Best New British TV Shows of 2022 You Might Have Missed

Including The Responder, Life After Life, Big Boys and more, here are the top new UK streaming recommendations as 2022 comes to the halfway point.

The Responder BBC Casey
Photo: BBC

Putting a wash on. Attending a school reunion. Making a lasagne. Just some of the things you might have been doing instead of watching TV in 2022. Whatever kept you away from the box, it was a mistake. What you should have been doing is catching up on the below – a selection of British sci-fi, supernatural drama and comedy. Because what’s better than the comfortable joy of watching fictional characters live their complicated lives, taking all the risks and making all the mistakes? Almost nothing. Unless you’re the sort of person who puts double cream and three types of cheese in your lasagne, in which case, carry on, you’re doing the Lord’s work.

As 2022 reaches its halfway point, here are the new British TV shows that if you missed them on release, deserve your time and attention.

The Tourist

The Tourist Jamie Dornan

Stream on: BBC iPlayer (UK); HBO Max (US)

Jamie Dornan stars alongside serial scene-stealer Danielle Macdonald (Unbelievable, Patti Cake$) in this darkly comic six-part mystery thriller from the writers of The Missing. Dornan plays…well, that’s the question. He’s an Irishman who wakes up in an Australian hospital, with no memory of who he is or how he got there. So unfurls a twisting story as he pieces together what’s happened with the aid of local cop Helen (Macdonald) and a waitress played by Shalom Brune-Franklin (Line of Duty). Off-the-wall, exciting, well-paced and with memorable characters, it’s a great way to spend six episodes. Louisa Mellor

This is Going to Hurt 

This is Going to Hurt Ben Whishaw

Stream on: BBC iPlayer (UK); AMC+/Sundance Now (US)

Never was a TV drama more appropriately named. Adam Kay’s darkly comic adaptation of his best-selling NHS hospital memoir will hurt – for its wince-inducing medical scenes and its crushing emotional turns – but it’ll also entertain, and, in true Reithian style, educate. Ben Whishaw plays Adam, a dysfunctional obs and gynae doctor whose brusque and sarcastic manner wins him few friends on the ward, and whose love life is falling apart faster than his professional reputation after a patient makes a complaint against him. Ambika Mod plays ambitious trainee Shruti, alongside Alex Jennings, Harriet Walter, and more. The seven episodes will leave you bruised but newly appreciative of the crucial work done by NHS workers under extreme pressure. LM

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Big Boys

Big Boys Channel 4 Dylan Llewellyn and Jon Pointing

Stream on: All 4 (UK only)

Jack Rooke’s six-episode university-set comedy is a hugely moving and entertaining depiction of male friendship that’s equal parts frank, raucous, funny and empathetic. It’s about Jack and Danny, two first year journalism students – one gay and shy; one straight and outwardly confident, but both as vulnerable as the other – who become best friends. Starring Derry Girls’ Dylan Llewellyn and Pls Like’s Jon Pointing, plus Camille Coduri as Jack’s beloved mum, it shouldn’t be missed. LM

Life After Life

Life After Life Thomasin Mckenzie

Stream on: BBC iPlayer (UK only)

In 1910, Ursula Todd (Thomasin McKenzie) dies soon after being born, before she’s born again and gets another bite of the apple. This time, she survives a little longer before death takes her and the cycle begins again, and again, and again. By the time Ursula finally reaches adulthood, she has an uncanny sense of having lived more lives than she can quite remember. That’s the story of this clever four-part period drama, based on the acclaimed novel by Kate Atkinson. It’s a beautiful adaptation and probably the year’s most delicate and insightful multiverse story. LM

The Curse

The Curse Channel 4

Stream on: All 4 (UK only)

