Cameron Roach has been named Sky’s director of drama and head of Sky Studios. On Tuesday, the executive taking Anne Mensah’s old post unveiled his first two original commissions: “Little Birds” for Sky Atlantic and “Intergalactic” for Sky One.
Starring Juno Temple, “Little Birds” is a playful and intensely evocative adaptation of Anais Nin’s infamous collection of erotic short stories, per Sky, written by Sophia Al-Maria and directed by Stacie Passon.
“Intergalactic” is an action-packed sci-fi drama, set in the 23rd century. Written by Julie Gearey, it follows a crew of fierce female convicts who break free and go on the run, heading … intergalactic, Sky wrote in a media release.
Roach has been Sky’s acting head of drama since November, when Mensah left for Netflix. The former teammates worked together on “Tin Star,” “Britannia,” “Fortitude,” “Riviera” and “Bulletproof.” Roach will report to Gary Davey, managing director of Sky content.
“Cameron brings with him a wealth of knowledge and is a brilliant creative leader who will continue to define our vision for original dramas,” Davey said. “These two commissions underline his understanding of our diverse audiences and his dedication to growing the Sky drama slate with quality, cinematic and gripping content. I am looking forward to working with him to lead the drama team to future success.”
“‘Intergalactic’ and ‘Little Birds’ couldn’t be more different, and in that, they represent the ambition of our slate,” Roach said. “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.”
Below are lengthy descriptions for Roach’s first two commissioned series. Why edit them down? There’s good info here, we just did a bit of formatting.
It is the 23rd Century and Earth’s space empire exiles its prisoners off-planet. Or at least they did until a crew of fierce and adventurous female crims break free and go on the run, heading… intergalactic. The ten-part Sky original production, from Moonage Pictures and Motion Content Group in association with Tiger Aspect Productions, starts shooting later this year.
Characterful, action-packed and at times outrageously funny, the show follows Ash, a young flight cadet falsely imprisoned before becoming embroiled in an audacious prison break-out. Across their perilous escape through space, this disparate gang of dynamic women fight, fall in love and betray each other. But one thing is for certain, the further they travel from Earth, the closer they come to understanding who they truly are.
Showrunner Julie Gearey 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.”
“Intergalactic” is written by Julie Gearey (“Prisoners’ Wives,” “Cuffs,” “Secret Diary of a Call Girl”) and directed by Kieron Hawkes (“Fortitude,” “Power,” “Strike”). The series is executive produced by Will Gould (for Moonage Pictures) and Iona Vrolyk (for Tiger Aspect), along with Julie Gearey. Also executive producing are Frith Tiplady and Matthew Read for Moonage Pictures and Richard Foster and Tony Moulsdale for Motion Content Group.
International distribution is being led by Sky Vision and Motion Content Group.
Bold, lush and sensual, “Little Birds” has been written by Sophia Al-Maria (“The Girl Who Fell to Earth”) and will be directed by Stacie Passon (“Billions,” “House of Cards”). The series is set in Tangier in 1955, in the famous “international zone” — one of the last outposts of colonial decadence, and a culture shock in more ways than one for troubled American debutante Lucy Savage (Juno Temple).
Thrilled to escape her controlling parents, Lucy arrives full of anticipation for her marriage to her English fiancée, Lord Hugo Cavendish-Smythe (casting TBC) 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 (Yumna Marwan), a Moroccan dominatrix who services the diplomats and foreigners of this colorful, bohemian world and Egyptian Aristocrat Adham Abaza (Raphael Acloque) – and they all become entangled with some very dangerous characters.
The series weaves stories of love and desire together with personal drama and political intrigue, set against a uniquely distinctive and glamorous backdrop of hedonism and conflict. Provocative, intelligent, emotionally vibrant and unashamedly entertaining, it explores the question at the heart of Anais Nin’s writing: “Do I have the courage to live my life, my way?”
The series will be executively produced by Ruth McCance and Peter Carlton from Warp Productions. Filming will begin in Spain and Manchester in March and is set to premiere next year. International distribution is being handled by ITV Studios Global Entertainment.
Executive producer Ruth McCance said: “Warp Films is truly excited at the opportunity afforded by Sky and our distributor ITV Studios Global Entertainment to welcome viewers to the vivid, provocative and entertaining world of ‘Little Birds.'”
The above two dramas are the latest in a string of recent commissions as Sky continues to invest in original productions. Forthcoming dramas for 2019 include “Catherine The Great,” “Chernobyl,” “Temple,” “Riviera 2” and “Curfew.”