Sky Adds Stephen Mangan Fronted ‘Birthday’ & Harlan Coben’s ‘The Five’ To 2015 Drama Slate

Sky is adding a further two projects to their 2015 drama slate.

The broadcaster has commissioned one-off drama Birthday starring Episodes alum Stephen Mangan as a pregnant man, which will air on Sky Arts; and The Five, Harlan Coben’s first original television drama, for Sky Living.

Birthday tells the story of Ed (Mangan), a pregnant man who is on an NHS maternity ward, already induced, waiting for a caesarean and the imminent birth of his daughter. The drama follows Ed through the agony, the tears, the humiliation, the anxiety and the ecstasy of labour. Joe Penhall penned the script, which was directed by Notting Hill’s Roger Michell. Anna Maxwell Martin (Death Comes To Pemberley) also stars.

“We’ve long known that Birthday would make a wonderful TV drama and we’re delighted that Sky Arts shared our vision”, said Mangan. “Now, for the first time, viewers are able to get right into the delivery room to witness the spectacle of a heavily pregnant man in all his hormonal, bloated, mammary-swollen glory; up close and (maybe a little too) personal.”

From Harlan Coben and Red Production Company, The Five follows a group of friends who are united by a terrible incident. Haunted by the disappearance of one of their younger brothers some years earlier, while he was in their care, the group is forced to revisit the past when the missing boy’s DNA turns up at the scene of a murder. Production is set to commence this Spring, with The Five set to air on Sky Living later this year.

“The Five is my first original story for television and I couldn’t have found a better home”, said Harlan Coben. “I’ve been a fan of Sky Living and Red’s rich, compelling dramas – and working with them has been a thrill.  We are creating something special here.  I can’t wait for you to see it.”

Both Birthday and The Five join what is an already impressive drama slate for Sky, who have made a committment to increasing their investment in British productions. Other dramas that the company has on tap for 2015 include the eagerly anticipated Fortitude, which premieres next week; Sky Atlantic’s The Last Panthers; Sky1’s Critical; and Sky Living’s The Enfield Hauting.

“We are committed to bringing top quality original content to our customers, from the best on and off-screen talent in the industry”, added Sky’s Head of Drama Anne Mensah. “From the a heavily pregnant Stephen Mangan in Joe Penhall’s startingly original play Birthday to Harlan Coben’s first ever original serial for television plus a raft of other ambitious projects, 2015 is shaping up to be a stellar year for drama on Sky.”