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Sky comedy backlash sparks diversity debate

Project with W1A star Rufus Jones ‘categorically not about slavery’, pay-TV giant insists

Sky has said that a scripted title it is developing with Rufus Jones is not a comedy about slavery, after news of the project received a backlash on social media. 

Last Friday it emerged that Sky was working with Home creator Jones and Bonnie Productions on comedy drama pilot Forty Acres. Also on board are Jones’ W1A co-stars Hugh Bonneville and Sarah Parish, and Davionte Ganter (aka GaTa from FX series Dave). 

The news was revealed by the British Comedy Guide with accompanying post on X (formerly Twitter) – which has since been deleted – characterising the project as a “Sky comedy drama about historic slavery”, which immediately received condemnation from leading Black creatives including London Hughes.  

However, Sky has stated slavery is not the subject of the project. 

A spokesperson told Broadcast: “Sky Studios does have a development project with Rufus Jones and Bonnie Productions, it is categorically not a comedy about slavery.  

“The setting is modern day and the premise is the story of a man who must reflect on where his generational wealth has come from.  

“While Rufus Jones is the creator, the project is being developed by a diverse team of creatives including Black writers. Sky is committed to our original programming slate being diverse and inclusive, on and off camera.” 

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