If police drama remains the bedrock of British TV commissions, with new crime series Karen Pirie, Marlow, Magpie Murders, The Responder, Sherwood and more on their way, then a glittering seam of fantasy and horror is also pleasingly visible. 2022 will welcome a host of supernatural and sci-fi series, from Neil Gaiman adaptation Anansi Boys, to Joe Barton’s sci-fi action-thriller Extinction, BBC Three teen horror Red Rose, Sky dark comedy The Baby, Netflix superhero series Supacell, and a new telling of John Wyndham’s spooky children classic The Midwich Cuckoos. Streamer Netflix also has adaptations of YA fantasies Cuckoo Song, Half Bad and Lockwood & Co, plus a supernatural murder-mystery in The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle and a new take on the Greek myths in Charlie Covell’s Kaos.
There’s room for romance and comedy too, from Netflix’s Heartstopper graphic novel adaptation, to Conversations with Friends – a new Sally Rooney adaptation following lockdown hit Normal People and One Day. Look out for the English-language adaptation of French hit Call My Agent, from the creator of Twenty Twelve and W1A. All that, plus Andrew Scott as Tom Ripley, Tom Hiddleston as a scandalous politician, and new writing from Jack Thorne, Steven Moffat, Russell T. Davies, Steven Knight, Gwyneth Hughes, Abi Morgan, as well as a host of new voices.
We’ll keep this list updated as air dates and new commissions are announced.
Anansi Boys (tbc)
Following on the heels of Good Omens‘ surprise second series renewal by Amazon Prime Video came the announcement that the same team were to adapt Neil Gaiman’s Anansi Boys novel into a television series. It’s the story of Fat Charlie Nancy and his slippery brother Spider, sons of Mr Nancy, the folkloric spider god and trickster famed in West African and Caribbean mythology. Malachi Kirby and Delroy Lindo have been cast as Charlie and Anansi.
World Productions, the makers of some of the best British drama around (Line Of Duty, Save Me, Jed Mercurio drama Bodyguard) are behind this four-part drama for ITV. Written by novelist Kevin Sampson, who was present at Hillsborough Stadium on the tragic day that ninety-six football fans died, it tells the real-life story of Anne Williams’ decades-long fight for justice for her teenage son and all the victims of the 1989 disaster. Maxine Peake stars in the lead role and Bruce Goodison directs. It starts on Sunday the 2nd of January 2022.
A Spy Among Friends (tbc)
Based on Ben McIntyre’s best-selling book, this UK-US co-production stars Damien Lewis and Guy Pearce as two spies and lifelong friends whose relationship is marked by betrayal at the height of the Cold War. Filming began in October 2021 and stretches from London to Romania. We can expect to see the series on streamer Britbox in the UK and on Spectrum in the US in autumn 2022. Adrian Edmondson and Anna Maxwell-Martin co-star.
Best Interests (tbc)
Jack Thorne (pictured), the busiest screenwriter in the UK and leader of the writing room 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 and filming was due to begin in 2020 before the pandemic took hold but as of December 2021, there have been no updates as yet.
But When We Dance (tbc)
Directed by Johnny Campbell (of In The Flesh and Dracula fame) and written by Esio Trot’s Paul Mayhew Archer, this one-off comedy-drama about two people with Parkinson’s disease was announced in late 2019 and will be coming to BBC One. Described as a touching and hilarious love story, it’s the story of Tony and Emma, a couple who first meet at a dance class for people with Parkinson’s. It promises to be a witty, heart-felt 90 minutes throwing a light on a much-diagnosed condition in the UK.
Call My Agent (tbc)
An English-language adaptation of the hit French comedy-drama following a Parisian talent agency is coming to the UK, and from the best possible choice of writer – WIA and Twenty Twelve writer John Morton. Filming took place in summer 2021 on the series, which is set to welcome a host of star cameos including Helena Bonham Carter, Kelly Macdonald and Jim Broadbent, all playing satirical versions of themselves. Jack Davenport leads the regular cast.
Cash Carraway w/t (tbc)
Inspired by writer Cash Carraway’s memoir Skint Estate, this new BBC drama will star This Country’s Daisy May Cooper as a working class single mum skewering stereotypes and exploring the brutal realities of austerity Britain. Creator Carraway assures viewers that it won’t be “a woeful tale of poverty porn,” but a love story between a mother who refuses to give in, and her 10-year-old daughter.
