Sky One boss wants original sci-fi and fantasy drama

News Louisa Mellor
29 Nov 2013 - 07:38

Sky is looking to commission original UK sci-fi and fantasy drama. This is good news...

At last night's Moonfleet launch, Sky One controller Adam Macdonald announced that the channel was keen to commission original UK sci-fi and fantasy drama in the coming years. It's a sentiment echoed in a recent Broadcast interview, in which Macdonald said, "quick-witted science fiction plays well with Sky audiences, and I’m intrigued by fantasy worlds that have layer upon layer of lore". If that intrigue makes it onto the screen, it could play out well for genre fans across UK audiences, and not just Sky subscribers.

We've seen it happen countless times; one channel enjoys a success, and another attempts to match it. It happened between the BBC and ITV with The Paradise and Mr SelfridgeDownton Abbey and Upstairs Downstairs, as just a few (not to mention the twin dancing, singing, and baking talent shows that pop up overnight, one after the other, like a ring of mushrooms after rain). If Sky were to invest in some proper UK sci-fi and fantasy and make a go of it then, the likelihood is that other channels will rediscover their own taste for the genres. The result: more original sci-fi and fantasy on our TVs.

Macdonald's words are an increasingly popular thing to say in TV-land, and very likely a response to the brain-fizzing ratings of shows like Game Of Thrones or The Walking Dead, and the box-office success of comic book sci-fi. At this year's Edinburgh International Television Festival, BBC 2 controller Janice Hadlow told Den of Geek:

“I would be interested in thinking about those territories [sci-fi and fantasy] for BBC 2. I think it's an area that could do quite well for us and there a number of different things we're thinking about at the moment. I think it's a territory we haven't been into much in the past and we should be thinking about – longer term – what that sort of programming looks like for BBC 2. I think it would look different to BBC 1. Do you go along the lines of an adaptation or an original piece of work? There's a lot to be done about it but I think it's an interesting territory.”

We couldn't agree more.


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