In his six and a half years with Sky, Stuart has overseen the expansion of the portfolio of Sky entertainment channels including Sky 1, Sky Atlantic. Sky Arts and Sky Living. He developed the team responsible for multi-award winning content from A League Of Their Own, An Idiot Abroad, David Attenborough’s Natural History Museum Alive and Fortitude to the upcoming Fungus The Bogeyman. He has built a world-class commissioning team and revolutionised Sky’s relationship with the UK independent production community.
Gary Davey, Managing Director, Content, Sky, commented: “Stuart has played an important part in the growth of Sky’s content over the past six years. I’d like to thank him for his creative leadership and everything he has done to build Sky’s entertainment channels. He’s been responsible for brilliant dramas from The Enfield Haunting to You, Me and the Apocalypse and stand out comedies including Moone Boy and Stella. He has developed compelling channel brands which our customers value and commissioned content they love. He leaves behind a strong and well-respected commissioning team who will take our content to even greater heights and we look forward to working with him in the future.”
Stuart Murphy added: “My sadness at leaving a company I love is tempered by my immense pride in what we have achieved together. Sky is a company in rude health, bursting with ideas, creativity, and sheer fun and I leave the department in the hands of colleagues I love and admire. For 14 of the past 17 years I have been running TV channels, including a fantastic six and a half years with Sky. TV has been a huge part of my life but with our entertainment in great shape now feels the ideal time to have a think about what else I want to do.
“I’m delighted to have signed a production commitment with Sky Vision to write and develop comedy and drama projects, as this has been a private passion of mine for years, but I’m also very excited about exploring opportunities outside of TV.
“I’m hugely grateful to Sky for the incredible opportunities they have given me and feel privileged to have run a team responsible for buying and commissioning some of the world’s best shows – from Modern Family to Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief, and An Idiot Abroad to The Last Panthers. There are very few jobs that have such an amazing range, where one has the joy of working with such relentlessly curious people, and I have never taken any of that for granted. There are many people I would like to thank, but specifically I owe a lot to Jeremy Darroch, Andrew Griffith, Sophie Turner Laing, Gary Davey and Alice Bartley, all of whom have been a pleasure to work with. I’d like to thank everyone for a very special chapter in my life.”
Stuart has responsibility for Sky’s portfolio of entertainment channels as well as the Comedy, Drama and Factual and Entertainment commissioning teams. He is a board member of the History channels, Jupiter Productions and a board observer at Jaunt, which is pioneering cinematic virtual reality.
Stuart joined Sky as Director of Programmes, Sky 1, in 2009. His strategy of moving the channel toward original commissions resulted in the first Sky originations ever to be nominated for Emmy’s (Strikeback, An Idiot Abroadand Treasure Island) and in 2011 Sky 1 won Broadcast’s Channel of the Year Award for the first time in its history. In February 2011 he launched Sky Atlantic, a result of a multi-year exclusive deal with HBO, which has become established as one of the key reasons for new subscribers to join Sky. During his time at Sky, the company has stepped up its international co-commissioning with partners from NBC (Dracula and You, Me and The Apocalypse), to Canal Plus (The Tunnel and The Last Panthers), from Showtime (Penny Dreadful) to HBO (Strikeback and Doll and Em – the first Sky show ever to sell to HBO).
In 2012, he was appointed Director, Entertainment Channels and has since overseen the successful repositioning and relaunch of Sky Living; the recent relaunch of Sky Arts, with the accompanying development of the world’s largest On Demand arts catalogue, as well as Free to Air channels Pick and Challenge. Under his tenure, Sky has won multiple awards including BAFTA’s, British Comedy Awards, RTS Awards, Emmy’s, Rose D’Ors and an Oscar nomination. Stuart has also been at the forefront of an industry-wide push on diversity, committing to 20% on and off screen representation by end of 2015; and led Sky’s strategy to grow its investment in original production.
Previous roles Stuart has held include Creative Director at Twofour Productions; Creative Director at RDF and the first controller of BBC Three, commissioning Little Britain, Gavin and Stacey, Torchwood, Nighty Night and Bodies.