Polly Stenham to make television debut with Sky Arts drama

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That Face playwright Polly Stenham is to make her television debut with a one-off drama starring Billie Piper and Ben Whishaw for Sky.

The drama, called Foxtrot, will be broadcast as part of Sky Arts’ Playhouse Presents season and has been announced as part of a number of new drama commissions from the satellite broadcaster to be shown across its portfolio of channels. This includes a major “real time” 13-part series from Line of Duty writer Jed Mercurio for Sky1.

Stenham’s Foxtrot will also star Lindsay Duncan and is being made by Stephen Fry’s company Sprout Pictures. It is about a gang heist that goes wrong.

Mercurio’s Critical is being produced by Hat Trick Productions and is described as a “high-octane medical drama that unfolds in real time”.

According to Sky, the series will deliver “an action-packed show, which sees the ensemble cast dealing with minute-by-minute pressures, tensions and joys, as they battle to save lives”. Casting has not yet been revealed.

As part of its latest commissions, Sky has announced Nightshift, which is written by Jimmy Gardner and stars Daniel Mays and Ashley Walters. It is produced by Cajun Pictures and World Productions. The drama, also for Sky Arts’ Playhouse Presents, follows two policemen as they “cruise the streets of south east London in the small hours, discussing life, the universe and everything else amidst the surreal world of the night”.

Sky director of entertainment Stuart Murphy said he hoped that the dramas demonstrated how Sky puts a “premium on creative endeavour” and how it backs “world-class creative talent”.

The dramas form part of Sky’s commitment to invest £600 million a year in home-grown content by 2014, which is an increase of 50% over three years.

They join the previously announced Penny Dreadful, starring Piper, Josh Hartnett and Eva Green, and The Tunnel, starring Ben Richards, which is based on Scandinavian crime series The Bridge.