If your criteria for a new show is ‘hilarious’, ‘a bit ridiculous’ and ‘whole series can be watched in three hours’ then The Curse is the show for you. This comedy crime caper from the people who brought us People Just Do Nothing, King Gary and Murder in Successville is exactly what you would expect from the creators’ previous work – daft and wholly entertaining. The story follows some small-time criminals who get way over their heads with one of the biggest gold heists in history, and Tom Davis does one of the silliest voices you’re ever likely to hear (top marks if you can understand a word he’s saying). Silly fun that’s highly recommended. Elizabeth Donoghue

The Responder

The Responder Martin Freeman

Stream on: BBC iPlayer (UK); Britbox (US)

Currently top of the running for best UK series of the year, Tony Schumacher’s five-part debut drama is both a great crime thriller and a brilliantly drawn portrait of a man and a public service under unsustainable pressure. Martin Freeman plays Liverpudlian police officer Chris, who patrols Liverpool at night responding to local disturbances. Chris is already struggling under the weight of his job when he gets dragged into a story about a rucksack filled with missing cocaine, and into the now-endangered lives of the kids that stole it. With an excellent cast, great direction and a top script, it shouldn’t be missed. Series two has already been commissioned. LM

Chloe

Chloe BBC poster

Stream on: BBC iPlayer (UK only)

This six-part drama from Alice Seabright sees a woman con her way into her former friend’s perfect-seeming life after she apparently commits suicide. It’s a twisty con story packed with moral ambiguity which turns into an examination of class, social media, grief and latterly a murder mystery. Erin Doherty as the con-woman turned detective gives a rich and nuanced performance as Becky/Sasha a working class hero in her own head but to the audience? We’re never quite so sure…Rosie Fletcher

The Essex Serpent

The Essex Serpent poster

Stream on: Apple TV+

Is there really a biblical sea serpent picking off sinning parishioners on the 19th century Essex coast, is the beast an evolutionary throwback, or is it all pure invention? Those are the questions investigated by this ideas-rich six-part drama adapted from Sarah Perry’s acclaimed novel and starring Claire Danes and Tom Hiddleston. Faith, superstition, dogma, science and revolutionary thinking coincide. Danes is fantastic as widower and amateur palaeontologist Cora Seaborne, while Hiddleston makes a great troubled scholar as local vicar Will Ransome. Eerily and atmospherically shot, this strange tale of a remote community battling its demons will transport you. LM

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The Midwich Cuckoos

The Midwich Cuckoos poster

Stream on: NOW (UK only)

The Night Manager’s David Farr has given John Wyndham’s 1957 novel a modern update to put the women of Midwich – the village that suffers a mysterious blackout leaving a spate of unexplained pregnancies in its wake – front and centre of the story. Keeley Hawes plays the gender-swapped Dr Zellaby, now a child psychologist, with Max Beesley as a police officer and Sam West as a government official. Over the seven episodes, Midwich struggles to solve the mystery of its eldritch, mind-reading ‘Children’. Should the village protect them as parents do, or does it need protection from them? LM

The Rising

The Rising Neve

Stream on: NOW (UK only)

A remake of the Belgian show Hôtel Beau Sejour, this high concept thriller from Sky sees a murdered girl charged with tracking down her own killer. Neve (Clara Rugaard) has been killed and her body dumped in a lake and now she finds herself haunting the rural community where she lived on a mission to get justice. Certain people can see and even touch Neve so she can enlist their help on a journey which is as much an emotional one as a straight-up whodunnit. RF

Don’t Miss: The Lazarus Project

Paapa Essiedu The Lazarus Project

Imagine waking up to find the last six months of your life never happened. You’ve gone back half a year in time and nobody but you remembers a thing. It’d drive you mad, wouldn’t it? It almost drives George (Paapa Essiedu) mad before he’s introduced to The Lazarus Project, a top-secret sci-fi operation that operates in the shadows all around us. Written by Giri/Haji’s Joe Burton, Sky’s new eight-part sci-fi thriller is dark, clever and entertaining with globe-trotting locations and… did we mention dark? Already a contender for new British drama of the year, the box-set lands on Sky on Thursday the 16th of June.