Arterton stars as Barbara Parker, a force of nature who takes London by storm during the cultural explosion of the 1960s. The series follows the character’s journey from Blackpool beauty queen to comedy superstar and nation’s sweetheart. Clare-Hope Ashitey (“Riviera”), Arsher Ali (“Informer”) and Alexa Davies (“White House Farm”) will also star.
The series is written by multi-award-winning writer Morwenna Banks (“Damned”) and directed by BAFTA nominee Oliver Parker, who directed Arterton’s film debut “St. Trinian’s.”
Arterton said: “It’s a heart-warming story of an ambitious woman with a dream of making people laugh – it’s going to be something special. It’s an honour to be working with such an incredible team and be reunited with my first ever director, Oliver Parker.”
Director of comedy for Sky Studios, Jon Mountague, said: “With Morwenna Banks’ brilliant script, this was the perfect opportunity to bring a contemporary take on this inspiring story. Funny, smart and revealing – exactly what a Sky original comedy should be, and we can’t wait”
The series was commissioned by Zai Bennett, MD of content at Sky, Mountague and Tilusha Ghelani, commissioning editor for comedy at Sky Studios. It is produced by Potboiler and Rebel Park Productions, in association with Sky Studios. Executive producers are Hornby, Arterton, Banks, Andrea Calderwood, Gail Egan, Jessica Parker and Jessica Malik. NBCUniversal Global Distribution will handle international sales of the series on behalf of Sky Studios.
The commission was one of several announced on the sidelines of the Edinburgh TV Festival. Sky also revealed eight-part drama “A Town Called Malice,” a crime thriller and family saga set on the Costa Del Sol in the early 1980s. It follows the Lords, a crime family of petty thieves from South London who have fallen to the bottom of the criminal food chain. And they’re not happy about it.
Casting is yet to be announced but filming is set to begin later this year and run into 2022 in London and Spain. The series is a co-production between Vertigo Films, Sky Studios and Rogue State, and is created by Nick Love (“Bulletproof”), who is also the lead writer on the series.
Sky also unveiled seven new factual commissions. Titles for Sky Documentaries include “The Devil’s Advocate,” which unravels the stranger-than-fiction tale of Giovanni di Stefano, who rose to become a notorious criminal lawyer without any legal qualifications. “Red Elvis” will chronicle the forgotten story of Dean Reed — an American who defected to the East at the height of the Cold War to achieve superstar status in the Soviet Bloc. “The Billion Dollar Scoundrel” (working title) investigates the story of Allen Stanford, who made billions of dollars and used his fortune to lure the English cricket team to a “winner takes all” one-off game against the West Indies. “Hijacked: Flight 73” tells the story of when Palestinian terrorists stormed and hijacked Pan Am Flight 73.
True crime series, “The Angel of Vengeance” (working title), on Sky Crime, will uncover the story of Crystal Hunnisett, who is accused of two murders but is also seen as a victim of abuse who should be acquitted.
On Sky History, “The Royal Bastards: The Rise of The Tudors” (working title) charts the true story of one of England’s most powerful and little-known women, Lady Margaret Beaufort, who navigated her way through one of the most turbulent and bloody periods in British history to secure her son as a successor to the throne.
Sky Nature will feature four-part series “Chasing the Rains,” shot in 4K UHD, which will shine a light on life in the animal kingdom of Northern Kenya.