I seem to remember reading they were going to make it into a HBO-style premium channel with a mix of movies and original shows. Then for whatever reason changed their minds late on. Maybe they decided it wouldn't really work over here. I certainly can't see Harry Enfield and Al Murray making people rush to subscribe, it's not exactly The Sopranos or Sex And The City, is it?
David Baddiel had an awful sitcom on Sky One around the same time too, I wonder if that was intended from Premiere too? No wonder they gave up on the idea if a substandard Harry Enfield sketch show and a dire David Baddiel sitcom is the best they could come up with.
That's absolutely right, Sky Premier circa the launch of Sky Digital was planned very much to be a HBO-style channel with premium drama and comedy alongside the films, hence why they also signed up Barry Norman around that time with his show initially on Sky Premier. I think they commissioned a few dramas for it as well. But yes, I'm pretty sure Enfield, Baddiel's Syndrome and Time Gentlemen Please were all commissioned for Sky Premier.
But a few months before that they seemingly got cold feet over the idea, perhaps realised the shows weren't srong enough to convince people to pay extra for them, or decided it would confuse the propositions of Sky One and Sky Premier, so moved them all over to Sky One instead and Premier was films and nothing but.
A few years previously they'd shown the first series of Murder One on Sky Movies, rather than Sky One, for a similar reason I think. I think they showed it unencrypted on Sky Movies, but kept quiet quiet about that.