Factor 30 and crease-sweat begone! For tis meteorological autumn, a witching time of hot Bovril, long sleeves and cloudy-enough skies to finally be able to watch TV without having to draw the curtains first.
Here are the new and returning UK TV shows to look out for between now and the end of the year (including a clutch that won’t get here until 2017 but we were too excited about to leave off). We’ll update as and when missing air dates are confirmed.
The US list is here…
Black Mirror series 3
We wouldn’t recommend binge-watching six episodes of dystopian tech drama Black Mirror. That concentrated a dose of existential worry would likely bring you out in shingles. If however, you insist, you’ll be able to do so from Friday the 21st of October when series three comes to Netflix.
Having nabbed the show from its original Channel 4 home in what looked to be a bit of a scuffle, Netflix is releasing the first batch of anthology stories in October and has already ordered a further six. Three of the new episodes were written by Brooker, with the remaining three by William Bridges, Michael Schur and Rashida Jones and Dan Trachtenberg, who is also directing. Other directors aboard this series are Atonement’s Joe Wright, Be Right Back’s Owen Harris, Eden Lake’s James Watkins, London Spy’s Jakob Verburggen and Penny Dreadful’s James Hawes.
The cast looks as good as ever, with Bryce Dallas Howard, Alice Eve, James Norton, Mackenzie Davis Jerome Flynn and Kelly Macdonald, to name just a few. We’ll have much more for you on the new series next month.
Air date: Friday the 21st of October, Netflix UK
Catastrophe series 3
Knowing it’s onto a good thing, Channel 4 commissioned two new series of Sharon Horgan and Rob Delaney’s acerbic yet warm relationship comedy Catastrophe after series two. The third run goes into production this November and will premiere on Channel 4 in 2017, with a fourth following in 2018.
The story of Sharon and Rob, a couple who get unexpectedly pregnant after a week of no-strings intercontinental shagging and decide to try to make a go of it, Catastrophe is a funny, clever, refreshingly honest look at marriage and parenting from two of the best, most in-demand comedy writers around.
Air date: TBC, 2017, Channel 4, Amazon Prime
This youth-skewed Doctor Who spin-off was written by author Patrick Ness (The Crane Wife, A Monster Calls, the Chaos Walking trilogy). Set at recurring Who location Coal Hill School—workplace of Barbara Wright, Ian Chesterton and Clara Oswald—it combines the day-to-day worries of teenage life with “the horrors that come from time travel”, according to the official bumf. Expect a British Buffy, we’re told.
The first series has eight episodes and will debut on BBC Three this October.
Air date: TBC October, BBC Three
Australian TV (we’ve stuck this on the UK TV list as it’s airing on BBC Three) doesn’t have a rich history of fantasy drama, which makes Cleverman something of a unique offering. It’s a six-part supernatural series created by Ryan Griffen and inspired by Aboriginal myth with modern-day subtext about race, borders and otherness which takes place in a dystopian world in which ‘The Hairypeople’, a species of strong humanoids, are confined to a ghetto by the Australian government.
It’s already aired on Sundance in the US and on ABC in Australia, and is now available on BBC Three and BBC iPlayer.
Air date: Sunday the 4th of September, BBC Three/BBC iPlayer
Close To The Enemy
After 2013’s Dancing On The Edge, awards-magnet screenwriter Steven Poliakoff is back with 2016 six-part period drama miniseries Close To The Enemy. Set in a bomb-damaged hotel in the aftermath of the Second World War, this one’s a spy ensemble thriller with a very inviting cast. Lindsay Duncan, Freddie Highmore, Jim Sturgess, Charlotte Riley, Angela Bassett, Alfie Allen, Robert Glenister… we could go on.
Air date: TBC 2016, BBC Two, Starz
Count Arthur Strong series 3
Filming has concluded on series three of Count Arthur Strong, Steve Delaney and Graham Linehan’s excellent TV version of Delaney’s BBC Radio 4’s Count Arthur Strong’s Radio Show! There’s still time to catch up on the first two series, the second of which is out on DVD later this month, before it airs if you’ve yet to see them.
Delaney plays Arthur, a former variety entertainer with delusions of grandeur, with Rory Kinnear as his exasperated writer friend Michael. It’s the sort of cheering, expertly constructed comedy that lifts your spirits, anchored by a superb comedic performance from Delaney. Highly recommended.
