Ashley Walters makes his directorial debut in a short film written by newcomer Jerome Holder.

Sky Arts, the UK’s only channel dedicated to arts and culture, has announced four new Sky original programme commissions today, as it becomes free for everyone to watch. With a renewed focus on bringing more of the arts to more people, Sky Arts is embarking on an ambitious programme of activity to support and champion the arts at a vital time for the cultural sector – putting artists, creatives, and public participation centre stage on a channel that everyone across the UK can watch

The new Sky original commissions announced include:

  • BOYS: Ashley Walters makes his directorial debut in a short film written by newcomer Jerome Holder.
  • Offended by Irvine Welsh: Irvine Welsh explores the nature of offence and its impact.
  • Sky Arts Book Club Live: A glass of wine, a few tasty morsels, and a good read.
  • Charles Hazlewood: Beethoven and Me: marking the 250th anniversary of the birth of
  • Ludwig Van Beethoven.

In addition to a slate of new programme commissions, the move to become free-to-air includes increased and deepened partnerships with artists and arts organisations, providing them with a platform to create and showcase their work. And to support new talent, the channel will launch a series of bursaries worth £30,000 each, that will see leading figures from the arts support and mentor diverse and emerging new artists

BOYS has been commissioned by Paul Gilbert, Executive Producer, Sky Studios, and Phil Edgar- Jones, Director of Sky Arts and Entertainment Walters (Top Boy, Bulletproof) will make his directorial debut with BOYS, a Sky original short film written by newcomer Jerome Holder and produced by Walters’ SLNda in association with Sky Studios.

Against the grey but beautiful backdrop of East London’s skyscrapers and estates, two best friends, Noah (Hector Abbott) and Lewis (Jude Chenchin), embark on a journey into manhood, set in motion by a promise that must be fulfilled. Noah’s big brother, Nick (played by UK rapper Devlin), is serving a lengthy sentence at her majesty’s pleasure and bestows upon his teenage brother a list of items he needs in jail. In an act of blind loyalty, Noah and Lewis set out to fulfil Nick’s wishes, but along the way are faced with challenges and hurdles that will shape them and the men they will become.

BOYS is due to TX in November 2020 on Sky Arts and NOW TV.

Speaking about the film, Director and Executive Producer Ashley Walters said: “I was immediately drawn to the innocence of this story written by promising new screenwriter Jerome Holder. I’m thrilled to be making my directorial debut with Boys which will be the first short film we’re producing at SLNda, and I’m thankful to Sky Studios for believing in our vision.”


Sky Arts is now available to watch on Freeview and Freesat on channel numbers 11 and 147. Fans of the popular entertainment channel Pick will be able to find it at its new home on channel number 34.