Sky Arts, the UK’s only channel dedicated to arts and culture, has announced four new Sky original programme commissions today, as it becomes free for everyone to watch.
With a renewed focus on bringing more of the arts to more people, Sky Arts is embarking on an ambitious programme of activity to support and champion the arts at a vital time for the cultural sector – putting artists, creatives, and public participation centre stage on a channel that everyone across the UK can watch.
Boys: Ashley Walters makes his directorial debut in a short film written by newcomer Jerome Holder. Set in East London, two best friends fulfil a promise made to one’s older brother, embarking on a journey that will shape them and the men they will become.
Offended by Irvine Welsh: Irvine Welsh explores the nature of offence and its impact. Does the fear of offence and cancel culture affect artists’ creative risk taking? He sets out to reclaim the right to offend – but not abuse – as an essential tool for artists.
Sky Arts Book Club Live: A glass of wine, a few tasty morsels, and a good read. Sky Arts recreates all the joys of a book club as hosts Andi Oliver and Elizabeth Day invite four members of an existing club to chat about new releases, favourite classics and hear directly from different guest authors each episode. The show will air live on Sky Arts and the @SkyTV Facebook page giving people at home the unique opportunity to be part of the club.
Charles Hazlewood: Beethoven and Me: marking the 250th anniversary of the birth of Ludwig Van Beethoven, Charles Hazlewood explores the life of the great composer, taking a personal and unique perspective on this troubled genius and a detailed look at his famous 5th symphony masterpiece.
Phil Edgar-Jones, Director of Sky Arts, said: “We are excited to announce four new programmes today which all speak to our mission to broaden access to the arts – whether that’s a thought provoking examination of the boundaries of art, looking at Beethoven from a fresh angle, giving a major talent their directorial debut, or a couple of hours looking at the next great book. There’s something on our newly free channel for everyone to enjoy!”
Sky Arts is now available to watch on Freeview and Freesat on channel numbers 11 and 147. Fans of the popular entertainment channel Pick will now be able to find it at its new home on channel number 34.
In addition to a slate of new programme commissions, the move to become free-to-air includes increased and deepened partnerships with artists and arts organisations, providing them with a platform to create and showcase their work. And to support new talent, the channel will launch a series of bursaries worth £30,000 each, that will see leading figures from the arts support and mentor diverse and emerging new artists
Art and culture lovers will be able to enjoy a diverse range of programmes celebrating music, culture and performance, with the following key programmes due to air in the days and weeks following Sky Arts’ free-to-air debut, Sky Arts Late, Brian Johnson Meets Dave Grohl, Guy Garvey: From the Vaults, Urban Myths, Danny Dyer on Harold Pinter, Life and Rhymes, No Masks, Portrait Artist of the Year & Portrait Artist of the Week, The South Bank Show, Boswell & Johnson’s Scottish Road Trip with Frank Skinner and Denise Mina and many more.
While the Sky Arts linear channel is now free for everyone, the extensive Sky Arts On Demand library of arts content, with more than 2,000 hours of shows, will remain exclusive to Sky and NOW TV entertainment pass customers.