Sky Arts to become free TV channel in the UK
| By Nicholas Ephram Ryan Daniels
It has been announced that starting in September, everyone across the UK will be able to watch Sky Arts for free on Freeview, with a whole host of new pieces and shows set to launch on the platform.
Sky Arts announced to become a free television channel in the UK
The channel will broadcast a number of new pieces, including Theatre Royal Stratford East's new series No Masks, ENO's drive-in opera production of La bohème, and a documentary in which Danny Dyer explores the life story and works of the late Harold Pinter.
"It was an honour to take part in this documentary as I got to go on this journey down memory lane. My relationship with Harold is something I will always cherish and I was very touched by the whole experience. What an incredible complex humble human being he was. I miss him every day," said Dyer on the new documentary.
What else to watch on Sky Arts?
Many other existing Sky Arts documentaries and performances will now be made available to watch for free on TV, including performances of U2, Kylie, Ed Sheeran, Cats, Wagner's Ring Cycle, and Matthew Bourne's Swan Lake.
Sky Arts issue statements on the new special announcement
The EVP and Chief Executive Officer of Sky UK and Europe, Stephen van Rooyen, stated: "As a creative business, we believe it's important to have a thriving cultural sector. By making Sky Arts free for everyone we want to give more artists and arts organisations a platform to create and share their work and to bring more art and culture to everyone across the UK."
Philip Edgar-Jones, Director of Sky Arts, stated: "There's never been a stronger need or demand for the arts, nor a more important time to champion and celebrate creativity. That's why we're throwing open the doors to make Sky Arts a free channel. During lockdown we've seen audiences to the channel increase by 50% and our weekly live paint-along show, Portrait Artist of The Week, reached 4.6 million people with over 20,000 portraits painted.
"As a free to air channel I hope that Sky Arts can help arts organisations and cultural institutions of all shapes and sizes across the UK, providing them with a platform to create and showcase their work to a broad audience. With our renewed focus and mission to increase accessibility and participation across the arts, we want to hear from everyone with ideas for how we might be able to work together – we can only succeed with artists and creatives at the heart of what we do."