In any given year, British TV can be relied on to provide plenty in the way of crime drama, and 2023 was no different. Between these returning series and newcomers A Town Called Malice, Blue Lights, Marlow, Payback, Rebus, Steeltown Murders, The Gold, The Sixth Commandment, Wolf and more, crime continued to flourish on the small screen.
Happily though, that was far from all that UK TV offered this year. There was fantasy too, in the form of Netflix’s South London super-powers drama Supacell, ghost detective series Lockwood & Co., Greek and Roman mythology series Kaos, and sci-fi in Prime Video’s The Rig.
Add to all those the romances, dramas inspired by real-life, and several other book adaptations, period and otherwise (A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder, Great Expectations, Funny Woman, Tom Jones, The Gallows Pole, The Winter King, Wahala…) plus music-based dramas Champion and This Town, and it was a pretty full slate.
Succession‘s Matthew Macfadyen and Crossfire‘s Keeley Hawes star in this three-part ITV drama, based on a real-life political scandal. Macfadyen plays disgraced Labour MP John Stonehouse, with Hawes as his wife Barbara, in this 1970s-set story about the MP’s attempt to fake his own death following the revelation of personal scandals. The script comes from John Preston, the journalist behind the book on which the BBC’s A Very English Scandal was based, with direction from Stan and Ollie director Jon S. Baird. It aired between Monday 2nd and Wednesday 4th of January on ITV and is now available to stream on ITVX.
The Light in the Hall
Written by Murdered By My Boyfriend‘s Regina Moriarty, this six-part psychological thriller for S4C and Channel 4 is about a journalist obsessed by the murder of a woman from her own home town. They were both once part of the same friendship group but fell out as teenagers. Like huge Welsh hit Keeping Faith, it’s a bilingual drama filmed and broadcast in both Welsh (as Y Golau) and English. The cast is great, with Utopia‘s Alexandra Roach and Game of Thrones‘ Iwan Rheon alongside The Thick of It‘s Joanna Scanlan. It aired in English two episodes a week in January on Channel 4 and All4.
This six-episode supernatural/sci-fi thriller landed on Prime Video on Friday the 6th of January. It’s set aboard a Scottish oil rig which is thrown into chaos after a power-out and tremor are followed by a mysterious enveloping mist trapping everybody on board. Have they dug too deep? The script comes from newcomer David McPherson, with a cast including Line of Duty‘s Martin Compston, Game of Thrones‘ Iain Glen and Owen Teale, and Schitt’s Creek‘s Emily Hampshire. If you’ve already binged, here’s a spoiler-filled ending exploration.
Lockwood & Co.
All eight episodes of this fun supernatural detective thriller romp arrived on Netflix on Friday the 27th of January. It’s adapted from Jonathan Stroud’s YA novel of the same name, and follows a maverick ghost-hunting detective agency run by teenagers investigating a far-reaching mystery. Attack the Block and The Kid Who Would Be King‘s Joe Cornish has adapted the novel for screen and directs.
Before we see Russell T Davies return as Doctor Who showrunner for the show’s 60th anniversary this November, ITVX (and later ITV) has a three-part drama to air from the screenwriter. It stars The Crown‘s Helena Bonham Carter as Crossroads actor Noele Gordon, whose unceremonious sacking after years on the popular soap is the meat of this drama. Joining Bonham Carter in the cast are Mark Gatiss, Con O’Neill, Augustus Prew and more. It arrived on ITVX on 2nd February.
Comedian and writer Morwenna Banks has adapted Nick Hornby’s Funny Girl novel into this six-part Sky Comedy series starring Gemma Arterton, Rupert Everett and David Threlfall. Arterton plays Barbara Parker, who’s crowned Miss Blackpool in a 1960s beauty contest before moving to London to pursue her dream of becoming a comic. It arrived on Sky Comedy and streaming service NOW on the 9th of February.
The infamous 1983 Brink’s-Mat robbery was dramatised by Guilt writer Neil Forsyth for this BBC drama starring Preacher‘s Dominic Cooper and Paddington‘s Hugh Bonneville, alongside Jack Lowden, Charlotte Spencer and Tom Cullen. This gripping true-crime plot arrived on BBC One on Sunday the 12th of February, and is available to stream in full on BBC iPlayer. If you’ve binged the lot, find out what happened next to its key players.
A Town Called Malice
This Sky Original drama is from Bulletproof and The Sweeney‘s Nick Love. A Town Called Malice, with a title inspired by The Jam song of the same name, is a crime drama and family saga set in the 1980s Costa del Sol, following a criminal family who decamp from London to Spain when some money comes their way, and the law comes sniffing after them. It’s a great cast, including Jason Flemyng, Dougray Scott, Tahirah Sharif, Jack Rowan, Martha Plimpton and Eliza Butterworth. Watch it on Sky Max and NOW from March 16th.
