8 September 2015
- Gold gathers UK comedy talent for tranche of original scripted sitcoms
- Watch moves into authored documentaries, fact ent formats and expands US acquisitions
- Dave reaffirms its position as number one non-PSB channel with raft of returning commissions
UKTV today unveiled a raft of bold and ambitious new shows for the multi-award winning network's entertainment channels, Gold, Watch and Dave, to air in the coming months.
Speaking at UKTV Live, the broadcaster's annual showcase event, CEO Darren Childs said,
Bold, imaginative and audacious - UKTV's originations challenge convention and blaze a trail for the continued strong growth of our network, which has increased by nearly a third in the last three years.
Today we are unveiling our biggest slate of original commissions in the network's history, with a line-up of enviable talent, starring in a diverse range of shows from scripted comedies to factual entertainment formats and authored documentaries, all with UKTV's entertainment spin.
UKTV's flagship comedy channel, Gold, has cemented its move into original scripted content with four new commissions, including a brand new Comic Strip film from the mastermind of Peter Richardson, which will provide a satirical take on the phone hacking scandal.
The Comic Strip Presents...The Red Top! (WT) will bring together a roll call of treasured British comedy greats to tell the story of phone hacking in a hilarious and somewhat surreal 1970s Boogie Nights-style setting. Maxine Peake will play the lead role of Rebekah, alongside Russell Tovey, Nigel Planer, Johnny Vegas, Alexei Sayle, Harry Enfield, James Buckley, Robbie Coltrane, and Eleanor Matsuura, while Stephen Mangan will reprise his role as Tony Blair.
Two of the UK's best-loved actors, BAFTA award-winning Robert Lindsay and Maureen Lipman, lead the cast of Gold's new three part scripted comedy series Bull. The studio based comedy features the eponymous Rupert Bull (Lindsay), a man who attempts to run his antiques shop aided and hampered in equal measure by his team of dysfunctional staff which includes Beverly played by Lipman. Marley's Ghosts is a high concept single camera sitcom about a woman, Marley (Sarah Alexander), who has a rare gift that means she can talk to the dead. The distinctive ensemble piece also stars John Hannah, Jo Joyner and Nicholas Burns.
One off sitcom Do Not Disturb stars Catherine Tate as estranged wife Anna, who decides not to waste her wedding anniversary booking at a boutique hotel. Unfortunately her husband has the same idea and, despite Anna's extramarital affair still firmly on their minds, they begin reconciliation talks, unaware that a semi-naked man is asleep in the bathtub, recovering from a hangover. The final edition to Gold's new line-up is Legends of Stand-up and Bernard Righton. John Thomson brings his outrageous alter ego, legendary club comedian Bernard Righton, to riotous life as a compere in this new six part series which celebrates the world's greatest comedians using archive footage.
Premium pay entertainment channel Watch, is adding a new Authored Documentary Season to its schedule with three films that explore the personal impact of technology on the lives and careers of Sara Cox, Grace Dent and Sophie Ellis-Bextor, through the themes of Friendship, Romance and Celebrity.
The new documentary strand builds on Watch's raft of recent factual entertainment commissions for the channel, including property format Honey I Bought the House, which was commissioned to series after UKTV's pilot documentary season last year; Get Me To The Church which mixes elements of The Hangover and Don't Tell the Bride in a high stakes race to the alter, food meets poker series Humble Pie, presented by Melanie Sykes and Michelin-star chef Marco Pierre White, and musical culture clash show, Singing in the Rainforest featuring Myleene Klass, Happy Mondays, Glasvegas, Scouting for Girls and Charlie Simpson.
