Absurdist comedian Eddie Izzard has signed on to play iconic pirate Long John Silver in a two-part adaptation of Robert Louis Stevenson's novel Treasure Island, a new project from Sky. Filming on the epic adventure starts next month in Ireland and Puerto Rico, with the four-hour special scheduled for Christmas 2012. Izzard has often supplemented his comedy tours with straight acting, appeared in Hollywood films (Ocean's Twelve, Valkyrie), and the occasional TV series (The Riches, The Day Of The Triffids). Sophie Turner Laing, Sky's Managing Director of Entertainment & News:
"We have Treasure Island in production which stars Eddie Izzard, which is really exciting. He doesn't do that much television so we are very excited that he is to play Long John Silver."
Sky intends to increase its investment in original drama by 400% between 2009/10 and 2011/12. Treasure Island will be a major part of that the broadcaster's ambitions. Continuing the nautical theme, Sky are already developing a family adventure series based on sailor Sinbad, hoping to attract the audience that have made Doctor Who, Merlin and Primeval into popular weekend hits.