From the writers of The Salisbury Poisonings, this original BBC One drama follows three rookie police officers working under extraordinary pressure in Belfast. They are Grace, a woman in her 40s who leaves social work to retrain as a police officer; Annie, who struggles with having to leave her old life behind; and Tommy, who proves disastrously inept at frontline policing. Filming began in February 2022 in Belfast on the series, which stars Siân Brooke, Richard Dormer, Nathan Braniff, Katherine Devlin and more. The exact March release date is still tbc.
From the writer and production team that brought us A Christmas Carol starring Guy Pearce comes Steven Knight’s second Dickens adaptation for the BBC Great Expectations. This one has a similarly starry cast, with Olivia Colman in the role of Miss Havisham (played most recently on screen by Gillian Anderson and Helena Bonham Carter), and Black Mirror: Bandersnatch‘s Fionn Whitehead as Pip, plus Hayley Squires, Shalom Brune-Franklin, Ashely Thomas, Trystan Gravelle, Owen McDonnell and – joy of joys! – Matt Berry. Lucy Forbes directs. It will arrive on BBC One on Sunday 26th March.
This coming-of-age drama follows six students who find themselves returning to school after being excluded, and form an unlikely friendship group as outsiders with an indomitable will to succeed. Phoenix Rise‘s young cast of newcomers includes Lauren Corah, Alex Draper, Jayden Hanley, Krish Bassi, Tara Webb and Imogen Baker, and the series will begin airing on BBC Three and BBC iPlayer from Friday 24th March.
Grey’s Anatomy star Kevin McKidd and Sherlock‘s Vinette Robinson star in ITVX’s new crime drama Six Four, a four-part series inspired by Hideo Yokoyama’s novel of the same name. McKidd and Robinson play Chris and Michelle, two parents and police detectives whose teenager daughter has gone missing, and who are going to any means necessary to find her. While searching, they also uncover police corruption and long-held secrets surrounding an infamous similar unsolved disappearance. And then a third girl, this time the daughter of a prominent judge, also goes missing. Six Four starts streaming on ITVX on 30th March.
The Hunt for Raoul Moat
Arguably one of the UK’s most infamous killer rampages, Raoul Moat’s shooting spree in Northumberland and the country’s biggest ever manhunt to capture him had everyone glued to the news back in 2010. Now the upcoming ITV drama The Hunt for Raoul Moat, which stars Lee Ingleby (The A-Word) and Bodyguard actor Matt Stokoe, will focus on the stories of Moat’s innocent victims and the people trying to bring him to justice. It will be air on ITV1 from Sunday 16th April.
ITV’s latest thriller sees Dr Lucinda Edwards (Niamh Algar, Suspect) face a nightmare shift that ends in the death of an opioid overdose victim, leading to an intense malpractice investigation, and as the pressure rises we soon see signs that Lucinda might be hiding something. Also starring Lorne MacFadyen (Vigil) and Scott Chambers (Innocent), the series will debut on ITV1 on Sunday 23rd April.
Written by new screenwriter Cash Carraway, whose memoir Skint Estate: A Memoir of Poverty, Motherhood and Survival made waves on publication in 2019, this eight-episode blackly comedic drama is coming to BBC One and iPlayer. It stars This Country‘s Daisy May Cooper as Costello Jones, with young Fleur Tashjian as her daughter Iris, and tells a story of maternal love, enduring friendships, poverty and prejudice. Poldark‘s Jack Farthing co-stars along with Doctor Who‘s Ronke Adékoluẹjo. Filming took place in 2022 in Bristol, and the show premiered on BBC One on 4th April.
Henry Fielding’s 18th century novel has had a fresh update courtesy of Vanity Fair screenwriter Gwyneth Hughes. With a cast including Ted Lasso‘s Hannah Waddingham and leads Solly McLeod and Sophie Wilde (You Don’t Know Me), this period romp tells the comedic story of its titular foundling’s adventures in life and love. The three-part series came to ITVX on May 4th.
BAFTA-winning Surannne Jones (Vigil) has co-created this three-part drama about two estranged sisters who – after the body of their mother is found on a beach – find themselves confined on the Isle of Man unable to escape the consequences of her secrets and lies. Jones stars alongside Hugh Quarshie (Riches), Eve Best (House of the Dragon) and The West Wing‘s Stockard Channing. Maryland arrived on ITVX in May.
This four-part series from the writer of Manhunt and Safe House is a dual-chronology story set in 1973 and the early 2000s, about the real-life hunt to catch a serial killer in the Port Talbot area of Wales. Philip Glenister and Steffan Rhodri lead the cast as detectives investigating the killings using pioneering DNA evidence, alongside Keith Allen, Matthew Gravelle and more. Steeltown Murders launched on BBC One at 9pm on Monday 15 May, with all episodes available to stream on BBC iPlayer.
