Kylie Minogue, Matt Smith & Idris Elba, in Sky Arts’ new Playhouse Presents series

Sky Arts’ most successful series returns with a host of big names.

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March sees the return of Sky Arts’ Playhouse Presents, featuring an all-star line-up including: 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.

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.”
 
Idris Elba, Marc Warren and Matt Smith will all make their directorial debut as well as taking to the director’s chair for the very first time. Marc and Idris will also make their screenwriting debut with their episodes.
 
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.’
 
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 first series was highly successful including A Young Doctor’s Notebook starring Jon Hamm and Daniel Radcliffe

Playhouse Presents will air in March on Sky Arts 1 HD.  See below for details and dates:

Hey Diddly Dee – 14 March
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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 by Ian 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 Understand – 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 – 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.