Sky announced a brand new raft of original content last night at a star-studded Up Next 2022 event at Covent Garden’s Theatre Royal on Drury Lane.
Hosted by Claudia Winkleman, the event showed off Sky’s roster alongside interviews with a host of celebrity guests.
In a surprising twist, Kenneth Branagh was announced as the star for upcoming drama This England. Focussing on the UK’s leadership during the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, Branagh will be putting on the wig and prosthetics to play Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
In addition, Keeley Hawes and screenwriter David Farr appeared to talk about her upcoming chiller series The Midwich Cuckoos, which will be out at the start of June.
“It’s kind of a sci-fi, kind of a horror, and a community drama,” Farr explained. “One of the big things we’ve done it made it a much more female story- because it is a female story, and John Wyndham just failed to notice.”
Sheridan Smith will be fronting upcoming show Rosie Molloy Gives Up Everything, while Romesh Ranganathan and Katherine Ryan will be teaming up for Romantic Getaway.
“It’s so much fun. Romesh wrote it,” Katherine Ryan explained of their show. “It’s a modern-day Bonnie and Clyde. They’re married... they can’t afford IVF and they want to have a baby, so they decide to rob Romesh’s character’s very terrible boss, in a Robin Hood kind of way.
“I think you’re rooting for them, because they have virtuous plans for this money.”
And for those wanting to indulge in some nostalgia, Gemma Arterton’s new TV show Funny Woman (based on the hit novel by Nick Hornby) will also be coming out this October.
“She’s very relatable. I can relate to her a lot. She’s quite silly, she’s got a lot of comedy in her bones, and yet you know, she’s quite glamorous, so people have a certain opinion of her,” Arterton said of her character, Barbara. “She’s not that, she’s a real clown... she’s very loveable.”
For Christmas, Gentleman Jack star Suranne Jones will be putting a new twist on a festive classic in Christmas Carole, while several of the UK’s top stars, including David Thewliss and Hugh Laurie, will be appearing in an animated spin on Terry Pratchett’s The Amazing Maurice.
Of course, there will also be the second series of I Hate Suzie.
Billed as a three-piece “anti-Christmas special”, I Hate Suzie Too promises to reunite us with Suzie Pickles, who has a new agent, new PR and new job, dancing for likes on reality TV competition “Dance Crazee”.
“In this three-part anti-Christmas Christmas special, Suzie fights to regain the love of the British public whilst her personal life spirals out of control,” the synopsis reads.
“Will she win the hearts of the British public? And restore her reputation? And at what cost?”
The channel will also be investing in producing new film content, fronted by some of the UK’s top stars.
Aisha stars Letitia Wright as a young Nigerian woman attempting to navigate the asylum process in Ireland; sci-fi film After Yang tells the story of a family (Colin Farrell and Jodie Turner-Smith) who lose their AI helper.
Russell Crowe will also be stepping into direct and star in his own film, Poker Face – which also features Liam Hemsworth. Billed as a thriller, the film follows Crowe as billionaire Jake Foley, who must double-bluff his way to safety at a poker night like no other.
The final piece of new content to be announced was political thriller The Independent. Starring Brian Cox as legendary journalist Nick Booker and Jodie Turner-Smith as newbie Eli, it takes place during a hotly contested US election where, of course, something fishy is going on.
These shows will be joining Sky’s already packed roster for 2022, including the hotly-anticipated Game of Thrones prequel series, House of the Dragon, which is due to air in August this year.