For millions of Sky subscribers in the UK, there’s only one branded channel they truly hold above all the rest. No, it’s not the family friendly fayre of Sky One or the amazing range of films on Sky Cinema. Instead, it’s Sky Living that really holds their attention.
Despite occupying a smaller role in Sky’s advertising and not enjoying the promotion that, say, Sky Atlantic enjoys, Sky Living has found fans across the UK who love its mix of rich American drama, home-grown mystery and compelling storytelling.
But what do you need to know about Sky Living? In this guide, we’ll be going through everything you need to know about the channel, including its history, what the best programmes are on it and what’s coming in 2017 for the channel. Let’s get into it, shall we?
Sky Living: A History
The Sky Living that we know and love wasn’t always what it is today. No, instead, when it launched back on the 1st of September 1993, it was known as UK Living, and was part of the Sky Multichannel Network.
UK Living was one of the launch channels of the Multichannel platform, which included four channels which were available free-to-air, broadcast from Astra’s satellites, as well as eleven premium channels. Customers could sign up for the service and whichever premium channels they wished for a set fee.
The service proved an instant hit, and within two months of its launch, Sky scooped up an additional 400,000 new subscribers, with the majority taking at least one premium channel. It was at this time, it helped Sky reach a total of 3.5 million people – quite impressive for a service close to folding just five years before.
UK Living was owned at this time by a three way partnership of Thames Television, Tele-Communications Inc. and Cox Enterprises, with a budget of £25m. Its original remit was to aim at women aged between 25 and 45 by broadcasting films, dramas, chat shows and soap operas. Most of its original programme library was derived not from the US (as many lower budget channels did), but instead from ITV and the BBC.
It’s really unique aspect, however, was its repeats of programmes like Anne and Nick, Floyd and Kilroy.
The next few years would see the channel change ownership multiple times, first to Flextech in 1996 and then, finally, to BskyB on the 25th of October 2010. It was quickly announced that UK Living would be rebranded to Sky Living and moved in the EPG from channel 112 to 107, between Sky 1 and Sky Atlantic. This had the benefit of giving Sky a broader range of entertainment.
There was, however, one small issue: the demographic of the channel. Sky appreciated the specific audience that UK Living was created to cater to, but with a prominent role in their line-up, it had to broaden its appeal. Consequently, the pink colour of the original logo was changed to a blue and silver aesthetic that helped rebrand the channel.
What’s on Sky Living?
Today, Sky Living is home to a huge range of dramas that simply can’t be found anywhere else. Amongst its popular programming of the last few years was the critically acclaimed Enfield Haunting, starring Cannes Best Actor winner Timothy Spall. On a similar note, the channel has had much success with paranormal programming, in particular Most Haunted, Most Haunted Live, Crossing Over with John Edward, Scream Team and many more.
The channel also introduced a huge number of beloved US television shows to the UK market, including Charmed, Will & Grace, Miss Match, CSI and Queer Eye for the Straight Guy. But let’s forget about the past, what does Sky Living have on it now that you should be watching? Let’s take a look at a few of the best:
- The Blacklist – Perhaps the best show you’ve never watched before, The Blacklist is sensational drama. Starring Emmy Award winner James Spader as a master criminal turned FBI informant named Raymond Reddington, Blacklist is a drama packed with conspiracy, action and stunning writing.
- Blindspot – Since its first series last year, Blindspot has grown to become a huge hut for the channel, and with just one watch, you know why. When an unknown woman is found in Times Sqare with no memory and mysterious tattoos covering her body, she and the FBI are drawn into a criminal conspiracy. Will they ever find her true identity? Can they crack open the case? You’ll have to watch to find out.
- Grey’s Anatomy – Grey’s Anatomy might feel like it’s been around forever, but even now (in its 13th season!) it exudes confidence and class as we follow the personal and professional lives of a group of doctors at Seattle’s Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital.