Kylie Minogue, Anna Friel, Matt Smith, Idris Elba, David Harewood, Johnny Vegas and Vanessa Redgrave to star in Sky Arts’ Playhouse Presents

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An all-star line-up of acclaimed and celebrated talent are set to appear in the new series of Sky Arts’ exclusive comedy and drama strand, Playhouse Presents… beginning March 2013 on Sky Arts 1 HD.

Featuring Kathy Burke, Frances Barber, Julia Davis, Idris Elba, Anna Friel, Rebecca Front, Stephen Graham, David Harewood, Ian Hart, Sharon Horgan, Mathew Horne, Suranne Jones, Kylie Minogue, Vanessa Redgrave, Peter Serafinowicz, Matt Smith, Johnny Vegas, Marc Warren, Jack Whitehall and Reggie Yates, Playhouse Presents… showcases the incredible wealth of acting, directing and writing talent in the UK, and represents unmissable TV.

Kylie Minogue will appear in her first project for Sky with Playhouse Presents…Hey Diddly Dee which has been written and directed by Marc Warren.

“When the script was sent to me, I read it and knew instinctively I wanted to be part of this project,” said Kylie. “In Hey Diddly Dee, Marc has created a beautiful and quirky story. I have also enjoyed many of the Playhouse Presents… series and love that they have created a platform for this type of work.”

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Idris Elba, Marc Warren and Matt Smith will all make their directorial debut with their Playhouse Presents… episodes as they take to the director’s chair for the very first time. Marc and Idris will also make their screenwriting debut with their episodes, fulfilling a lifelong dream for both actors.

Idris Elba commented: “This was a tremendous opportunity that allowed me to showcase creativity that I don’t always have a chance to share with the public. I’m honored to be a part of Playhouse Presents.”

Marc Warren commented: “’Writing and directing for Playhouse Presents… has been one of the most magical experiences of my career. To give myself the best chance I called in every favour to surround myself with a dream cast and an incredible crew. And then by some miracle, Kylie appeared, and the fate of our film was sealed.’

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Matt Smith commented: “Sky Arts offers creative opportunities that many other channels don’t. To collaborate with Simon Stephens in this capacity was a thrilling and rare opportunity and one we both were keen to embrace.”

The series involves some of the UK’s greatest writing and directing talent with original and exclusive work by the late BAFTA-award winning writer Jimmy Gardner (The Cops, Buried), David Quantick (The Thick of It, Harry Hill’s TV Burp) and Olivier award-winning playwright Simon Stephens (Punk Rock, Pornography, On the Shore of The Wide World). Directors include the Emmy and BAFTA-award winning David Blair (Best Laid Plans, The Street, The Accused).

Playhouse Presents…champions innovative productions and original writing, and underlines Sky’s commitment to UK origination, building on the pledge to invest £600m in original content by 2014.

James Hunt, Channel Director of Sky Arts commented: “The reception to the first series of Playhouse Presents…, most recently with A Young Doctor’s Notebook starring Jon Hamm and Daniel Radcliffe, was nothing short of phenomenal. As a result, we’ve had the most extraordinary array of talent to choose from for round two. We are passionate about bringing the very best comedy and drama on Sky Arts to our customers, and we have no doubt that this outstanding cast, in the hands of these award-winning production companies, will do just that.”

HEY DIDDLY DEE – 14 MARCH.

Written and directed by Marc Warren (Sprout Pictures)
For every star that is born…one has to die. When the star of the show suffers a tragic accident who is to blame? The understudy? A faulty trap door? Or the theatre’s lucky cat? A dark comedy-drama about drama starring Kylie Minogue, Mathew Horne, Peter Serafinowicz, David Harewood, Paul Kaye and Lee Boardman.

SNODGRASS – 21 MARCH

Written by David Quantick, based on the novella byIan R. McLeod. Directed by David Blair (NOW Film and TV)
A 50 year old John Lennon (Ian Hart) sits in a dingy kitchen, smoking a roll up, unemployed and on his uppers. This is the John Lennon who walked out on the Beatles in 1962, before the hits, before they changed music for ever. A hilarious comedy drama which also stars Kevin Doyle and Eric McNichol.