Ten Pound Poms
Named after the cheap tickets British citizens bought to escape post-war Britain for a new life in Australia, Ten Pound Poms is a forthcoming BBC drama starring Michelle Keegan, Faye Marsay and Warren Brown. It’s scripted by Brassic‘s Danny Brocklehurst and will also air as a Stan Original Series in Australia. The story’s about a group of Brits who emigrate in 1956 to start afresh in a new country. Ten Pound Poms was released on BBC One on Sunday 14th May.
The Gallows Pole
Benjamin Myers’ novel set in 18th century Yorkshire about a motley gang who set about redistributing the wealth through a complex forgery operation will mark filmmaker Shane Meadows’ first project for the BBC. The This is England and The Virtues co-screenwriter and director has assembled a choice cast for this six-part period drama that promises to have real punch. Michael Socha is the lead, alongside Thomas Turgoose, George Mackay, Tom Burke, Sophie McShera and Samuel Edward-Cook, alongside a group of first-time actors. The Gallows Pole was released on BBC Two on May 31st and all episodes are available on BBC iPlayer.
Line of Duty‘s Vicky McClure stars in this twisty, gripping crime thriller about a mother who is so desperate to find out the truth about her daughter’s death that she befriends the man who is currently in prison for her murder. The series originally aired on ITVX in late December 2022 and later arrived on ITV on Monday 15th May – read our spoiler-heavy explainer of the ending.
The Full Monty
25 years after the hit movie The Full Monty was released – in which a group of six unemployed Sheffield steel-workers put on a strip show – Disney+ is bringing us an eight-part comedy drama following the same men as they navigate the post-industrial city of Sheffield. Returning cast members include Trainspotting‘s Robert Carlyle as Gaz, Game of Thrones‘ Mark Addy as Dave, and Batman Begins‘ Tom Wilkinson as Gerald, plus Lesley Sharp (Scott and Bailey), Hugo Speer (Shadow and Bone), Paul Barber (Only Fools and Horses), Steve Huison (The Royle Family) and Wim Snape (Gentleman Jack). The series will explore what happened to the group in the years after their strip show, exploring their brighter, sillier and more desperate moments. The Full Monty came to Disney+ on June 14.
Idris Elba is both the star and Executive Producer of Hijack, AppleTV’s tense new seven-part thriller about a hijacked plane making its way to London. Elba plays Sam Nelson, an accomplished negotiator in the business world who tries to use his skills to save the lives of the passengers, alongside The Good Wife‘s Archie Panjabi Zahra Gahfoor playing a counterterrorism officer who is trying to investigate the hijacking on the ground. While this is technically a US production, other British talent in the cast include Torchwood‘s Eve Myles, Jamestown‘s Max Beesley and This England‘s Aimée Kelly. Hijack premiered on AppleTV on June 28.
Jack Thorne, the busiest screenwriter in the UK and lead writer on His Dark Materials, returns to the BBC with a new original four-part drama partly inspired by the real-life Charlie Gard case. It’s about a young child with a life-threatening condition whose medical team judge it in her best interests that she be allowed to die, a decision her family can’t support and fight every step of the way. The commission was announced in July 2019 but the pandemic delayed filming, which began in March 2022 with Michael Sheen and Sharon Horgan in the lead roles. The series arrived on BBC One in June.
ITVX series coming to ITV1
Three critically-acclaimed dramas which originally previewed on ITVX in late 2022 were broadcast on ITV1 in June 2023:
Litvinenko is a four-part true crime drama starring David Tennant as the former KGB agent Alexander Litvinenko, whose infamous death by plutonium poisoning back in 2006 kick-started one of the Met Police’s most complex and dangerous investigations.
Riches is a glamorous, high-stakes family drama which focuses on the exploits of the super-wealthy Richards family. The impressive cast includes Hugh Quarshie (Holby City), Ted Lasso’s Sarah Niles, Cold Feet’s Hermione Norris and Downton Abbey’s Brendan Coyle.
Six-part Cold War drama A Spy Among Friends – based on the true story featured in Ben Macintyre’s bestelling novel – first arrived on the ITVX streaming service in December, and later aired on ITV1 in July 2023. The star-studded line-up includes Damien Lewis (Homeland), Line of Duty’s Anna Maxwell Martin, and Guy Pearce (Memento, Mare of Easttown).
