Sky says it is “supercharging its mission to increase access to and drive participation in the arts” by making Sky Arts free to air from September.
But while the arts and culture linear channel will be made free for everyone via Freeview, the Sky Arts On Demand library will remain exclusive to Sky and NOW TV Entertainment Pass customers.
Sky said the transformation will include a bold slate of original programmes and increased and deepened partnerships with artists and arts organisations. It will launch a series of bursaries worth £30,000 each, enabling arts leaders to support and mentor emerging new artists.
RadioTimes.com reported last week that the new Sky Atlantic Jude Law thriller series The Third Day will include a live, experimental theatrical episode, Autumn, to be screened on Sky Arts on 3rd October.
Sky announced a raft of other programming which everyone will be able to watch, including:
- Landmark, a series in 2021 in which artists and local communities across the UK will join forces ito create the next great British landmark.
- Portrait Artist of the Week, the live-streamed paint-along version of the channel’s flagship series Portrait Artist of the Year, has been confirmed to return this autumn. Celebrity sitters include Normal People’s Paul Mescal, First Dates’ Fred Sirieux, singer Ray BLK and Sir Trevor McDonald.
- Goldie: The Art That Made Me
- Danny Dyer on Pinter, sees Dyer explore the life and works of Harold Pinter and tell the story of their unlikely friendship.
- Sky Arts Late, a new monthly arts and culture show.
- English National Opera’s Drive & Live, a world-first exclusive broadcast of the ENO’s drive-in opera performance of La Bohème.
- No Masks, a new drama from Theatre Royal Stratford East based on the real-life testimonies of key workers in East London.
- Life & Rhymes, a celebration of spoken word hosted by Benjamin Zephaniah.
- Inside Art, presented by Kate Bryan, will explore leading exhibitions across the UK.
- Brian Johnson meets Dave Grohl, the AC/DC frontman hangs out and chats at the Foo Fighters’ studio in Los Angeles.
Sky Arts’ director Philip Edgar-Jones said the channel’s audiences increased by 50 per cent during lockdown.
“There’s never been a stronger need or demand for the arts, nor a more important time to champion and celebrate creativity,” he said. “That’s why we’re throwing open the doors to make Sky Arts a free channel.”