From Candice Carty-Williams (pictured above), writer of 2019 hit novel Queenie, comes a series celebrating contemporary Black British Music. Champion is the story of 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?
From Alice Seabright, director of Netflix’s Sex Education comes six-part BBC One psychological thriller Chloe. It’s the story of Becky, who becomes so obsessed with the death of an estranged friend that she takes on a false identity to find out the true story. The cast (pictured above) was announced in April 2021 and includes Poldark‘s Jack Farthing, The Crown‘s Erin Doherty, The Serpent‘s Billy Howle and Gangs of London‘s Pippa Bennett-Warner.
Conversations with Friends (tbc)
Following the enormous success of Normal People – the story of young Irish couple Marianne and Connor navigating love, sex, university, class, friendship and mental health – the BBC and Hulu have collaborated on an adaptation of author Sally Rooney’s debut novel, Conversations with Friends. This one’s on a similar bent, as the story of a pair of young Irish students who get involved with an glamorous older, married couple. The cast looks excellent too, with Joe Alwyn and Jemima Kirke playing Nick and Melissa, newcomer Alison Oliver playing the lead Frances, and Utopia (US) and Loki‘s Sasha Lane as Frances’ friend Bobbi.
Keeley Hawes stars in a three-part BBC One drama that tells the story of a brutal attack on a luxurious holiday resort in the Canary Islands. The miniseries is described as a nail-biting thriller about people forced to make monumental split-second life or death decisions, and the long-lasting consequences of their choices. Josette Simon, Anneika Rose, Lee Ingleby and Daniel Ryan co-star, from a screenplay by Apple Tree Yard author Louise Doughty.
Cuckoo Song (tbc)
Based on the acclaimed young adult novel by author Frances Hardinge (The Lie Tree, Fly By Night), this six-part fantasy series is coming to Netflix. Among the writers are Doctor Who’s Sarah Dollard, Elizabeth is Missing’s Andrea Gibb and The Innocents’ Corinna Faith. It’s the story of two sisters – one human and one a monster – at war with each other, who have to reunite to reverse a supernatural pact gone wrong.
Death Comes as the End (tbc)
With Agatha Christie adaptation The Pale Horse having completed Sarah Phelps’ quintet of adaptations for the BBC in 2020, it’s the turn of a different voice on a very different kind of Christie novel. That voice? Vanity Fair and Five Days screenwriter Gwyneth Hughes. And that novel? Death Comes As The End, a murder mystery set not in the early 20th century, but in ancient Egypt. The arrival of a new concubine sends ripples through an Egyptian priest’s family. The cast and air date have yet to be announced.
Actor, rapper and screenwriter Riz Ahmed (pictured) was announced in 2018 as developing this ambitious nine-part series with BBC Two, but no updates have been released since. It was set to be a drama about three generations of a British Pakistani family set over the course of four decades. As soon as there’s any news on this one, we’ll include it here.
From playwright and screenwriter Abi Morgan, creator of The Split (pictured) comes a tense Netflix thriller about a missing boy in 1980s Manhattan. Eric is the story of the boy’s father, a puppeteer on a children’s TV show, who finds solace in his friendship with the titular character – a monster who lives under his son’s bed. Casting and filming details are to be announced.
Everything I Know About Love (tbc)
Novelist and journalist Dolly Alderton has turned screenwriter to adapt her own memoir Everything I Know About Love for the BBC. Described as “a generous, funny, warm-hearted and uplifting Sex & the City for Millennials, it’s the story of two young women Maggie and Birdy, who move to London and have to navigate relationships, flat-shares, heartache and friendship. Emma Appleton and Bel Powley lead the cast, and filming was completed in December 2021.
This one needs to be on your radar: Giri/Haji creator Joe Barton has written an eight-part action thriller starring I May Destroy You and Gangs of London‘s Paapa Essiedu. It’s the story of a man recruited into an organisation formed to stop global catastrophes, who ends up reliving the same day again and again. Strike‘s Tom Burke, The Bodyguard‘s Anjli Mohindra and Jonathan Creek‘s Caroline Quentin co-star.
Four Lives (January)
Previously titled The Barking Murders, Four Lives is a three-part BBC drama based on real-life killer Stephen Port, and the aftermath of the four murders he committed. Port raped and murdered four men between 2014 and 2015, using Grindr to attract his victims. Jeff Pope, who previously penned The Moorside and Little Boy Blue, is the writer, with Neil McKay directing. Sheridan Smith and Jamie Winstone will star alongside Stephen Merchant as Port. The drama was postponed due to the ongoing criminal case, but has been confirmed to start on BBC One on Monday the 3rd of January 2022.
