‘A period drama starring Dirty John star Juno Temple and a sci-fi drama set in the 23rd Century are the first two original commissions from recently promoted Sky drama chief Cameron Roach.
Temple, who also starred in films such as Antonement and Killer Joe, is fronting Little Birds, an adaptation of Anais Nin’s infamous collection of erotic short stories.
Written by The Girl Who Fell to Earth author Sophia Al-Maria and directed by Billions and House of Cards director Stacie Passon, Little Birds is produced by The Last Panthers and This Is England producer Warp Films. Set in Tangier in 1955, in the famous international zone, one of the last outposts of colonial decadence, it follows troubled American debutante Lucy Savage, played by Temple, as she faces a culture shock.
Thrilled to escape her controlling parents, Savage arrives full of anticipation for her marriage to her English fiancée, Lord Hugo Cavendish-Smythe, little knowing that Hugo has already lost his heart to someone else. As Lucy fights to carve out her independence and identity, her life becomes intertwined with Cherifa Lamour, played by Submarine star Yumna Marwan, a Moroccan dominatrix who services the diplomats and foreigners of this colourful, bohemian world and Egyptian Aristocrat Adham Abaza, played by 24: Legacy star Raphael Acloque, and they all become entangled with some very dangerous characters,
The six-part series, which will air on Sky Atlantic, is exec produced by Warp Films’ Ruth McCance and Peter Carlton and will film in Spain and Manchester. Airing in 2020, the series will be distributed by ITV Studios Global Entertainment.
Meanwhile, Intergalactic is an action-packed sci-fi drama, set in the 23rd Century and written by Prisoners’ Wives and Secret Diary of a Call Girl writer Julie Gearey. It follows a crew of fierce female convicts who break free and go on the run.
The series follows Ash, a young flight cadet falsely imprisoned before becoming embroiled in an audacious prison break-out with a disparate gang of dynamic women, who fall in love and betray each other.
The ten-part drama, which will air on Sky One, is produced by Moonage Pictures, set up by the team behind Peaky Blinders and Motion Content Group in association with Tiger Aspect Productions. It will start shooting later this year.
Directed by Power director Kieron Hawkes, it is executive produced by Will Gould and Iona Vrolyk, Julie Gearey, Frith Tiplady, Matthew Read, Richard Foster and Tony Moulsdale and is being sold internationally by Sky Vision and Motion Content Group.
Gearey, who is showrunning, said, “With a fierce, funny ensemble at its heart, Intergalactic’s got everything I love about science fiction – action, adventure, monsters – but with its feet firmly on the ground. It’s been a joy to write and I’m excited to have such a creative team to bring it to life.”
Both dramas were commissioned by Roach, who was just promoted to the role of head of drama at Sky on a permanent basis, and Director of Programming Zai Bennett.
Roach said, “Intergalactic and Little Birds couldn’t be more different, and in that, they represent the ambition of our slate. We are thrilled to be venturing into space and Julie Geary’s incredible imagination knows no bounds; whilst the creative team behind Little Birds have raised the bar in terms of creating a provocative piece of television. By putting viewers at the heart of our commissioning strategy I truly believe that we are uniquely placed as a broadcaster to encourage creative talent to bring us their boldest and most innovative ideas and I am thrilled that these two shows are the first I’m able to announce as Director of Sky Drama.”’