone, then most probably the problem is likely to be with your handset.
- Unplug everything from your phone line
Unplug each bit of equipment plugged in to your phone line, this might include computers, telephones, fax machines, Sky boxes, micro filters, routers, adapters, extension leads and more.
With that done, plug a working corded telephone in to your master slot and see if you’re getting a dial tone. If you are, start plugging back in the things you unplugged, checking the dial tone from time to time. If you discover a piece of equipment is faulty contact the manufacturer for a replacement.
- Check the phone line
If all else has failed, then it’s likely that there’s an issue with the telephone line entering your premise. If you’ve had any maintenance work done around the house recently it might have damaged the telephone line and left you with a dead phone. Seek out the damaged cable and have a technician replace it, Sky will be able to provide this service. All you need to do is use the phone number for Sky and ring from your mobile, naturally.
How To Fix Your Sky Signal Problems
For millions of homeowners, having Sky in the living room is a luxury which makes unwinding after a long day feel amazing. With programmes like Fortitude and Game of Thrones on the box, there’s always something to look forward to, except when your TV isn’t getting any signal. If your Sky box is giving you messages like ‘No Satellite Signal is being received’ or ‘Your Sky+ HD box isn’t getting a satellite signal’ then you’re probably looking for a way to fix it. This the guide for you.
1) Try restarting your box
Hold the power button on your remote for 5 seconds, allow it to power down and then hold the Sky button for 5 seconds to turn it back on again. If the signal issues persist turn your Sky box off at the switch and ensure that all cables are properly inserted into the rear and in the right slots. Whilst you’re there, ensure that there’s no furniture crushing the cables as this can disrupt your signal. Switch your box back on now.
2) Check the weather
If the previous step didn’t work, you could be suffering from severe weather conditions. Sky state that the satellite signal can be disputed by thunderstorms, heavy rain, snow and strong winds, so if you’re experiencing any of the above during your period of bad signal, that could be the explanation. Wait for the weather to clear and check the signal.
3) Check the other box
If you own more than one Sky box, go to the same channel on your other box and see if you’re getting the same message. If one box is reading a signal error but the other isn’t, there’s a chance your box is broken and will need replacing by Sky, this can easily be arranged over the phone on the Sky customer service number.
Sky1 Goes All In on Original Programming
It’s no exaggeration to say that Sky have made a huge investment into becoming a different type of pay-TV company. The business has, over the years, produced some top notch original programming, but Sky made its name in importing programmes like The Simpsons and Malcolm in the Middle. Even now, some of the most popular programmes on Sky are there courtesy of a deal struck with HBO, which gives Sky the right to broadcast programmes like Game of Thrones, Mad Men and many others. This last few years though have seen Sky see the value in creating their own world class TV programmes to really put their name on the map.
That initiative has seen the likes of Critical, Fortitude, Agatha Raisin, Alan Partridge, A League of Their Own, The Enfield Hauntings and countless others grace our screens, but Sky aren’t anywhere near being done yet. No, because from this autumn, Sky’s biggest ever investment in programming (up 20% on last year) will introduce a new line up of fresh and modern entertainment for all the family. With a focus on original British productions, Sky will play host to some of the most exciting TV available anywhere.
New shows include the globetrotting end of the world series You, Me & The Apocalypse and brand new comedy series After Hours, directed by Craig Cash, who will also be helming forthcoming series Rovers. There’s also the return of Karl Pilkington for a new series of Karl Pilkington: The Moaning of Life, which will premiere alongside fantastic new factual shows like Big Cats: An Amazing Animal Family and Ross Kemp’s Britain. There’s also great new comedy from new series of Trollied and Stella, as well as the exciting return of The Muppets, in their new TV programme which promises to be as winning and hilarious as their previous outings.
These programmes feature some of the best and brightest talent in the country, including the likes of Timothy Spall, James Nesbitt, Ashley Jensen, Patrick Aryee, Geraldine James, Victoria Wood, Ardal O’Hanlon and Keeley Hawes as well as writers and directors such as Ruth Jones, Joe Wilkinson, David Earl, Neil Biswas and Danny Brocklehurst. Such a public backing of British talent surely won’t go unnoticed around the world, and with Sky Vision taking care of overseas sales, you can be sure that Sky’s new programming efforts will find a home around the globe.
“I’m so excited we can offer absolutely top-quality drama all year round and I love how brilliantly unique our comedies feel,” said Adam MacDonald, director, Sky 1, speaking about the channel’s new line-up.
“The range of original programming we have completely reflects what Sky 1 stands for – the very best of modern Britain and Ireland, and all the eclecticism, diversity and joy that implies. We know that some of the best family moments come from sitting around the TV and enjoying that time together, and we hope with this new line-up to create many more of those moments.”
