Sky 1 commissions 12 silent movies

Eight-minute shorts to screen this fall, winter

U.K. satcaster BSkyB’s flagship web, Sky1, is going back to the future by investing in 12 silent shorts for “12 Days of Christmas.”

The eight-minute films, produced by Hilary Bevan Jones for Endor Prods., pulls together some of the biggest names in the British biz and builds on the paybox’s investment in local drama.

Bill Nighy will star in “Statuesque,” written and helmed by Neil Gaiman. It is a love story involving two statues and Christmas shoppers. Helmer Richard Eyre has teamed with novelist-screenwriter William Boyd for “Three Kings,” a new take on the biblical tale. Scribe Jez Butterworth, whose play “Jerusalem” recently won plaudits at London’s Royal Court, is collaborating with director Ian Rickson on another film with a festive theme: “12 Days of Christmas” will air as part of Sky1’s fall and winter season, unveiled Wednesday.

Also in the lineup is Fox comedy “Modern Family,” described by Sky acquisitions head Sarah Wright as “the funniest U.S. comedy in years.”