Ginger Snaps (tbc)
It’s over 20 years since the release of Ginger Snaps, the first in a trilogy of now-cult horror films, and, according to Sid Gentle Films, high time for a live-action TV adaptation. The darkly comic feminist werewolf movie will be adapted for a TV co-production by Anna Ssemuyaba, who has previous written for Sky’s Guerilla, Channel 4’s Adult Material and ITV’s Unsaid Stories, and from by the co-producers of Killing Eve and Orphan Black. Casting and more are still to be announced.
Half Bad (tbc)
Based on Sally Green’s celebrated book trilogy of the same name, Half Bad will be an eight-part one-hour Netflix fantasy drama. It’s about a 16-year-old boy who has spent his life surveilled for signs that he may follow in the footsteps of his father – the world’s most feared witch. Giri/Haji creator Joe Barton is writing the series, with Andy Serkis among the producers. We. Can’t. Wait.
Hard Cell (tbc)
Comedian-actor-writer Catherine Tate will is revisiting her sketch show days with a new Netflix mockumentary set in a women’s prison. Tate will write, direct and play multiple characters in the satirical comedy series about HMP Woldsley. Inside No. 9‘s Donna Preston, Poldark‘s Christian Brassington and Holby City‘s Lorna Brown co-star.
Coming to Netflix is this eight-part half-hour live-action adaptation of Alice Oseman’s beautiful graphic novel about Nick and Charlie, two grammar school boys who fall in love after they’re made to sit together in class one day. Kit Connor and Joe Locke will play the leads in a story that touches on LGBTQ+ lives, mental illness and much more. Oseman has adapted the book for screen.
Hotel Portofino (January)
Arriving on Britbox on January 27th is six-part period drama Hotel Portofino, which follows the travails of a British family who open a hotel on the Italian Riviera in the 1920s. Natashca McElhone, Anna Chancellor, Pasquale Esposito and Mark Umbers star in a story about money, class, politics and family reputation. The series will also air on ITV in 2023.
Inside Man (tbc)
The latest BBC One drama from former Doctor Who and Sherlock showrunner Steven Moffat is a four-part crime thriller entitled Inside Man. The twisting story is about a death row inmate in the US and a woman who’s trapped in a cellar under an English vicarage, whose lives interlink “in the most unexpected way”. The cast (pictured above) looks excellent and includes plenty of Moffat’s past collaborators in David Tennant, Dracula‘s Dolly Wells and Lydia West, and Mr Stanley Tucci.
Production details are currently thin on the ground for Kaos, which was announced some time ago, then went away, and is now being teased again by Netflix. What we do know is that it’s been created by The End of the F***ing World (pictured, above) writer Charlie Covell, and will be an eight-part “darkly funny, contemporary spin on the Greek myths”. One to keep an eye out for.
Karen Pirie (tbc)
A new detective is on her way to ITV in the form of Karen Pirie, the creation of novelist Val McDermid who’s also the literary source of ITV’s popular Wire in the Blood forensic pathology series. The new crime drama comes adapted from the first in McDermid’s five-book series The Distant Echo by Harlots and Save Me Too’s Emer Kenny. It’s about a young Scottish detective played by Vigil‘s Lauren Lyle, who is tasked with reopening cold cases. The first involves the 25-year-old death of a teenager whose unsolved murder has become the subject of a true crime podcast. It’s being made by Bodyguard and Line of Duty‘s World Productions.
Life After Life (tbc)
Kate Atkinson’s 2013 novel Life After Life is a masterpiece of imaginative fiction, so it’s no surprise that BBC One is currently preparing a TV adaptation. It’s the story of Ursula, a woman with the extraordinary power to keep being continually reborn into new and alternative versions of her life after she dies. Seemingly insignificant changes to people and circumstances set her on new courses every time – can she alter the course of history? Playwright Bash Doran (Traitors) has adapted the novel and filming began in April 2021 with a cast including Sian Clifford, James McArdle and lead Thomasin McKenzie (Jojo Rabbit, Last Night in Soho).
