Arts and culture on the small screen

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We all love the likes of Coronation Street and Top Gear, but sometimes you may hanker for something a little more highbrow than the usual mainstream TV fare. That’s where Sky Arts fits in. It’s a channel dedicated to showcasing arts and culture - both home-grown and from around the world.

That includes documentaries about classics, live operas, plays, and jazz, sets from chart-topping bands, festival coverage, obscure foreign comedies, experimental programmes and more.

What can you watch on Sky Arts?

Sky Arts is all about bringing a broad range of different art-forms to the small screen. Its shows cover everything from beloved classical music, to provocative modern art.

Some of the things you can watch include The South Bank Show, which talks to interesting artists, performers and writers; Dag, a Norwegian comedy series about a marriage councillor; and Landscape Artist of the Year, a competition to find… erm… the best landscape artist of the year. That one’s a bit obvious.

In addition, Sky Arts regularly runs ‘seasons’ that include multiple shows exploring similar ideas. Some themes explored, for example, have included erotica, physical comedy and William Shakespeare. Not all together though - it’s not quite that adventurous.

How do you get Sky Arts?

Sky Arts is widely available and most subscription TV services in the UK carry it, including Sky (, Virgin Media ( and TalkTalk ( If you’re a BT customer though, bad news - Sky Arts isn’t included with BT TV, though you can watch it through Now TV if you subscribe.

Here’s how you get it.

  • Sky - As you’d expect, Sky Arts is included for all Sky TV customers. Simply sign up to any TV bundle, and you’ll be able to watch the channel’s full plate of cultural treats live and with Sky On Demand. However, if you want to watch in HD, you’ll need the Sky HD add-on. You can also tune in online through your computer, smartphone or tablet via Sky Go, so if there’s a particular event you want to catch, you should always have a way to watch it. For more information, check out our full guide to Sky TV.
  • Virgin Media - Every TV bundle from Mix TV and above includes Sky Arts to watch live and on demand. In addition, you can watch the channel with Virgin TV Anywhere. For more information, check out our guide to Virgin Media TV.
  • TalkTalk - Sky Arts comes as standard with TalkTalk’s TV Plus package. If you have the cheaper TV bundle, you can add Sky channels, including Sky Arts, as an add-on, or 'boost' as TalkTalk calls ‘em. It’s a rolling monthly add-on, so if you decide you don’t want it anymore or want to save some money, you can cancel it at any time. Find out more about TalkTalk TV in our dedicated guide.
  • Now TV - Get the Now TV entertainment pass, and you can watch Sky Arts via web browser, games consoles, a dedicated streaming box or even YouView, making it the only way to watch Sky Arts with BT TV.

For a full list of what channels you can get with each service, take a look at our handy channels guides.

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