Air date: TBC 2016, BBC One
Danger Mouse series 2
2015’s revived Danger Mouse, featuring the voices of Alexander Armstrong, Kevin Eldon and Stephen Fry, is an argument for bringing back old franchises. The jokes were funny, the modern references were fun and everything felt as if it had been done with love for the original. It was a savvy mix of silly adventures for kids and hangover TV for grown-ups.
No surprise then that CBBC quickly ordered a second series, which is due to arrive this month.
Air date: TBC September, CBBC
Downton Abbey’s Joanne Froggatt will play Victorian serial killer Mary Ann Cottan in two-part ITV drama Dark Angel. Based on criminologist David Wilson’s book about the little-known poisoner, the miniseries follows Mary Ann as she climbs the social ladder by means of fraud, bigamy and murder.
It’s being made by World Productions, who are behind excellent police drama Line Of Duty, and comes directed by Downton Abbey’s Brian Percival and written by The Girl and Five Days’ Gwyneth Hughes. Filming took place in August 2015, so we should see this one soon.
Air date: TBC, ITV
Doctor Who Christmas special
There’s surprisingly scant official info around as yet on this year’s Steven Moffat-written Doctor Who Christmas Special. Moffat told Doctor Who Magazine this summer that we should expect a “guest companion” to accompany Peter Capaldi on the festive adventure as new full-time TARDIS resident Bill (Pearl Mackie) wouldn’t be introduced until the start of series ten, but experience teaches us to take pronouncements of that kind with a pinch of the proverbial. More news as it arrives.
Air date: Sunday the 25th of December, BBC One
Go 8 Bit
Since Videogame Nation bowed out earlier this year, the UK has been without a gaming TV show. Enter, Dara O’Briain, fresh from his Robot Wars presenting gig, with this TV version of the Edinburgh live show Go 8 Bit.
To boil it down, it’s comedians and celebrities playing videogames both new and old and it’s a lot of fun. Episode one features David James, Susan Calman, Chuckie Egg and Tetris and is currently available to watch on UKTV Play, here.
Air date: Monday the 5th of September, Dave
Billed as a “domestic horror”, three-part ITV drama HIM caught our eye because of its supernatural content. As well as experiencing family drama due to his parents’ divorce, its seventeen year old lead is also “engaged in a primal struggle to contain the terrifying secret of a supernatural power inherited from his grandfather.” Spooky.
Written by The Politician’s Husband and The Virgin Queen’s Paula Milne and directed by Lucky Man’s Andy De Emmony, HIM was filmed in London in early 2016.
Air date: TBC 2016, ITV1
His Dark Materials
Seeing as it’s only just going into pre-production, the BBC’s forthcoming Philip Pullman adaptation is a premature entry on this list but it’s such an exciting prospect we hope you’ll forgive us. Jack Thorne (The Fades, Skins, Harry Potter And The Cursed Child) is adapting Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy for this BBC production.
It’s the story of Lyra and Will, children facing danger and mystery in a world of daemons, dust and theological philosophy. Forget the 2007 film adaptation, this one promises to be something very special.
A multi-series deal appears to have been done with Wales-based production company Bad Wolf (Doctor Who’s Jane Tranter and Julie Gardner) so all things being well, UK fantasy fans could have an enduring treat on our hands.
Air date: TBC, not yet filming
Hooten And The Lady
Michael Landes and Ophelia Lovibond travel the world having Indiana Jones-style adventures in search of lost artefacts in Sky One’s new eight-part adventure drama Hooten And The Lady.
The production team have raided Doctor Who’s stash of directors for this one by the looks of it, with Justin Molotnikov (Face The Raven, Sleep No More), Daniel O’Hara (Before The Flood, Under The Lake) and Colin Teague (The Fires Of Pompeii, Last Of The Time Lords and The Sound Of Drums) all stepping behind the camera. Jessica Hynes, Jonathan Bailey and Jayne Seymour round out a fun cast.
Air date: Friday the 16th of September at 9pm, Sky1
Humans series 2
The Synths are back in the second series of Sam Vincent and Jonathan Brackley’s UK remake of Swedish series Real Humans (read our comparison of the two shows, here).