Lockwood & Co (tbc)
Attack the Block’s Joe Cornish is writing and directing this Netflix adaptation of Jonathan Stroud’s supernatural adventure series about a ghost-hunting detective agency run by two teenage boys and a psychic girl. It’s set in London and was only announced in December 2020, so don’t expect to see it arrive on the streaming service for a little while yet.
Magpie Murders (February)
One of a slate of original drama commissions for UK streamer Britbox, Anthony Horowitz will adapt for screen his own murder mystery novel Magpie Murders, the first of his Susan Ryeland series. Lesley Manville will play literary editor Ryeland (Manville), with Spall playing her client’s fictional 1950s detective Atticus Pünd. A dream cast for this six-part thriller. Premieres Feb 10th.
Another Britbox commission that shows the UK streamer is serious about making a splash in quality original drama, Marlow will be an eight-part thriller from Southcliffe and Red Riding’s Tony Grisoni, starring The Crown’s Claire Foy. It’s a modern-day crime fable based around two warring families “amid the unsettling and indelible landscape of the Thames Estuary,” or as Foy’s revenge-seeking character Evie Wyatt calls it, the Edgelands.
From Stefan Golaszewski, the creator of excellent comedy-drama Mum and comedy Him & Her, comes four-part BBC One drama Marriage. Nicola Walker (pictured) and Sean Bean will play a couple in a series that’s billed to examine “in intimate detail the fears, frustrations and salvation of marriage and the comfort that can only be found in togetherness.”
Nicôle Lecky’s one-woman Royal Court stage show Superhoe, renamed Mood for TV, is getting the Fleabag treatment and being turned into a six-part BBC Three series. It’s the musical story of a would-be singer and rapper thrown out of home who moves in with a young woman who inducts her into the life of social media influencing and sex work.
My Name is Leon (tbc)
Filming began in March 2021 on a feature-length adaptation of Kit de Waal’s novel My Name is Leon, the 1980s-set story of a nine-year-old biracial boy forced to cope with his mother’s breakdown. Writer-director Shola Amoo is adapting the screenplay, with Kibwe Tavares directing, and Malachi Kirby and Monica Dolan among the cast.
Before he returns to the showrunner position in Doctor Who, Russell T. Davies is bringing three-part drama Nolly to ITV. It’s the real-life story of actor Noele Gordon’s unceremonious sacking from long-running drama Crossroads in 1981. Gordon was famous for playing widow Meg Richardson in the soap for 18 years, and will be played by Helena Bonham-Carter in this dramatisation.
No Return (tbc)
Filming began in summer 2021 on ITV’s No Return, a Manchester-based four-part drama from Danny Brocklehurst (The Stranger, Shameless). It stars Sheridan Smith (pictured above) as the mother of a 16-year-old boy accused of a serious crime while on a family holiday in Turkey. Secrets unfurl as the family fights an alien legal system to free their son and get to the truth.
One Day (tbc)
It’s early days for this adaptation of David Nicholls’ best-selling novel, which visits its main characters Emma and Dexter on the 15th of July every year over the decades from university to marriage and beyond. A film adaptation starring Anne Hathaway and Jim Sturgess was released in 2011, to mixed reviews, so this Netflix series will be another chance to capture the romance, humour and heartbreak of the original novel. The cast is to be announced.
Ralph and Katie (tbc)
This six-part half hour is a spin-off from BBC One’s hit family drama The A Word, following the married lives of the titular characters, both of whom have Down’s Syndrome. The original series creator Peter Bowker is writing the show, which stars Leon Harrop and Sarah Gordy, alongside new and emerging disabled talent.
Red Rose (tbc)
A contemporary teen horror series is on its way to BBC Three and Netflix, written by Michael and Paul Clarkson (The Haunting Of Hill House, pictured). Red Rose will be an eight-part series about the relationship between teenagers and their online lives. It’s the story of Rochelle, a Bolton teen who downloads a mysterious app that sets in motion a series of terrifying events. Ultimately, say the Clarksons, “it’s the story of friendship told through the prism of a classic horror-thriller.” Filming took place in Bolton in September 2021.
From Empire to Succession, the complicated family lives of the super-wealthy are a continued source of fascination on screen. ITV has ordered drama Riches from writer Abby Ajayi to mine that seam. The six-part drama revolves around successful businessman Stephen Richards, a specialist in cosmetics for black women, who’s on a winning streak until a dramatic event forces his grown-up children from two marriages to gather together and decide what happens next. Deborah Ayorinde and Hugh Quarshie will star.