You, Me & The Apocalypse
Fungus the Bogetman
The Moaning of Life
50 Ways to Kill Your Mammy
Duck Quacks Don’t Echo
A League of Their Own
A League of Their Own: American Road Trip
Big Cats: An Amazing Animal Family
Ross Kemp’s Britain
The Best of the US:
Sky 1 Bringing New Muppets to UK
The return of the Muppets, in any shape, size or form is never anything short of great news. Ever since Kermit the Frog leaped out of Jim Henson’s imagination in the mid 1950s, The Muppets have been a near unstoppable cultural force, combining sly humour with a family friendly aethestic, The Muppets have been a chaotic stroke of genius that still hasn’t had its creative flame extinguished. Long after making their debut on the Sam and Friends show, the Muppets got their own TV show in 1976. The Muppet Show was a variety show featuring the likes of Kermit, Rowlf, Miss Piggy, Fozzie Bear, The Great Gonzo and, of course, Animal. It’s brand of humour caught on quickly and boosted by a consistently strong line up of celebrity guests, the programme became immensely successful, being sold around the world and adored by hundreds of millions.
They went on to star in a number of films, including The Muppet Movie, The Great Muppet Caper, The Muppets Take Manhattan, The Muppets Christmas Carol and Muppet Treasure Island, before returning to TV for a two year stint as ‘Muppets Tonight’ which returned the characters to their variety roots for big laughs alongside stars like Vincent Price and Prince.
By the early 2000s, The Muppets were largely out of the picture, and it wasn’t until long after Disney’s 2004 buyout of the Henson Company that the company began reintroducing the characters to the public through YouTube skits in 2008. By 2011, the team were ready to star in a new films, titled simply The Muppets. With Jason Segal, Amy Adams, Chris Cooper and Flight of the Conchords member Bret McKenzie as music supervisor. That team, along with the hilarious script, helped the film reach a huge audience, get fantastic reviews and even pick up an Academy Award for Best Original Song (the fantastic ‘Man or Muppet’). That success spurred Disney on to make another Muppets feature, this time called Muppets Most Wanted, which was released in 2014.
Clearly then, Disney have a lot of time for the Muppets at the moment, and as such, they’ve given the green light for an all new series of The Muppets, but they’re back in a way we’ve never seen them before – documentary style! Shot in the same style as the US Office, for the first time ever, cameras will document the ups and downs of the Muppets’ day-to-day lives as they prepare to reunite for a new TV series. Bill Prady of The Big Bang Theory and Bob Kushell of Anger Management are co-writing and serving as exec producers.
The programme is due to air in the US on the 22nd of September and Sky have picked up the exclusive rights to broadcast it in the UK, though no date has been set for its airing over here. It’s excellent news for Sky One, who by picking up this deal have ensured that they won’t need to give out free one day passes to keep customers excited about the future.
Adam MacDonald, Director of Sky 1 commented:
“Get ready to see the Muppets like you’ve never seen them before – with no-holds-barred access as they prepare for their big reunion, The Muppets promises a candid look at what goes on before and after they start the music and light the lights!”
Dayna Donaldson, General Manager, Media Distribution, Disney UK and Ireland commented:
“The addition of The Muppets to Sky’s schedule builds on our long, successful relationship with the UK broadcaster. We are delighted to bring the much-loved characters and universally cheeky storylines to Sky’s already powerful slate of Disney content across the Sky portfolio, including Sky Movies Disney and ABC Studios’ Scandal and Criminal Minds.”
Sky Offering Free One Day Now TV Sports Pass
If, somehow, between the TV adverts, poster campaign and general buzz you’ve somehow missed the news that the Ashes is about to begin again, this time taking place in England as the home nation dream of bringing the ashes back to home soil after a few disappointing years. Hopes are high following an excellent one day victory over New Zealand, but the competition remains in anyones hands, and it seems like it’s all going to come down to the come down to what happens on each day. One thing’s for sure though, anticipation is at an all time high, and Sky are doing their very best to capitalise on the fevered excitement of cricket fans up and down the country.
Already we’ve seen Sky announce that for a full month, Sky Sports 2 will become Sky Sports Ashes, showing not only full live games but also classic games from the past, documentaries and profiles on some of cricket’s best and brightest players, both past and present. It’s great news for cricket fans and the new #MyAshesSummer campaign will mean that anyone who tags their Ashes celebrations will be in with a chance to have their pictures or videos featured on a TV advert on Sky, instantly immortalising you and your friends.