Set in a world where AI has bought ‘Synthetics’ into the home and workplace, Humans is a tech-thriller whose first series introduced the story of Dr David Elster, a robotics engineer whose experimentation with giving robots sentience has unforeseen consequences. We’ve already seen this image of Emily Berrington’s Niska from the new series. Expect more titbits to come between now and its October launch.
Air date: TBC October, Channel 4, AMC
Inside No. 9 series 3
Six new episodes of Reece Shearsmith and Steve Pemberton’s excellent anthology horror series Inside No. 9 are due to arrive on BBC Two later this year. New guest stars for series 3 include Felicity Kendal; Fiona Shaw, Jason Watkins, Keeley Hawes, Jessica Raine, Rula Lenska, Mathew Baynton, Sarah Hadland, Philip Glenister, Javone Prince, Montserrat Lombard, Morgana Robinson, Alexandra Roach and Tamzin Outhwaite.
Air date: TBC 2016 BBC Two (with thanks to commenter Squiggleyjoop).
In The Dark
Fresh from contributing to Harlan Coben thriller The Five Danny Brocklehurst (Exile, The Driver, Shameless) is back at the BBC with police drama In The Dark. Adapted from Mark Billingham’s series of crime novels, In The Dark stars Ripper Street’s MyAnna Buring as Det. Helen Weeks. A new female-led detective drama to tide us over as we await Happy Valley series three, perhaps?
The four-part series filmed in Manchester earlier this year.
Air date: TBC 2016
Another one by the very talented Jack Thorne (The Fades, Skins, Harry Potter And The Cursed Child) here. National Treasure is a four-part drama inspired by events surrounding Operation Yewtree, the police investigation into historical sexual abuse by media personalities.
Utopia director Marc Munden leads a stand-out cast featuring Robbie Coltrane, Julie Walters, Andrew Riseborough and Tim McInnerny. It won’t be an easy watch, this one, but it’ll be an important one.
Air date: TBC September, Channel 4
Red Dwarf series XI
Following the success of its 2012 revival, Dave ordered two further series of Red Dwarf, both of which have already been filmed. The first six new Doug Naylor-written episodes arrive on air this month and see the boys from the Dwarf deal with alternate worlds, ship wrecks, organ transplants, multiple Rimmers and a lady Cat. We can’t wait.
Air date: Thursday the 22nd of September, 9pm, Dave
Read the rest of the entries over on the next page.
Tim Roth and Samantha Morton lead the cast in this three-part true crime drama telling the story of murderer John Christie (Roth) and his wife Ethel (Morton). The 1940s and 1950s murders were previously the subject of a 1971 feature film starring Richard Attenborough. This version of the story has been written by Silent Witness’ Ed Whitmore and Tracey Malone, with Craig Viveiros (And Then There Were None) directing.
Air date: TBC 2016, BBC One
Sherlock series 4
Sherlock series 4 needs no introduction here. Three new feature-length episodes of the enormously successful BBC detective drama are due to arrive at the start of 2017, written by creators Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat. Directors this series include Rachel Talalay, Nick Hurran and Ben Caron, with Toby Jones playing episode two villain Culverton Smith. Here’s what our US chums spotted in the first trailer.
Air date: Sunday the 1st of January 2017
Bond film writers Neal Purvis and Robert Wade have adapted Len Deighton’s alternate history novel SS-GB into a five-part drama starring Sam Riley, Aneurin Barnard, Kate Bosworth and Jason Flemyng.
Fans of The Man In The High Castle should look out for this one, telling as it does the story of an imagined world in which the Axis powers won World War II and Det. Douglas Archer (Riley) becomes tangled up in secrets relating to British atomic weapons research, coveted by the invading army.
Air date: TBC, BBC One, BBC Worldwide
More fruit from the fecund collaboration between writer/director Steven Knight (Peaky Blinders, Locke, Eastern Promises) and actor Tom Hardy here. Taboo is an eight-episode miniseries based on a story by Hardy and his dad about a nineteenth century shipping adventurer seeking vengeance for the death of his father. Oona Chapling, Michael Kelly, Jonathan Pryce and David Hayman also star.
Air date: BBC One, FX
Following in the footsteps of Inspector Morse prequel Endeavour, ITV is going back in time to chronicle the early police career of Jane Tennison, the character made famous by Dame Helen Mirren in the acclaimed Lynda La Plante series.