This British-American historical drama follows the younger years of Queen Elizabeth I (played by Fury‘s Alicia Von Rittberg) and originally premiered in the US, but is now coming to a UK audience via Channel 4. Depicting Elizabeth’s involvement in the politics of the English court in her journey to secure the crown, Becoming Elizabeth also stars Romola Garai (The Hour) as Mary Tudor, John Heffernan (Dickensian) as the Duke of Somerset and Tom Cullen (The Gold) as Thomas Seymour, alongside plenty of other British talent like Bella Ramsey (The Last of Us), Jessica Raine (The Devil’s Hour) and The Thick of It‘s Alex Macqueen. It aired in July on Channel 4.
Eastenders legend Ross Kemp is returning to acting after 15 years to star as police detective Tony Warden alongside newcomer Beth Alsbury in this new four-part thriller for Channel 5. Blind Spot tells the story of Hannah, a woman who works monitoring CCTV on a rough estate, who is fight to find a missing woman who disappeared after a violent criminal is seen leading her to a CCTV blind spot. After being dismissed by the decidedly dodgy detective (Kemp), she’ll take matters into her own hands to discover what really happened, putting her own life in danger. The series will also star Sanditon‘s Crystal Clarke, Sue Vincent (Waterloo Road) and Line of Duty‘s Kiran Landa. It aired on Channel 5 from July 4.
From Candice Carty-Williams, writer of 2019 hit novel Queenie, comes a series celebrating contemporary Black British music. Champion is an eight-episode musical drama about a highly personal rap battle between a South London brother and sister, former rap sensation and ex-con Bosco, and his former PA and younger sister Vita. Which of the Champion siblings will prosper? Top Boy‘s Malcolm Kamulete stars opposite Sherwood‘s Nadine Marshall, Doctor Who‘s Jo Martin and His Dark Materials‘ Ray Fearon, with TV newcomers Déja J Bowens and Ray BLK. It aired on the BBC from 1st July – watch the trailer.
Irish psychological thriller Clean Sweep stars award-winning Charlene McKenna (Peaky Blinders) as Shelly, a seemingly ordinary housewife and mother married to a detective (Barry Ward, Des), whose dark past comes back to haunt her. When her former partner in crime returns and threatens to expose Shelly’s secrets, she decides to kill him, but then her husband is tasked with finding the killer. This gripping six-part drama aired on BBC Four and iPlayer starting July 29.
Poldark‘s Aidan Turner and newcomer Ella Lily Hyland star in this dark and twisty six-part drama for Amazon Prime, about a former teen tennis prodigy (Hyland) who – five years after a horrific injury ends her career – makes explosive allegations about her coach (Turner). The series also stars Anna Chancellor (The Hour) and Lorenzo Richelmy (Marco Polo). Fifteen-Love premiered on Prime Video on July 21.
Eastenders legend Danny Dyer will star in this suspenseful four-part Channel 5 drama about two long-term friends, Steve (Dyer) and Brad (Darren McMullen, Doctor Doctor), whose families go on their yearly summer holiday together, only this time Australian bushfires loom over their secluded location. As tensions rise, secrets begin tumbling out, and not everyone will get out alive. Heat aired on Channel 5 in July.
Then You Run
Once titled ‘You’, this eight-part thriller from The Capture writer-director Ben Chanan is coming to Sky soon and tells the story of Tara O’Rourke, a young woman on the run across Europe after committing a deadly crime. Chanan adopts from Zoran Drvenkar’s novel. It began airing on Sky Max on Friday July 7 at 9pm.
The Sixth Commandment
Following the excellent A Very British Scandal, screenwriter Sarah Phelps is back with another true-story drama for the BBC. The Sixth Commandment dramatises the real-life deaths of Peter Farquhar and Ann Moore-Martin, played here by Timothy Spall and Ann Reid. It explores the manipulative student who targeted them and the complicated investigation that ensued. Phelps worked on the scripts with the support of the families involved, and this one’s being billed as a sensitive celebration of their lives. It aired on Monday 17th July on BBC One.
Not to be confused with Sky crime drama Wolfe, this new intensely twisty six-part crime thriller is coming to BBC One. It’s adapted from Mo Hayder’s series of Jack Caffery novels by Megan Gallagher and stars The Midwich Cuckoos‘ Ukweli Roach in the lead role of DI Caffery, who is trying to find the truth behind his 10-year-old brother’s murder in the 1990s. Meanwhile, a terrifying duo played by Doctor Who‘s Sacha Dhawan and Game of Thrones‘ Iwan Rheon take a wealthy family (including a husband and wife played by Line of Duty‘s Owen Teale and Bend It Like Beckham‘s Juliet Stevenson) hostage in their home, resulting in a disturbing race against time. It’s being made by Sherlock producers Hartswood Films, and – as you can see from the trailer above – it looks pretty gruesome. Wolf arrived on BBC One on Monday 31st July at 9pm.
