The pandemic may have caused TV schedulers to reach for repeats, but with the autumn just around the corner a lot of the broadcasters have held back dramas comedies and documentaries that were initially meant to be shown in April May and beyond to make sure the autumn feels as packed as we’re used to.
Adult Material (Channel 4)
Four-part drama centring around an experienced porn actress welcoming an up-and-comer into her world. Hayley Squires is to play lead character Jolene Dollar. She is joined by Siena Kelly, Kerry Godliman, Joe Dempsie, Julian Ovenden, Phil Daniels and Rupert Everett
Bloodlands (BBC One)
Eight-part drama starring James Nesbitt. When a car containing a possible suicide note is pulled out of Strangford Lough, Northern Irish police detective Tom Brannick (James Nesbitt) quickly connects it to an infamous cold case with enormous personal significance. Bloodlands follows his dogged hunt for a legendary assassin, an explosive cat-and-mouse game where the stakes have never been higher.
The Comey Rule (Sky Atlantic)
Two-part series stars Jeff Daniels as FBI Head James Comey with Emmy winner Brendan Gleeson as President Donald Trump. Based on the New York Times bestselling book A Higher Loyalty and takes takes a deep-dive into the historically turbulent events surrounding the 2016 presidential election and its aftermath, which divided a nation. Rather than delivering a straight biopic, The Comey Rule‘s trailer give a tense and anxiety-ridden taste of a story about two powerful figures whose different personalities, ethics and loyalties put them on a collision course.
David Tennant stars in this three-part true-life crime drama about notorious serial killer Dennis Nilsen. Nilsen was a local civil servant who spent five years murdering boys and young men from 1978 to 1983. Each episode looks at things from a different perspective. Tennant as Neilsen, Detective Peter Jay (Daniel Mays) and biographer Brian Masters (Jason Watkins).
Fargo (FX/Channel 4)
The fourth season is set in 1950 in Kansas City and the story follows two crime syndicates as they vie for control. The cast is led by Chris Rock, who plays Loy Cannon, the head of a crime syndicate made up of black migrants fleeing the Jim Crow South who have a contentious relationship with the Kansas City mafia. Other cast members include Jessie Buckley, Jack Huston, Jason Schwartzman, Ben Whishaw, and Timothy Olyphant.
Ghosts (BBC One)
Second series of the comedy written by and starring the team behind Horrible Histories and Yonderland about a group of ghosts whose lives are disturbed when a young couple plan to turn their haunted house into a trendy hotel.
The Great British Bake-off Channel 4)
Producers of the baking show had to quarantine more than 120 people, including the hosts, judges and contestants, in order to film in a six-week window. It is the first series with comic Matt Lucas at the helm alongside Noel Fielding. Paul Hollywood and Prue Leith return to pore over the amateurs’ efforts.
His Dark Materials (BBC One)
Second series of the fantasy series based on the novel of the same name by Philip Pullman. An all-star cast returns, including Ruth Wilson, James McAvoy and his ex-wife Anne-Marie Duff.
Keeley Hawes stars in this two-part true-crime drama. Hawes portrays DCI Caroline Goode, who brought five killers to justice after Banaz Mahmod, was murdered.
LIFE (BBC One)
Six-part drama series from Doctor Foster creator Mike Bartlett. Set in Manchester, the series brings together four separate, deeply human and surprising strands to tell a larger story about what happens when we decide to step out of our own personal space and take a closer look into other people’s lives. An epic saga that will unfold in a large divided house. The cast includes Alison Steadman, Peter Davison, Victoria Hamilton, Rachael Stirling, Adrian Lester, Saira Choudhry and Susannah Fielding.
Little Mix: The Search (BBC One)
Entertainment show that sees multi-award winning group (Perrie Edwards, Jesy Nelson, Jade Thirlwall and Leigh-Anne Pinnock) creating bands and becoming mentors to a new wave of talent. The singers who make it into new bands will live together and gain access to Little Mix’s inner circle who have contributed to their phenomenal success, including vocal coaches, songwriters and producers.
