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Sky unveils 'high quality' Sky1 schedule

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Sky1 controller Stuart Murphy has unveiled the channel's new "high quality" schedule of programmes, which is aimed at attracting more people to Sky1 HD.

The satellite broadcaster today announced the autumn/winter schedule for Sky1, including a mix of comedy, drama, entertainment and factual commissions, along with newly acquired US shows.

The headline commissions include a 13-part series reimagining the Sinbad the Sailor character, along with Dogumentary, a dog grooming documentary developed by Pineapple Dance Studios creator Pulse Films.

Murphy has attempted to source more homegrown programming to avoid Sky1's reliance on US imports, while also raising the quality bar for viewers.

He said that Sky has put "terrestrial levels of spend" behind commissioning for Sky1 in an effort to attract users to the Sky platform, where Sky1 HD is exclusively available.

"As a team we've made a commitment to turn the channel into one that will not only give more value to current subscribers, but one which will also encourage those who don't currently have Sky to get us," Murphy said.

"In just over a year we've shifted the budget around to put terrestrial levels of spend behind our commissioned shows.

"It means a focus on 'less is more', commissioning fewer shows, which allows us to hire the best presenters, actors, writers, production teams and to create shows which have unquestionably high levels of quality."

In the autumn, Sky1 will launch its first foray into original comedy for a decade, with a slate of UK-produced commissions, including autobiographical short film series, Little Crackers.

Murphy wants Sky1's drama schedule to offer "programmes of scale, with compelling themes and distinctive voices, featuring the best on and off-screen talent".

New drama shows will include the David Morissey-starring crime thriller Thorne and original four-part series Mad Dogs, which stars Max Beesley, Philip Glenister and John Simm.

For the entertainment offering, Murphy has targeted "gripping" and crowd-pleasing formats, including new talent show Must Be The Music and another run of Got To Dance.

Sky1 will also air An Idiot Abroad, in which Ricky Gervais's best friend Karl Pilkington explores the Seven Wonders of the World in his own unique way.

Last week, the satellite broadcaster agreed an exclusive rights deal for all new shows from HBO, including Martin Scorsese's Boardwalk Empire.

"Sky is always surprising people - with its technology - Sky+, HD, 3D - its deals - the Premiership, the HBO output deal, the deals we've announced today - and its channels," said Murphy.

"It's crucial Sky1 HD continues to surprise people too. I hope that what you'll see over the coming weeks and months on Sky1 HD will continue to surprise you and show you it's a golden time for Sky, and for each of our customers."

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