The Confessions of Frannie Langton
This twisty historical murder mystery set in Georgian London first premiered on ITVX in December, and will now air on ITV1. It stars Karla-Simone Spence (Wannabe) in the title role of Frannie, who journeys from a life of slavery on a Jamaican plantation to a mansion in London’s Mayfair, only to become accused of murdering the mansion’s inhabitants, the Benham family. The Confessions of Frannie Langton also stars Sophie Cookson (The Trial of Christine Keeler) and Stephen Campbell Moore (War of the Worlds) and arrived on ITV1 at 9 p.m. on Monday the 21st of August 2023.
Who Is Erin Carter?
If action-packed, suspense-filled thrillers with powerful female leads are your vibe, then Netflix’s new eight-part series Who Is Erin Carter? will be right up your street. It stars Swedish actor Evin Ahmad (The Rain) as the eponymous Erin, a sweet-natured mum who has relocated to Barcelona with her husband (Sean Teale, Survivor) and daughter to live an idyllic life as a history teacher… or so we think. When she gets caught up in an armed robbery, she proves herself to be a kick-arse hero, setting off a series of events that threaten to reveal a very murky past that we discover Erin will go to great lengths to keep hidden. The series also stars Douglas Henshall (Shetland) and Susannah Fielding (This Time With Alan Partridge) and was released on Netflix on 24th August 2023.
The Woman in the Wall
What better combination could there be than Ruth Wilson (His Dark Materials), Daryl McCormack (Peaky Blinders) and a Gothic thriller? This one is coming to the BBC in the UK and Showtime in the US, and explores the terrible history of Ireland’s ‘Magdalene Laundries’. It’s about Lorna (played by Wilson), a former inmate of the Laundries who finds herself unexpectedly under investigation for murder. It arrived on BBC One and iPlayer on Sunday August 27 2023.
The Following Events are Based on a Pack of Lies
From Sister, the producers of This is Going to Hurt, The Baby, and The Split comes a new five-part BBC series about “two very different woman and the conman they have in common”. It’s being billed as a twisting thriller telling the stories of PA and single mother Alice, bestselling author Carolyn, and ‘ecopreneur’/scammer Rob, stars Rebekah Staton, Romola Garai, Sir Derek Jacobi and Marianne Jean-Baptiste, and comes written by sisters Penelope and Ginny Skinner. It arrived on BBC One and iPlayer on Tuesday the 29th of August at 9 p.m. With spoilers, read more about it here.
Alice & Jack
Mad Men producer Victor Levin has assembled an impressive cast for his new Channel 4 drama, which tells the intimate, honest and surprisingly funny love story of Alice (Oscar-nominated Andrea Riseborough, To Leslie) and Jack (Domhnall Gleeson, The Revenant). The heart-wrenching series also features Aisling Bea (This Way Up), Aimee Lou Wood (Sex Education) and Sunil Patel (Stath Lets Flats) in supporting roles. Filming took place in south-east England back in 2022 and the series arrived on Channel 4 on 9th September.
The Killing Kind
Legal thriller The Killing Kind is adapted from Jane Casey’s novel of the same name by Paramount Plus, and will star The Witcher‘s Emma Appleton as a successful barrister whose world is thrown into chaos and Merlin‘s Colin Morgan as her charming and potentially dangerous former client. Doctor Who‘s Elliot Barnes-Worrell and Unforgotten‘s Sara Powell are also in the cast. It arrived on Paramount Plus on Thursday 7th September.
The Long Shadow
The producers of hit ITV true-crime series White House Farm and Des are back with The Long Shadow, this time depicting the hunt for one of Britain’s most notorious and deadly serial killers, Peter Sutcliffe, who earned the nickname The Yorkshire Ripper during his six-year murder spree in the late 1970s. The drama was first commissioned back in 2020, and is based on meticulous research, including Michael Bilton’s highly praised book, Wicked Beyond Belief: The Hunt for the Yorkshire Ripper, and will focus on the impact Sutcliffe’s crimes had on the victims and their families. The Long Shadow‘s impressive cast includes Toby Jones (The Detectorists), David Morrissey (Blackpool), Lee Ingleby (Crossfire), Katherine Kelly (Black Ops), Jill Halfpenny (EastEnders) and Daniel Mays (Good Omens). It arrived on ITV1 on Monday 25th September at 9pm.
In this four-part Channel 5 drama, three siblings have their world turned upside down when their father dies unexpectedly, and they make the surprising discovery he hasn’t left them anything in his will. This sends them on a quest to find out the truth about his death – was his death an accident, or murder? The series has an impressive line-up of drama alumni, including Gavin and Stacey‘s Larry Lamb, Gaynor Faye (The Syndicate), and Downton Abbey‘s Samantha Bond. It began on Channel 5 on Monday 4th September at 9pm.