Sherlock and Fleabag’s Andrew Scott will play Tom Ripley in a new TV adaptation of the Patricia Highsmith five-strong novel series for Showtime and Sky Atlantic. The first season will restage events as depicted in Anthony Minghella’s The Talented Mr Ripley, when a young grifter in 1960s New York is hired by a wealthy man to convince his wayward, hedonist son – played by Emma and Beast’s Johnny Flynn – to return home from Italy. Steven Zaillian (The Night Of, Schindler’s List) writes and directs, and filming took place in Italy in October 2021.
Rules of the Game (tbc)
This four-part BBC thriller is themed around sexual politics in thew workplace and stars Maxine Peake (pictured) as the manager of a family run business who discovers a dead body in the office reception. So unfurls a story of historic misconduct told by a cast including Alison Steadman, Susan Wokoma and Rakhee Thakrar.
SAS: Rogue Heroes (tbc)
A major new drama is on its way to BBC One, from Steven Knight, creator of Peaky Blinders and Taboo. The six-part drama is based on Ben Macintyre’s SAS: Rogue Heroes book, which charts the creation of the famed Special Forces unit. Knight has written the adaptation, which will tell a tale “celebrating the glory, action and camaraderie at the heart of this story” while delving into the psychology of the officers and men who formed the SAS in WWII. With real-life events given Knight’s visionary treatment, this one promises to be a spectacle with real depth. Jack O’Connell and Alfie Allen are among the cast.
Inspired by his real-life experience as a civilian prison worker, writer Rob Williams (Killing Eve) is bringing a six-part prison drama to Channel 4. Screw promises to show “the uncensored, terrifying and often darkly funny reality of life as a prison officer in an all-male prison in 21st century Britain.” The story focuses on veteran officer Leigh, who’s trying to keep her past buried, and mouthy new recruit Rose. The cast includes Nina Sosanya, Jamie-Lee O’Donnell and Stephen Wight, and it starts on Thursday the 6th of January 2022 at 9pm.
A six-part crime drama is coming to BBC One from acclaimed playwright James Graham, the writer behind Quiz and Brexit: The Uncivil War. Set in post-industrial Nottinghamshire, where the drama was filmed, Sherwood is fictional but inspired in part by real events and tells the story of two murders that lead to one of the largest manhunts in British history. Two police officers have to set aside their differences to find the killer, against a socio-political backdrop of community divisions riven during the 1980s Miners’ Strikes. Lesley Manville, David Morrissey and Joanne Froggatt star.
Announced in late 2021, this one’s early in development so expect a little wait before it reaches screens. It’s coming to Britbox and inspired by Miranda Kaufmann’s award-winning historical book Black Tudors. It will be written by novelist and screenwriter Catherine Johnson and tell the story of Black characters living in England in the 17th century. Set in the 1600s, it will combine factual and fictional characters and tell the story of a Tudor England rarely seen in other period dramas.
Announced in November 2021 is a six-part superhero series coming to Netflix from multi-hypenate creative Rapman, the writer-director of 2019 feature Blue Story and the 2018 Shiro’s Story shorts. Not much is yet known about Supacell, a fantasy drama telling the story of a random group of Black people from South London who unexpectedly develop superpowers. We’ll bring you casting and more as it’s announced.
From Kirstie Swain, the screenwriter of Channel 4’s Pure comes a new eight-part series adapted from C.J. Skuse’s 2017 novel of the same name. It’s the story of a young woman who seems unremarkable on the surface and works as an editorial assistant in a British seaside town. Unfulfilled by her job, she turns to darker pursuits outside of work, because who would ever suspect her? The comedy-drama is coming to Sky Atlantic and no casting has yet been announced. Read our interview with Kirstie Swain about Pure, mental illness in TV drama and more.
The Baby (tbc)
The Baby is a darkly comic horror on its way to Sky Atlantic. The eight-episode first season was co-created by screenwriter Siân Robins-Grace (Kaos, Sex Education) and Gangs of London production manager Lucy Gaymer. It’s being billed as a provocative, dark and funny story about a woman in her late thirties who’s unexpectedly landed with a baby that takes over her world. The cast includes The Duchess‘ Michelle de Swarte (pictured), who’ll star alongside Amira Ghazalla and Amber Grappy.