Six episodes of the Prime Suspect prequel Tennison starring Doctor Thorne’s Stefanie Martini will air on ITV in 2017.
Air date: TBC 2017
Following on from Tripped, The Aliens and Wasted, Channel 4 has ordered a full six-part series of space sitcom The Cloud, by Graham Linehan (Black Books, Father Ted) and Adam Buxton (Bug, The Adam And Joe Show).
Little is officially known about the series except that it’s set aboard a data hub floating in space. We’ll keep you posted.
Air date: TBC 2017
Netflix has invested some serious money into British royal family drama The Crown and is keen for you to know about it. Written by The Queen and Frost/Nixon’s Peter Morgan, it stars Wolf Hall’s Claire Foy as Queen Elizabeth II with Doctor Who’s Matt Smith as Prince Philip, Mad Men’s Jared Harris as King George VI and a host of starry names playing the upper ranks of the British monarchy and aristocracy.
Air date: Friday the 4th of November, Netflix
The Fall season 3
Alan Cubitt’s serial killer drama The Fall is back to continue the cat and mouse story between murderer Paul Spector (Jamie Dornan) and police investigator Stella Gibson (Gillian Anderson). You’ll be able to find out who did and didn’t survive the dramatic series two finale, whether the families of Spector’s victims get justice and whether Stella goes swimming again, in just a few short weeks.
Air date: TBC, Autumn 2016
The Last Dragonslayer
Jasper Fforde’s The Last Dragonslayer is providing Sky1 with its glossy family fantasy drama this Christmas. A one-off feature-length special will air this December, set in a world where magic exists but lacks juice, and fifteen year old Jennifer Strange gets involved in the hunt for the last dragon in existence.
Air date: TBC December, Sky1
The Last Kingdom S2
Adapted from Bernard Cornwell’s series of novels, the first series of Viking drama The Last Kingdom aired last year. Now Netflix has joined forced with the BBC for series two, which continues the story of Uhtred (Alexander Dreymon), the young Saxon raised among Vikings who has to choose where his allegiances lay.
Filming began on series two in Budapest in June 2016.
Air date: TBC 2017, BBC Two, Netflix
Karla Crome (Under The Dome, Misfits) and Laura Haddock (Da Vinci’s Demons) are cast alongside Noel Clarke (Brotherhood, Storage 24, Kidulthood) and Downton Abbey’s Robert James-Collier in new Brighton-set crime drama The Level. This one comes written by Shetland and Vera’s Gaby Chiappe and Alex Perrin.
Air date: TBC Autumn, ITV
The Missing series 2
James Nesbitt-starring The Missing was a BBC hit for writers Harry and Jack Williams in late 2014. Its second series features a new case for French detective Julien Baptiste (Tchéky Karyo) a new missing child and a new pair of grieving parents played by David Morrissey (The Walking Dead) and Keeley Hawes (Line Of Duty). Those two alone make it worth tuning in for.
Air date: TBC, BBC One, Starz
Not to be outdone by Hooten And The Lady, ITV also has an archaeological series on the way in the form of Tutankhamun, a new four-part show starring Max Irons and Sam Neill. Written by The Bletchley Circle and Beowulf: Return To The Shieldlands’ Guy Burt, it’s the 1905-set story of the young archaeologist Howard Carter (Irons) and his benefactor Lord Carnarvon (Sam Neill) and their search for the final resting place of Tutankhamun. You can get a taste of it courtesy of this extended first look trailer, here.
Air date: TBC, ITV
Yonderland series 3
We’ve gone into depth here on why Sky One’s Yonderland, the puppet fantasy comedy from the cast and creators of the brilliant Horrible Histories and family feature film Bill, is perfect family viewing. All you need to know is that the whole excellent bunch, plus Stephen Fry, are back for series three, and so should you be.
Air date: Sunday the 16th October, 6.30pm, Sky1
Three-part fantasy comedy Zapped! stars Paul Kaye, The Inbetweeners’ James Buckley and My Mad Fat Diary’s Sharon Rooney, with a cameo by Steve Coogan, whose production company is behind it.
It’s the story of an everyman type (James Buckley) who finds himself transported to a fantasy parallel world. From writers Dan Gaster, Paul Powell and Will Ing, it marks Dave’s next move into scripted comedy since becoming the home of Red Dwarf.
Air date: TBC October, Dave