UNION SQUARE – 28 MARCH

Written and directed by Carlo Nero, based on a short story by Leonard B. Francavilla (Sprout Pictures)
A disturbance at Union Square leads to some strange encounters for two policemen in this funny and poignant portrait of loneliness in the city. Starring Vanessa Redgrave, Stephen Graham, Samantha Bond and Sushil Chudasama and written and directed by Vanessa’s son Carlo Nero.

THE PAVEMENT PSYCHOLOGIST – 4 APRIL

Written and directed by Idris Elba (Sprout Pictures)
The Pavement Psychologist is a taught and sexy drama about Jenny (Anna Friel) a women in search of satisfaction, in the world of accounting. That world is turned on its head after she meets Chris (Nonso Anozie) a homeless man, who lost everything in a tragic house fire. Also starring Reggie Yates and Stephen Mackintosh.

MR UNDERSTOOD – 11 APRIL

Co-created by Kate Hardie and Grayson Perry . Written and directed by Kate Hardie (Eleven Film)
A deeply personal and comic drama following a young transvestite, Gary, as he battles with self-doubt. Gary has decided to emerge from years of isolation by attending a weekend convention for transvestites. An encounter with another older transvestite helps Gary to explore questions of self-acceptance and happiness.

STAGE DOOR JOHNNIES – 18 APRIL

Written by Catherine McCormack and Laura Power. Directed by Catherine McCormack (Hat Trick and Blurred Vision)
Step into the world of the Stage Door Johnnies. A comedy about five excitable theatre fans who will stop at nothing to let their idols know how they truly feel… Even if it means causing a little accidental grievous bodily harm along the way. Starring Suranne Jones, Alex Macqueen, Johnny Sweet, Elizabeth Berrington and Steve Evets.

CARGESE – 25 APRIL

Written by Simon Stephens. Directed by Matt Smith (Sprout Pictures)
Simon Stephens and Matt Smith join forces to create a unique piece of poetic realism which mines the tragic seam of adolescent love and loss. Starring Craig Roberts, Joe Cole and Avigail Tlalim.

RAGGED – 2 MAY

Written by Andrew Lynch and Johnny Vegas. Directed by Johnny Vegas (Woolyback Productions)
Starring Ricky Tomlinson, this story is based on Ricky’s true experiences campaigning for justice in an effort to overturn a verdict which sent him to jail for 2 years in the early 1970s. During his time in prison and on hunger strike, Ricky’s life is changed forever by a prison governor who encourages him to read Robert Tressel’s book The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists.

NIGHTSHIFT – 9 MAY

Written by Jimmy Gardner (Cajun Pictures)
Nightshift follows two coppers as they cruise the streets of South East London in the wee small hours discussing life, the universe and everything else amidst the surreal world of the night.

PSYCHOBITCHES – FROM 23 MAY – 20 JUNE

Written by Jeremy Dyson Bert Tyler-Moore, George Jeffrie, Ali Crockatt, David Scott, Lucy Montgomery, Kathy Burke, Derren Litten, Holly Walsh and Freddy Syborn. Directed by Jeremy Dyson (Tiger Aspect)

A new six-part series of the all-star sketch show that sees some of history’s most famous women psychoanalysed. Starring Rebecca Front as the therapist, the series will see the core cast play a number of women from history including Julia Davis as Sylvia Plath, Sharon Horgan as Eve, Sam Spiro as Audrey Hepburn, Frances Barber as Bette Davis, Kathy Burke as Mona Lisa, and Katy Brand as Mary Shelley. It also features Tamsin Egerton, Selina Griffiths, Zawe Ashton, Jo Scanlan, Sarah Solemani and Sharon D Clarke. The series will also include characters from Jack Whitehall, Harry Enfield and reunites all the League of Gentlemen team Mark Gatiss, Reece Shearsmith and Steve Pemberton.

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