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BOYS – ASHLEY WALTERS DIRECTIONAL DEBUT Sky Arts unveils raft of new original commissions as channel free to air

Sky Arts, the UK’s only channel dedicated to arts and culture, has announced four new Sky original programme commissions today, as it becomes free for everyone to watch.  

With a renewed focus on bringing more of the arts to more people, Sky Arts is embarking on an ambitious programme of activity to support and champion the arts at a vital time for the cultural sector – putting artists, creatives, and public participation centre stage on a channel that everyone across the UK can watch.

The new Sky original commissions announced include: 

  • BOYS: Ashley Walters makes his directorial debut in a short film written by newcomer Jerome Holder. Set in East London, two best friends fulfil a promise made to one’s older brother, embarking on a journey that will shape them and the men they will become.   
  • Offended by Irvine Welsh: Irvine Welsh explores the nature of offence and its impact.  Does the fear of offence and cancel culture affect artists’ creative risk taking?  He sets out to reclaim the right to offend – but not abuse – as an essential tool for artists.
  • Sky Arts Book Club Live: A glass of wine, a few tasty morsels, and a good read.  Sky Arts recreates all the joys of a book club as hosts Andi Oliver and Elizabeth Day invite four members of an existing club to chat about new releases, favourite classics and hear directly from different guest authors each episode. The show will air live on Sky Arts and the @SkyTV Facebook page giving people at home the unique opportunity to be part of the club.
  • Charles Hazlewood: Beethoven and Me: marking the 250th anniversary of the birth of Ludwig Van Beethoven, Charles Hazlewood explores the life of the great composer, taking a personal and unique perspective on this troubled genius and a detailed look at his famous 5th symphony masterpiece.

Phil Edgar-Jones, Director of Sky Arts, said: “We are excited to announce four new programmes today which all speak to our mission to broaden access to the arts – whether that’s a thought provoking examination of the boundaries of art, looking at Beethoven from a fresh angle, giving a major talent their directorial debut, or a couple of hours looking at the next great book. There’s something on our newly free channel for everyone to enjoy!”

BOYS (1×25) Ashley Walters will make his directorial debut with BOYS, a Sky original short film written by newcomer Jerome Holder and produced by Walters’ SLNda in association with Sky Studios.

Against the grey but beautiful backdrop of East London’s skyscrapers and estates, two best friends, Noah (Hector Abbott) and Lewis (Jude Chenchin), embark on a journey into manhood, set in motion by a promise that must be fulfilled. Noah’s big brother, Nick (played by UK rapper Devlin), is serving a lengthy sentence at her majesty’s pleasure, and bestows upon his teenage brother a list of items he needs in jail. In an act of blind loyalty, Noah and Lewis set out to fulfil Nick’s wishes, but along the way are faced with challenges and hurdles that will shape them and the men they will become. BOYS is due to TX in November 2020 on Sky Arts and NOW TV. 

BOYS is produced by SLNda in association with Sky Studios.. Executive producers are Nagajan

Modhwadia and Ashley Walters for SLNda and Paul Gilbert for Sky Studios. Director is Ashley Walters. Producer is Saba Kia. 

Speaking about the film, Director and Executive Producer Ashley Walters said: “I was immediately drawn to the innocence of this story written by promising new screenwriter Jerome Holder. I’m thrilled to be making my directorial debut with Boys which will be the first short film we’re producing at SLNda, and I’m thankful to Sky Studios for believing in our vision.”

Sky Arts is now available to watch on Freeview and Freesat on channel numbers 11 and 147. Fans of the popular entertainment channel Pick will be able to find it at its new home on channel number 34.  While the Sky Arts linear channel is now free for everyone, the extensive Sky Arts On Demand library of arts content, with more than 2,000 hours of shows, will remain exclusive to Sky and NOW TV entertainment pass customers.

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