Coming to Sky in 2023 is new original drama The Lovers, which stars Johnny Flynn (Emma., Lovesick) and Roisin Gallagher (The Fall). It’s about two people who couldn’t be more wrong for each other discovering that maybe they’re exactly what the other needs. Gallagher plays Janet, a Belfast supermarket worker, and Flynn plays Seamus, a political broadcaster with a celebrity girlfriend who needs taking down a peg or two. It’s being billed as a “sexy, funny, fight-y love story”. Game of Thrones‘ Conleth Hill co-stars. The six-part series arrived on Sky on Thursday 7th September.
Jenna Coleman returns, fresh from her stint as exorcist-for-hire Constantine in Netflix’s The Sandman, to star in twisted love story Wilderness. Opposite The Invisible Man‘s Oliver Jackson-Cohen, Coleman will play a woman who plans to take revenge on her cheating husband on a holiday in America’s national parks that was designed to reset their broken marriage. The Prime Video drama is adapted from the book of the same name by B.E. Jones, and arrived on the streaming platform on 15th September
You and Me
After premiering on streaming service ITVX earlier this year, You and Me will now air on ITV1, telling the story of three young complex, tragedy-filled young lives: Ben (Harry Lawtey, Industry), Emma (Jessica Barden, The End of The F***ing World) and Jess (Sophia Brown, Giri/Haji). The three-part mini-series is an emotional story of love and loss in the modern world, and began airing on Monday 4th September on ITV1.
This twisty time-travelling tale is based on Si Spencer’s graphic novel of the same name, and sees four police detectives across four time periods – from the Victorian era through to the Blitz and even the distant future – investigating the same murder and uncovering a 150-year-old conspiracy. The eight-part Netflix series will star Kyle Soller (Andor), Amaka Okafor (The Sandman), Shira Haas (Unorthodox), and Jacob Fortune-Lloyd (The Great) as the four detectives, with Stephen Graham (The Walk-In) also playing a central role. Bodies landed on Netflix on 15th October. With finale spoilers, read our ending explainer here.
Acclaimed 2021 feature film Boiling Point is being adapted into a five-part television drama for the BBC. Starring Stephen Graham and Vinette Robinson, supported by a strong cast (many of which cross over with excellent Sky drama Save Me), it’s set over the course of a single night in an upscale London restaurant where the head chef is struggling to stay above water in the face of personal demons, terrible guests, a smarmy mentor and more. Tense, captivating and certain to make you want to tip generously. The series arrived on BBC One on Sunday 1st October.
Just as Sex Education comes to an end, a brand-new Netflix YA drama arrives in the form of Everything Now, centring on teenager Mia (Sophie Wilde, Tom Jones) who is returning to school after spending several months in a mental health unit suffering with an eating disorder. She soon discovers that her friends have moved on to new, more “grownup” hobbies (sex, drugs and partying) leaving Mia feeling like she’s got a lot of catching up to do. The cast also includes Harry Cadby (Inside Man), Sam Reuben (Trust Me) and QI‘s Stephen Fry. The series premiered on Netflix on 5th October.
This BBC Three coming-of-age drama is set in 2001 and follows a group of five friends as they try not to let first loves, danger and parental disapproval get in the way of their music career. The friends will be played by fresh talent including Shanu Hazzan (EastEnders), Juwon Adedokun (Damilola), Gabriel Robinson (Casualty), Tienne Simon (Silent Witness) and newcomer Yus Jamal Crookes. Described as a ‘love letter to East London’, the show finished filming earlier this year and arrived on BBC Three and BBC iPlayer later on Monday 13th October. Watch the trailer here.
Channel 4 is creating a factual drama about the infamous Partygate scandal, juxtaposing the revelry inside the nation’s seat of power with the hardship and sacrifice being experienced across the rest of the country. It centres on two fictional Special Advisors, played by The Chronicles of Narnia‘s Georgie Henley and Ophelia Lovibond from W1A) and will also star Phil Daniels (Eastenders), Charlotte Ritchie (Ghosts) and a voice appearance from impressionist John Culshaw as Boris Johnson. It’s being made by the producers behind some of the channel’s other hard-hitting dramas like Murdered By My Father and Killed By My Debt. The feature-length episode aired on Channel 4 on 3rd October 2023.
Jed Mercurio’s production company is behind this six-part ITV thriller from Debbie O’Malley (All Creatures Great and Small, Call the Midwife). It stars The Bay‘s Morven Christie (pictured above) as Lexie, who discovers her husband Jared has been money laundering for crime lord Cal Morris (Westworld‘s Peter Mullan). Line of Duty‘s Prasanna Puwanarajah plays a financial investigator who is determined to use Lexie to bring down Morris, tying her to a dangerous police operation that risks her life. This gripping psychological story arrived on ITV1 on Wednesday 4th October.