Today though, we’ve got some extra news for cricket fans, and it’s pretty great. Sky are giving away a free Sky Sports Day Pass to every single Now TV subscriber on the 8th of July. That’s right, entirely free, a total saving of £6.99 and a great way for you to get into the action and see what The Ashes is all about. All customers need to do is use the code NOWTVASHES at www.nowtv.com/ashes, though the offer ends at 23.59pm on the 8th July. It’s a sellar offer, and one which has sent the Sky customer contact number into rapture.
This offer coincides with some research that Sky conducted which shows that nearly half of all people with a Now TV subscription used it to watch sports whilst at work, secretly tuning in to their favourite football, tennis and cricket matches. It’s a fun statistic that shows just how far we’ll go to enjoy our favourite sports whilst at work. Whipping your phone out under the desk and turning down the volume can work wonders, and you’re ready. The research also reveals that over a quarter (27%) admit to watching sport in secret: booking covert meeting rooms to keep up with the latest score, using their second screens for streaming and most disturbingly taking slightly longer in the bathroom.
Well, in celebration of this, Sky have made it even more tempting by giving away a free pass, and therefore lowering productivity across the nation by what we can only imagine will be a pretty sizable chunk. The offer doesn’t just apply to smartphones and tablets though, so you’ll be able to watch the cricket on your big screen should you choose to. We think it’s a fantastic deal, and social media has jumped at the opportunity to praise Sky for such a thoughtful move, despite the knowledge that they’re hoping to hook people on The Ashes.
Gidon Katz, Director of NOW TV, said: “We know premium live sport is one of the main reasons that our customers choose NOW TV. I’m bowled over that we’re able to give sport fans the chance to watch day one of the first Ashes Test for free. I am sure there will be plenty of people joining me in secretly tuning in at work!”
Nile Rodgers Busks for Sky Arts
It’s certainly no secret that Sky Arts has just undergone a pretty thorough overhaul, having gone from two channels to just one and moving its position in the TV guide, moving a step closer to the terrestrial channels and showing that Sky still care about the service. Still caring, in fact, is the ongoing theme with the shift. Sky have not only increased its programming budget by a full 10%, they’ve also launched a new Sky Arts Production Hub in Milan in an effort to create thrilling new programming for their 21 million worldwide subscribers. Indeed, to help celebrate the relaunch of Sky Arts, the company are going to some great lengths, and getting some pretty big stars on board for a host of surprises.
One such star is Nile Rodgers, one of the finest songwriters and producers of his generation and the mind behind the likes of Chic, Sister Sledge and countless others. The American musician took to the streets of London, dressed as an ordinary busker in order to see how much he could make. Bearing in mind that the disco legend regularly performs concerts where tickets can cost up to £300, Mr. Rodgers only managed to take £12.30 before he dropped his disguise. As he did that, he turned to the songs which defined an era, hits like ‘Good Times’ and ‘Le Freak’ which quickly drew in a massive crowd as word got out that it was Nile himself.
This impromptu gig was to mark the relaunch of Sky Arts as a new, single superchannel alongside their new Sky Arts on Demand initiative. It’s that latter part which is probably of most interest, with Sky uploading over 1000 hours of arts programming ready for customers to stream at any point, with the promise of much, much more to come in the near future. The shift is likely due the cost of broadcasting two relatively unpopular channels when one and a on demand service could suffice. Indeed, the decision has been criticised on the Sky Bet phone number but on the whole customers just seem pleased for easier access to top tier arts programing.
Heading up the programming on the new superchannel is Guitar Star, a nationwide search to find the very best guitar talent from a range of genres, with the winner going on to perform in front of 30,000 people at the main stage at Latitude Festival – a prize surely coveted by most enthusiastic musicians. So far we’ve seen the national auditions bring in some amazing talent and the longlist has been chosen. From here, we’ll see them go on their journey, being mentored, getting a recording session and maybe, going on to perform at Latitude.
Philip Edgar Jones, Director of Sky Arts said, “We’re convinced that Sky Arts offers something for everyone, and we have tried our best with the relaunch to bring people closer to the stuff they love. We’re delighted to bring that ethos to life with this impromptu performance: Nile is one of music’s living legends and we’re thrilled that he’s helped capture the spirit of Sky Arts in such a fun and entertaining way.”
Sky Sports Launches #MyAshesSummer Campaign
As the summer approaches, there’s only one thing on the minds of cricket fans across the country, and that’s the Ashes. Oh sure, the promise of sun, relaxation and time with the family is certainly a draw, but that famous old competition, one of the most famous and oldest of all is still irresistible. Even more so in recent years as England fought through a terrible period from the late 80s through to the early 00s where Australia dominated the competition to return the Ashes to England in 2005. Since then it’s been a tough fight between Australia and England, with an almost equal sharing since then.
