Sky's announced another brace of TV shows that will join their channels later this year and the next. These include three entertainment pilots: Duck Quacks Don't Echo (a comedy panel show about erroneous trivia), Help Me I'm Human! (a comedy chat show focused on modern dilemmas), and You And Whose Army? (a challenge series between two celebrities and a handpicked team of friends, family and acquaintances). These were all commissioned by Phil Edgar-Jones, formerly of Channel 4, who is now looking to make his mark as Sky's Head of Entertainment.
In addition, Sky has already renewed Charlie Brooker's detective show spoof A Touch Of Cloth (starring John Hannah and Suranne Jones) for more episodes after August's 90-minute special. A two-parter entitled Cloth Undercover is currently filming for a 2013 release, together with a two-hour TV movie. Sky have released a clip from the show (which I'll embed here when possible), and it suggests this comedy will be in the silly Naked Gun tradition. My first impression is one of concern, however, given how the jokes feel so old-hat, but maybe it'll work better in context.
Moone Boy, created by Chris O'Dowd (The IT Crowd, Bridesmaids), a comedy-drama set in 1989 about an 11-year-old living in Ireland, has also been picked up for a second series before the first has even aired. O'Dowd has written the show, and will also appear as the lead character's imaginary friend Sean Murphy. The series was adapted from O'Dowd's vignette in Sky's Little Crackers series and will air in September.
There's also an eight-part fire-fighting drama called The Smoke; an adaptation of John Meade Falkner's smuggling novel Moonfleet from Ashley Pharoah (Life On Mars); a brand new Ross Kemp fronted documentary about post-traumatic stress disorder; a fly-on-the-wall documentary series set inside RAF Brize Norton; and a third iteration of comedy travelogue Idiot Abroad called The Short Way Round (where dimwit Karl Pilkington teams up with Warwick Davies).
Existing hits have also been given renewal; from working class family drama Starlings, to a third festive helping of the aforementioned Little Crackers (with seasonal stories from Katy Brand, Joanna Lumley, Jason Manford, Alison Steadman and Paul O'Grady). Action drama Strike Back will also be returning very soon, continuing the partnership deal with America's Cinemax channel.
What do you think of all that? There are definitely some exciting and intriguing new shows on the way, and I'm glad many of them won't be stuck on Sky Atlantic, but more freely available via Sky1.