The Good Ship Murder
If sober, philosophically probing true crime dramas are starting to wear you down, Channel 5 has the answer: Murder She Wrote meets Below Deck is the pitch for this original Channel 5 co-production about a cruise liner cabaret singer thrust back into his former life as a police detective when there’s a murder on board! The Good Ship Murder sounds like a hoot that will bring together the sun, sea and exotic backdrops of Death in Paradise with a gossip and scandal-tinged murder mystery. Corrie stars Shayne Ward and Catherine Tyldesley lead the cast and the series arrived on Channel 5 on Friday 13th October 2023.
Three Little Birds
From writer, actor, comedian and campaigner Sir Lenny Henry comes a six-part ITV drama inspired by Henry’s mother’s experiences emigrating from Jamaica to Great Britain in the 1960s. It’s the story of vivacious sisters Leah and Chantelle (Guilt‘s Rochelle Neil and Eastenders‘ Saffron Coomber, respectively) and their bible-loving companion Hosanna (Yazmin Belo, What Just Happened), as they travel from St Anne’s in Jamaica to settle in the UK. “This series will be a tribute to the giants who came before us and walked cold streets to create new lives for themselves,” says creator Henry. Russell T Davies is executive producing. The series arrived on ITV on Sunday 22nd October.
The Burning Girls
When Paramount+ launches in the UK later this year, one of the excellent dramas we have to look forward to is The Burning Girls, based on C J Tudor’s novel of the same name. It’s set in the ill-fated and decidedly creepy village of Chapel Croft, which has been plagued with tragedies: from burning ‘witches’ at the stake in the distant past to the disappearance of two teenage girls 30 years ago, and now the local vicar has taken his own life. Jack Brooks (Samantha Morton, The Walking Dead) arrives as the new vicar, along with her daughter Flo (Ruby Stokes, Lockwood & Co), and quickly discovers the village is full of secrets, and uncovering the truth can be deadly. The Burning Girls streamed from October 19.
Actor, comedian and Alan Partridge creator Steve Coogan will portray the life-long sexual predator and disgraced TV presenter Jimmy Savile in a new BBC drama tackling his life, rise to fame and horrific sex offences. The Reckoning is being produced by Jeff Pope, who was behind other hard-hitting UK true crime dramas The Moorside and Appropriate Adult, and while initial reports pushed a release back to 2024, it has now been confirmed the four-part drama aired on Monday 9th and Tuesday 10th October 2023.
The life of Hollywood legend Cary Grant will be depicted in ITV’s four-part series Archie, written by award-winning screenwriter Jeff Pope (Stan & Ollie), and starring Jason Isaacs (The Great) in the lead role. Archie tells the story of how Grant’s troubled childhood, family tragedy and an overpowering lie shaped his life before his foray into Hollywood stardom. The series arrived on ITVX on 23rd November.
What would you do if you found a literal boatload of cocaine in an abandoned shipwreck? As this new six-part BBC crime thriller shows, when two cash-strapped strangers (Back To Life’s Daisy Haggard and Vigil’s Paterson Joseph) find just that, they decide to sell it and split the money, getting them stuck between the classic rock-and-a-hard-place in the form of an intense police investigation and a terrifying gangster (Tcheky Karyo, Baptiste) on the hunt for revenge. Boat Story comes from the team behind The Missing and The Tourist, so we can expect a thrill ride, and the series also stars Joanna Scanlan (The Light in The Hall) and Eastenders‘ Phil Daniels. The series arrived on the BBC on Sunday 19th November at 9pm, and on Amazon Freevee in the US.
Disney+ is bringing us this darkly comedic thriller about a team of criminals who – years after getting away with a high-stakes heist – find themselves being killed off, one by one, by a mysterious and ruthless assassin. The impressive cast stars Ned Dennehy (Good Omens), Nathan Stewart-Jarrett (Misfits) and Kirby (The Good Place), and also features the likes of Gemma Arterton (Funny Woman), Niamh Algar (Raised by Wolves), and Eddie Izzard (Stay Close). Culprits arrived on Disney+ on Wednesday 8th November.
Bridgerton fans will probably enjoy Apple TV’s newest drama The Buccaneers, which is set in the 1870s and sees a group of fun-loving wealthy young American women sent to London during debutante season in order to find rich and titled husbands (and generally cause chaos). The eight-episode series is based on Edith Wharton’s unfinished final novel and stars Kristine Frøseth (The First Lady), Alisha Boe (13 Reasons Why), Josie Totah (Champions), Simone Kirby (Peaky Blinders) and newcomers Matthew Broome and Guy Remmers. The Buccaneers arrived on Apple TV+ on 8th November.