The Birth of Daniel F Harris (tbc)
With a similar premise to Sky One’s Two Weeks to Live, but a psychological drama instead of a knockabout comedy, this Channel 4 drama by Urban Myths‘ (pictured above) Pete Jackson is the story of a young man raised in isolation from society after his mother’s death, by a father who told him the outside world is filled with monsters. When the boy turns eighteen, he enters the world to find the person responsible for his mother’s death. Read more about it here.
The Confessions of Frannie Langton (tbc)
Adapted by Sara Collins from her own Costa Prize-winning novel of the same name, The Confessions of Frannie Langton is a four part murder mystery set in Georgian London. It follows the title character, born on a Jamaican slave plantation and transported as a ‘gift’ by the man who enslaved her to the home of a wealthy London couple who meet a grim fate. Was Frannie really responsible? Or is she being used? Karla-Simone Spence and Sophie Cookson (both pictured) will star alongside Patrick Martins.
The Control Room (tbc)
Filming on this BBC One thriller from the producers of Sherlock began in August 2021. Starring Agents of SHIELD‘s Iain de Caestecker in the lead role, it’s the story of an emergency call handler for the Scottish Ambulance Service, who receives a call one night that forces him to make a devastating decision that will have wide-reaching reverberations. Joanna Vanderham co-stars.
The Curse (tbc)
The minds behind two great, inventive comedies of recent years – People Just Do Nothing and Murder in Successville – have come together for new Channel 4 sitcom The Curse. A comedy caper set in early 80s London, the series follows a gang of small time crooks who unexpectedly found themselves part of one of the biggest gold heists in history, inspired in part by a true story. Allan Mustafa, Steve Stamp, Hugo Chegwin, Emer Kenny and Tom Davis star. Filming on the six-part comedy began in late summer 2021.
The Devil’s Hour (tbc)
Peter Capaldi and Jessica Raine lead the cast of a new six-part “mind-bending” Amazon Prime Video thriller from writer Tom Moran, produced by Steven Moffat. It’s the story of Lucy (Raine) who suffers from terrifying visions every night at precisely the same time (the titular devil’s hour), and who becomes entangled with a series of brutal murders. Capaldi, pictured above, plays “a reclusive nomad driven by a murderous obsession”, which all sounds like fun.
The Elephant Man (tbc)
The story of Victorian Joseph Merrick was memorably brought to the screen by David Lynch in 1980, and has since been retold on stage (notably starring Bradley Cooper in the lead role). This two-part BBC drama stars Stranger Things’ Charlie Heaton (pictured) and is written by Moorside’s Neil McKay. The biopic will tell the story of Merrick’s life from the start to the end and promises to “explore the man behind the myth”. Filming was due to take place in Wales in late 2018, but there’s been no news about this one since so it’s a bit of a question mark.
The Following Events are Based on a Pack of Lies (tbc)
In this original six-part BBC One thriller, screenwriters Penelope and Ginny Skinner (pictured above) tell the story of two very different women, both of whom are being conned by the same man. Alice and Caroline have Rob in common, a celebrated ecopreneur who may well be trying to destroy them both. Inspired to fight against society’s glorification of the predator, The Following Events are Based on a Pack of Lies was commissioned in August 2020, so it’ll be a little while before we see it.
The Fuck-It Bucket (tbc)
Coming to Netflix, this is the eight-part story of a 17-year-old released from a long stint in hospital who feels as though life has passed her by. The years Mia spent being treated for anorexia had cost her a childhood, so she decides the way to catch up is to tick items off a bucket list. It’s written by newcomer Ripley Parker, the daughter of actor Thandiwe Newton and director Ol Parker. Casting is still to be announced.
The Gallows Pole (tbc)
You’re going to want to look out for this one. Director Shane Meadows (This is England, The Virtues), whose TV work usually airs on Channel 4, is making his BBC drama debut with an adaptation of Benjamin Myers’ acclaimed novel The Gallows Pole. It’s a true historical story about Yorkshire legend David Hartley and the Cragg Vale Coiners, who became the biggest fraudsters in British history. Meadows describes himself as buzzing about making his first period drama, produced by Element Pictures. The cast led by Michael Socha, with George McKay, Thomas Turgoose and Tom Burke, promises a real roster of the best young British talent.