Watch's strong slate of premium US programming has also been bolstered by the acquisition of two highly anticipated titles from ABC Studios, fresh out of pilot season. Code Black is a heart-pounding medical drama that takes place in the busiest ER in the US, LA County Hospital. Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders stars Golden Globe and Emmy Award winner Gary Sinise and focuses on the specialized International Division of the FBI tasked with solving crimes and coming to the rescue of American citizens who find themselves in danger while abroad. These shows are joined by Secrets and Lies, a gripping new American drama which sees Ben Crawford, played by Ryan Phillippe, turn from Good Samaritan to murder suspect. This tense thriller, which also stars Juliette Lewis, has been renewed for a second season in the US.
Building on its position as the UK's number one non-PSB channel, Dave has announced a plethora of original returning series. Crackanory, the show that puts a darkly comic spin on contemporary storytelling, is returning for a third outing with a rich mix of household names and Hollywood talent sitting in the famous chair, including Christopher Lloyd, Robbie Coltrane, Jimmy Carr, Sarah Millican, Tasmin Greig and Simon Bird.
Award-winning comedian Dave Gorman also returns for a third series of his critically-acclaimed and innovative look at modern life and all its strange contradictions, habits and pitfalls in Dave Gorman Modern Life is Goodish. It is joined by the hugely popular auction series Storage Hunters UK which returns for a further two series and a third season of Alan Davies: As Yet Untitled.
Brand new to the channel is exciting new format The Money Pit, hosted by Jason Manford, which sees ordinary people risk their own money to invest in the bright ideas and small businesses of hopeful entrepreneurs.
Dave has also increased its US scripted output with the acquisition of Parks and Recreation and the second series of The Last Man on Earth, following the successful run of the first series on the channel. Earlier in the year Dave announced two more series of Emmy award-winning sci-fi comedy classic Red Dwarf, slated for 2016 and 2017, plus another season of critically-acclaimed Hoff the Record, a semi-improvised comedy following the increasingly surreal world of David Hasselhoff.
Further network UKTV highlights
Really is bolstering its strong paranormal output at Halloween with Most Haunted Live, hosted by the queen of ghost hunting, Yvette Fielding. Crime drama channel Alibi has snapped up ABC Studios series Quantico, which follows a group of young FBI recruits as they battle their way through training at the Quantico base in Virginia. Free to air channel Drama has added a second US scripted drama to its roster to sit alongside The Pinkertons. Deadline Gallipoli, from NBC Universal, explores a new perspective on a story that holds a sacred place in Australian history and features an all-star international cast with Sam Worthington, Hugh Dancy, Rachel Griffiths and Bryan Brown.
Factual channel, Yesterday, is set to air The Birth of Empire: The East India Company later this year. The revelatory series, presented by Dan Snow, reveals how the behemoth that was the East India Company grew into an imperial power, and become the hotbed of corruption and greed that led to its downfall. Good Food is building on the success of John Torode's Australia with follow up series, John Torode's Malaysian Adventure. And UKTV Play will now premiere all returning commissions on the service, seven days before linear transmission, starting with Dave Gorman Modern Life is Goodish and Storage Hunters UK.
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UKTV is the multi-award winning media company that reaches 42 million viewers a month.
UKTV's eleven imaginative brands - UKTV Play, Dave, Watch, Gold, Alibi, Yesterday, Drama, Really, Home, Eden and Good Food - include the most popular non-PSB channel in the UK and account for 9% of the British commercial TV market. The company's most recent financial results showed record-breaking year-end revenue of £283m and EBITDA of £74.1m. It invested £123m in programming and related launches last year, and is becoming an increasingly significant investor in UK creativity.
UKTV has a truly innovative model, curating brand-defining commissions, high-profile acquisitions and the very best of BBC, alongside programmes originally shown on ITV and Channel 4. The network embraces technology to deliver inspired channels to audiences through Freeview, Sky, Virgin Media, BT, TalkTalk, YouView and UKTV Play, and distributes its highly valued original programmes to 200 territories.
Now celebrating its 22nd year at the forefront of digital television, UKTV - an independent commercial joint venture between BBC Worldwide and Scripps Networks Interactive, Inc. (SNI) - is proud to be the only British television broadcaster to be recognised by Best Companies.