Sep 092020

Sky Arts, Sky Tvs dedicated arts and culture channel, will become free for everyone in the UK from September.

The decision to make Sky Arts free to air is, Sky says, a move to support and champion the arts at a vital time for the cultural sector. It puts artists and creatives centre stage on a channel that everyone across the UK can watch.

Sky Arts will be available subscription free on Freeview (UK only, since Freeview is not available in Spain!), Freesat, Sky, and other free to air satellite receivers.

The “free launch” day is coming soon, as Sky Arts is now available subscription and encryption free on satellite. The channel will appear on Freesat channel list in the coming days (17th Sept?), but it is available to add as a “non freesat channel” now.

(Update 12/09/20 – Sky Arts SD will appear on Freesat channel number 147 on the 17th September 2020.)

Sky Arts Free frequency:

12070H 27500 2/3 QPSK

The resolution (544×576)  and picture quality is not very good, considering there are about 15 channels on that frequency, and so it looks like Sky Arts HD will remain as part of the Sky pay package.

While the Sky Arts TV channel will be made free for everyone, the extensive Sky Arts library of on-demand content, which contains more than 2000 thousand hours of shows, will remain exclusive to Sky and Now TV Entertainment Pass customers.

Sky announced a raft of other programming which everyone will be able to watch, including:

  • Landmark, a series in 2021 in which artists and local communities across the UK will join forces ito create the next great British landmark.
  • Portrait Artist of the Week, the live-streamed paint-along version of the channel’s flagship series Portrait Artist of the Year, has been confirmed to return this autumn. Celebrity sitters include Normal People’s Paul Mescal, First Dates’ Fred Sirieux, singer Ray BLK and Sir Trevor McDonald.
  • Goldie: The Art That Made Me
  • Danny Dyer on Pinter, sees Dyer explore the life and works of Harold Pinter and tell the story of their unlikely friendship.
  • Sky Arts Late, a new monthly arts and culture show.
  • English National Opera’s Drive & Live, a world-first exclusive broadcast of the ENO’s drive-in opera performance of La Bohème.
  • No Masks, a new drama from Theatre Royal Stratford East based on the real-life testimonies of key workers in East London.
  • Life & Rhymes, a celebration of spoken word hosted by Benjamin Zephaniah.
  • Inside Art, presented by Kate Bryan, will explore leading exhibitions across the UK.
  • Brian Johnson meets Dave Grohl, the AC/DC frontman hangs out and chats at the Foo Fighters’ studio in Los Angeles.

Sky Arts’ director Philip Edgar-Jones said the channel’s audiences increased by 50 per cent during lockdown.

“There’s never been a stronger need or demand for the arts, nor a more important time to champion and celebrate creativity,” he said. “That’s why we’re throwing open the doors to make Sky Arts a free channel.”


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