The Last Days of Marilyn Monroe (tbc)
Power, love, loyalty and politics all come to play in Dan Sefton’s (Trust Me) BBC adaptation of Keith Badman’s 2010 book The Final Years Of Marilyn Monroe. Narrowing the time-frame (as the working title suggests) Sefton’s drama will take in the final six months of Monroe’s life until her death in 1962 at the age of 36. We first heard about this one back in April 2019, but since then there’s been no news about casting or filming.
The Light In The Hall / Y Golau (tbc)
Written by Murdered By My Boyfriend‘s Regina Moriarty, this six-part psychological thriller coming to 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 that will be filmed and broadcast in both Welsh and English. The cast looks great, with Utopia‘s Alexandra Roach, Misfits and Game of Thrones‘ Iwan Rheon and The Thick of It and No Offence‘s Joanna Scanlan.
The Midwich Cuckoos (tbc)
John Wyndham’s classic 1957 sci-fi is getting a modern TV adaptation courtesy of The Night Manager and Hanna writer David Farr. The eight part series updates the novel to the present day and set the action in a commuter town south of London, where the local women all mysteriously fall pregnant at the same time and give birth to a cohort of very unusual children. The most famous adaptation to date was 1965 cult favourite Village of the Damned (pictured above). Keeley Hawes and Max Beesley will star.
The Red Zone (tbc)
Sports writers Barney Ronay and Jonathan Liew are behind this six-part half-hour comedy “about football, but also not about football,” which was announced by Netflix in late 2020. Director Sam Mendes is executive producing through his Neal Street Productions company. No casting or further details have yet been confirmed for this one.
The Responder (January)
Filming begain in May 2021 on this five-part BBC Two series from new screenwriter and former police officer Tony Schumacher, who’s been mentored by Jimmy McGovern as part of a BBC Writers Room initiative. The Responder will star The Hobbit and Sherlock‘s Martin Freeman as officer Chris, who works a series of night shifts in Liverpool, alongside his rookie new partner Rachel (Adelayo Adedayo). The series is described as funny, tragic, and showing the realities of policing in Britain.
The Rig (tbc)
In November 2020, Amazon Prime Video green-lit this six-episode supernatural thriller from Line of Duty and Bodyguard director John Strickland, written by David Macpherson. Filmed in Scotland, it’s set onboard the Kishorn Bravo oil rig in the North Sea. The crew finds itself marooned on the rig by a mysterious fog that cuts off communication with the outside world. Line of Duty‘s Martin Compston, Owen Teale and Rochenda Sandall will star, alongside Iain Glen, Mark Bonnar and more (see above.)
The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle (tbc)
Now this sounds like a bit of alright. Adapted from Stuart Turton’s novel of the same name, it’s a seven-part murder mystery coming to Netflix. The story’s a high-concept thriller about a woman trying to solve a murder who keeps waking up in somebody else’s body every time she gets close to the answer. Sophie Petzal (The Last Kingdom, Blood) is adapting it, and the announcement only arrived in late 2020, so don’t expect it for a little while yet. Casting is tba.
The Three (tbc)
Another BBC drama commission based on a book series, The Three, “an international thriller with a supernatural twist”, was announced in late 2017 but there’s been no news since then. The premise of Sarah Lotz’ trilogy sees four planes crash on the same day in four different countries, leaving three children as the miraculous survivors… Wolf Hall’s Peter Straughan was attached as adapting this eight-part drama but as yet, it’s still to appear on his IMDb credits. We’ll keep you posted if more arrives.
The Tourist (January)
Producer-writers Harry and Jack Williams (Fleabag, Baptiste, The Missing, Liar) are back with a six-part BBC-HBO Max drama set and filmed in South Australia. The Tourist is an outback noir about a British man pursued through the Australian outback by a tank truck. When the man awakens in a hospital with no memory of who he is or how he got there, his search for answers takes him to some unsettling places. Chris Sweeney (Back to Life) directs, with The Fall‘s Jamie Dornan leading the cast. It starts on BBC One on January 1st 2022 at 9pm.
The Undeclared War (tbc)
Channel 4 has teamed up with Peacock to commission this six-part cyber thriller written by Wolf Hall’s Peter Kosminsky. It’s set in 2024, as a team of GCHQ cyber specialists secretly work to fend off a cyber attack on the UK electoral system. There’s an impressive cast, from Mark Rylance (pictured above in Bridge of Spies), to Adrian Lester, Alex Jennings, Simon Pegg, Maisie Richardson-Sellers and newcomer Hannah Khalique-Brown. The commission was announced in April 2021.