The 2015 series is due to take place in England, with Lord’s, Trent Bridge, the SWALEC Stadium, Edgbaston and, of course, The Oval. Starting with this series, the four-year cycle of Ashes series in england will be brought forwards by two years, and Australia were brought forward one year, beginning with the 2013/14 series. This was to avoid a clash with the 2015 Cricket World Cup which was hosted by Australia and New Zealand. Beginning on 8th of July and concluding on the 24th of August, it promises to be an extremely competitive tournament, especially with England having just triumphed over New Zealand in a one day tournament, something they believe will give them the confidence to earn the ashes for their nation.
For their part, Sky are going absolutely Ashes mad. This year, the only coverage of the series will be on Sky Sports, and in honour of landing the rights to such a huge event, Sky are turning Sky Sports 2 into Sky Sports Ashes and are presenting a huge range of cricket programming, including a full week of build up before the competition gets started proper. It’s a very strong showing from Sky, and the effort hasn’t gone unnoticed, with the Sky contact number 0844 ringing off the hook from new cricket mad customers signing up for Sky Sports.
It’s not a one way relationship though, because Sky Sports are enlisting your help to make their new advertising campaign their most memorable yet. The campaign is called #MyAshesSummer and captures what an Ashes summer is like to both players and supporters. Fans are invited to tag their Ashes pictures and videos with the hashtag #MyAshesSummer, whether that’s selfies from the ground or pictures of friends and family coming together at home or in the pub to take on the Aussies together. These user generated images will sit alongside footage of great ashes moments, as well as candid behind the scenes shots from the Ashes preparation.
The TV advert will be updated after every test, meaning not only will there be a good chance of seeing you and your mates on the TV, but you’ll be looking forward to seeing the adverts as they’re broadcast. Entries via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Vine are all accepted, so don’t let your excitement be tempered by the format you use.
Catherine Parsons, Head of Sports Marketing said: “The Ashes is the pinnacle of cricket for English and Australian cricketers and for fans, no other competition matters more. It will bring us all together and our SkySports campaign is about capturing that mood of the nation through selfies,tweets, Instagram videos and status updates. By using #MyAshesSummer, viewers have the chance to be part of the great summer of sporting drama and show the nation why an Ashes summer is like no other.”
Game of Thrones finale racks up 1.3 million viewers
It’s no secret that Game of Thrones is one of the biggest, most shocking programmes on TV right now. The programme, which launched in 2011 as an adaptation of George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Fire and Ice series of books has grown to become one of the biggest programmes in television history, with a star studded cast, beautiful locations and a story as tight and compelling as anything else out there at the moment. Between shoots in Northern Ireland, Croatia, Iceland, Morocco, Spain, Malta, Scotland and the United States, Game of Thrones has become one of the most expensive TV programmes on air at the moment, with each episode costing around $6 million to make. That money, far from going on established acting names (though the likes of Charles Dance, Sean Bean and others have appeared on the programme), has brought a new generation of talented young actors to our screens.
Now in it’s fifth series, Game of Thrones has captured the hearts and minds of people across the world through unpredictable, wildly violent storytelling and a compelling fantasy world. Such is the fandom surrounding the programme that conventions like Comic Con have become flooded by fans dressed in replica clothing from the series. As such, it’s little surprise to hear that the shocking, incredibly violent final episode of the fifth series debuted to very strong numbers on Sky Atlantic, the only channel in the UK with the rights to broadcast the programme.
Overnight numbers from BARB indicate that the Game of Thrones finale drew 1.3 million people to the live 9pm broadcast on Sky Atlantic, much higher than the previous numbers in the series. This could be due to people catching up On Demand, or simply curious people watching the final episode (it happens, it’s weird). Those numbers don’t take into account the 2am simulcast or the streaming numbers of customers turning up to the party a little late and watching it via Sky’s robust catch up service. With those numbers included, it’s highly likely that the episode saw over 2 million customers tune in to watch it.
This fifth series has been marked with controversy, with some fans complaining about the prevalence of sexual violence. It’s also been the first series where the showrunners have gone off script, creating new storylines for characters simply because they are now out of books from which to draw their plotlines. That decision has been met with ire from fans of the books who make up a significant portion of the shows most ardent fans, who have criticised the ham fisted ways in which the TV writers have dealt with major characters.
Nevertheless, the programme remains an extremely important programme for Sky, who have it as an exclusive for Sky customers with Sky+ or Now TV and use it as a primary reason for potential customers to sign up to the service via the contact Sky phone number. As such, the company will be delighted with these overnight numbers as it shows that audience appetite for the programme remains strong despite the aforementioned controversies.