The Couple Next Door
This dark, psychological drama for Channel 4 stars Outlander‘s Sam Heughan and Poldark‘s Eleanor Tomlinson in a story about a new couple who move to an upscale neighbourhood and grow close to their new neighbours, before becoming sexually entangled in a way that will change their lives forever. Filming took place earlier this year in Leeds and Belgium, and after arriving on Channel 4 on 27th and 28th November, it will also air on Starz in the US later in 2024.
This psychological ITVX thriller, based on Louise Doughty’s bestselling novel of the same name, is the haunting story of Lisa (who will be played by Noughts and Crosses star Jasmine Jobson), a young girl who witnesses a cataclysmic event on a train station platform, before slowly discovering her life is connected to the events that she’s just witnessed. Expect a chilling mix of supernatural and contemporary realism.
Lot No. 249
The BBC’s tradition for telling spooky Christmas ghost stories continues: this time, the classic terrifying tale Mark Gatiss (Sherlock) is adapting is Arthur Conan Doyle’s Lot No 249, about an Oxford University student who investigates ancient Egyptian secrets, but whose experiments might have revived a long-dead mummy he bought at auction. The series stars Kit Harrington (Game of Thrones) and Freddie Fox (Slow Horses), with filming taking place in Hertfordshire, and the episode aired on BBC Two on Christmas Eve 2023.
The remarkable true story of how a group of ordinary middle-aged Welsh men became the subjects for one of the world’s first medical trials for Viagra in 1994 is being turned into a feature-length comedy drama for the BBC. Men Up stars Iwan Rheon (Game of Thrones), Sherwood‘s Phaldut Sharma, Steffan Rhodri (House of the Dragon), and Gangs of London‘s Mark Lewis Jones, and the impressive cast also includes Joanna Page (Gavin and Stacey), Katy Wix (Ghosts) and The Catch‘s Aneurin Barnard. The drama is written by Industry‘s Matthew Barry and aired in late December.
Murder is Easy
We had another Agatha Christie adaptation in 2023 – with a very impressive cast. In Christie’s novel Murder is Easy, a series of deaths in an English village are presumed accidental, until a man called Luke Fitzwilliam (David Jonsson, Industry) meets Miss Pinkerton (Penelope Wilton, Downton Abbey) on a train, and she tells him she believes they’re the work of a killer. When Luke later learns Miss Pinkerton has been found dead, he feels he must hunt down the killer before they can strike again. The cast also includes Mathew Baynton (Ghosts), Morfydd Clark (Lord of the Rings), Mark Bonnar (Guilt) and Eastenders icon Tamzin Outhwaite. Sian Ejiwunmi-Le Berre will adapt Christie’s novel for the screen, and Meenu Gaur (World on Fire) will direct. Filming began in Scotland in July 2023, and the show aired on BBC One and iPlayer over the festive period in the UK, and will arrive on BritBox in 2024 for a US audience
Sheridan Smith (Cilla, pictured above) and Céline Buckens (Showtrial) will star in Paramount+’s new drama The Castaways, based on Lucy Clarke’s bestselling novel of the same name. They’ll play sisters Lori and Erin, who have a fight, resulting in Lori (Smith) boarding their flight to Fiji but Erin (Buckens) staying behind. When the flight goes missing, and Lori is presumed dead, Erin discovers the pilot has been spotted in Fiji using her missing sister’s credit card, and does everything in her power to track Lori down. Filming began in Fiji and Greece in June, and the series arrived on Paramount+ UK on 26th December.
The Serial Killer’s Wife
Alice Hunter’s novel The Serial Killer’s Wife is being adapted into a four-part drama for Paramount+, starring Jack Farthing (Poldark), Annabel Scholey (Medici) and Luke Treadaway (Lockwood & Co). It tells the story of Beth Fairchild (Scholey) whose surprise party for her husband Tom (Farthing) is interrupted when the police arrest his for murdering his former assistant. Although she believes her husband has been wrongly accused, the more she confides in his childhood best friend Adam (Treadaway), the more her idyllic village family life begins to unravel, as she makes shocking discoveries that cast doubt on Tom’s innocence. Filming took place in Kent and the series arrived on Paramount+ UK on 15th December.
The Winter King
Fans of The Last Kingdom should pay attention to this one! Bernard Cornwell’s Warlord Chronicles are getting the adaptation treatment from ITVX for this historical action series following Arthurian legends. The cast looks top-notch too, with Eddie Marsan being joined by The Control Room‘s Iain de Caestecker (pictured above) and SAS: Rogue Heroes‘ Stuart Campbell. The series arrived on ITVX on 21st December 2023.