Then Barbara Met Alan (tbc)
This new drama from the brilliant Jack Thorne and Genevieve Barr tells the real-life story of disability campaigners Barbara Lisicki and Alan Holdsworth, who met as cabaret performers and went on to promote the Direct Action Network who protested and campaigned for disabled rights. Ruth Madeley and Arthur Hughes (pictured) lead the cast.
Then You Run (tbc)
Then You Run (previously known as You) will be an eight-part thriller coming to Sky. Filming started in June 2021 in the UK and Morocco on this adaptation of the Zoran Drvenkar novel, which tells the story of Tara O’Rourke, a young woman on the run across Europe after committing a deadly crime. She’s pursued by a dangerous gangster and a serial killer known only as ‘The Traveller’. The Capture writer-director Ben Chanan has written the adaptation.
This Is Going To Hurt (tbc)
Everybody should read Adam Kay’s excruciating but brilliant and moving memoir of his time as a junior doctor, then they should immediately buy a copy for a friend. If the BBC Two adaptation, written by Kay (he left medicine for comedy writing years ago), is even half as good as the book, it will be a must-see. Ben Whishaw stars.
Tom Jones (tbc)
Praise for 2018’s Vanity Fair adaptation, scheduled opposite Bodyguard in 2018, was drowned out somewhat by the hit political thriller, but there was plenty of it, and deservingly so. Good news then, that ITV has brought screenwriter Gwyneth Hughes back to tackle another classic novel – Henry Fielding’s 1749 book Tom Jones. Filming started in November 2021 in Northern Ireland, with a cast including Ted Lasso‘s Hannah Waddingham alongside leads Solly McLeod and Sophie Wilde (pictured above).
Trigger Point (tbc)
Line of Duty‘s Vicky McClure plays bomb disposal expert Lana Washington in this new ITV thriller from the Jed Mercurio stable. Written by Daniel Brierley and executive produced by Mercurio, it’s the story of a front-line bomb disposal pro whose squad is pushed to the limits tackling a terrorist threat to London. Six episodes are on their way, and likely to air in early 2022.
This BBC series, described as “Big Little Lies meets Girlfriends meets Peckham” is adapted from Nikki May’s as-yet-unpublished novel of the same name. It’s about Simi, Ronke and Boo, three 30-something Anglo-Nigerian women living in London whose friendship is shaken by the arrival of the beautiful, charismatic Isobel, with tragic consequences.
We Are Not Alone (tbc)
Laurence Rickard and Ben Willbond of Ghosts and Horrible Histories fame have written a two hour sci-fi comedy special that’s coming to Dave in 2022. It’s set in a post alien-invasion world and “explores the culture clash between humankind and its new alien masters, who are trying to make sense of a confusing planet,” according to the official announcement. The cast, featuring Taskmaster favourite Mike Wozniak, the brilliant Ellie White and Vicki Pepperdine, Rob Delaney and loads of great names, is pictured above.
White Stork (tbc)
Formerly known as Spadehead, White Stork is a 10-episode political drama coming to Netflix courtesy of Eleven, the British production compnay behind Sex Education. Tom Hiddleston (The Avengers, The Night Manager – pictured above) stars as James Cooper, whose secret past is unearthed when he’s vetted in preparation for a parliamentary election. It was creted by Jericho and Meadowlands‘ Christopher Dunlop, with Taboo‘s Kristoffer Nyholm directing.
On its way to BBC Two from the writer-directors of the excellent This Time With Alan Partridge is historical comedy The Witchfinder. Set in 1647, it’s the story of a failing witchfinder played by Tim Key (stand-up, poet, actor, Side Kick Simon from loads of Alan Partridge shows and most importantly, Taskmaster task consultant), on a horseback road-trip through East Anglia with his latest captee, played by Daisy May Cooper (writer-creator of This Country, the brilliant Kerry Mucklowe on screen and people’s champion of Taskmaster series 10). Six half-hour episodes will air on BBC Two.
Why Didn’t They Ask Evans? (tbc)
Hugh Laurie (pictured above in BBC political drama Roadkill) has adapted Agatha Christie’s 1934 novel as a Britbox original. It’s the story of a vicar’s son and socialite duo played by Will Poulter and Lucy Boynton, who become amateur detectives and set out to solve a crime when they discover a dying man asking the titular question. Production began in June 2021, with a very fine British comedy cast.
Catch up on the new British TV shows that aired in 2021 here.