Ryan Murphy stirs up his uniquely devilish mix of horror and camp for this origin story about One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest’s sadistic Nurse Ratched. As played by Murphy muse Sarah Paulson, Ratched’s prim exterior belies an internal world of depravity. Decked in sublimely tailored 1940s silhouettes, she skulks through a California psychiatric hospital wreaking havoc and finding ever more creative ways to torture patients and colleagues alike. Beautiful sets, saturated cinematography, and bursts of squirm-worthy gore suggest Murphy in peak form
Roadkill (BBC One)
Political thriller. Hugh Laurie stars as (fictional) Conservative politician Peter Laurence. The four-part drama sees his public and private life falling apart – as the personal revelations spiral, he is shamelessly untroubled by guilt or remorse, expertly walking a high wire between glory and catastrophe as he seeks to further his own agenda while others plot to bring him down. Other Helen McCrory, Sarah Greene, Sidse Babett Knudsen co-star.
The Singapore Grip (ITV)
Adapted from Booker Prize winner J.G. Farrell’s novel by Oscar-winning screenwriter and playwright Christopher Hampton The Singapore Grip is an epic story set during World War Two, centring on a British family living in Singapore at the time of the Japanese invasion. The drama is set to star Luke Treadaway, David Morrissey, Jane Horrocks, Colm Meaney and Charles Dance.
The Sister (ITV)
Russel Tovey stars in this four-part drama from Luther creator Neil Cross. The series is adapted from his novel of the same name. The central character is well-meaning but directionless Nathan, who has a terrible secret he’s long prayed would stay buried and for which he’s long worked hard to make recompense. Bertie Carvel co-stars.
Small Axe (BBC One)
Six-part anthology of hour-long stories conceived and written by Steve McQueen with Alastair Siddons and Courttia Newland. Alex Wheatle is a writing consultant to the first told across two episodes, and are set within London’s West Indian community from the late 1960s to the early 80s. Newcomer Malachi Kirby, Shaun Parkes, Rochenda Sandall, Alex Jennings and Jack Lowden lead the cast.
The Third Day (Sky Atlantic)
Drama from Utopia’s Dennis Kelly and starring Jude Law. Set on an alluring and mysterious British island, this six-part visceral drama opens with ‘Summer’ directed by Marc Munden. Told over three episodes, will see Sam (Law) inexplicably drawn into the island’s ritualistic way of life. As the lines between fact and fantasy blur, Sam finds himself immersed in an emotional quest which puts him at odds with the islanders and begins to threaten their way of life. Naomie Harris stars in a further three episodes – ‘Winter’, directed by Philippa Lowthorpe – which concludes The Third Day. In her quest to seek the truth, Helen’s (Harris) arrival on the island finds her and her family caught between the island’s deeply entrenched, splintered forces, which precipitates a fractious battle to decide its fate.
The Undoing (Sky Atlantic)
Nicole Kidman and Hugh Grant star in this six-part HBO drama series based on the book You Should Have Known by Jean Hanff Korelitz, Grace Fraser (Kidman) is living the only life she ever wanted for herself. She’s a successful therapist, has a devoted husband and young son who attends an elite private school in New York City. Overnight a chasm opens in her life: a violent death, a missing husband, and, in the place of a man Grace thought she knew, only a chain of terrible revelations. Left behind in the wake of a spreading and very public disaster and horrified by the ways in which she has failed to heed her own advice, Grace must dismantle one life and create another for her child and herself.
Us (BBC One)
Four-part drama written by David Nicholls. It stars Tom Hollander. Tom’s character Douglas is blindsided when his wife says she wants to split. But the family — including his teenage son — decide they want to go on a grand tour of Europe regardless. Saskia Reeves, Sofie Gråbøl and Tom Taylor co-star.
Utopia (Amazon Prime Video)
US remake of the beloved Channel 4 series written by Gillian Flynn, who also serves as showrunner and executive producer. Utopia centres on a group of comic fans who meet online and bond over their obsession of a seemingly fictional comic called, “Utopia.” Together, Becky (Ashleigh LaThrop), Ian (Dan Byrd), Samantha (Jessica Rothe), Wilson Wilson (Desmin Borges) and Grant (Javon “Wanna” Walton) unearth hidden meanings cloaked within the pages of “Utopia,” predicting threats to humanity. They realise these are not just the makings of a conspiracy; they are very real dangers coming alive right now in their world. The group embarks on a high-stakes adventure, bringing them face-to-face with the comic’s famed central character, Jessica Hyde (Sasha Lane), who joins them on their mission to save the world while harbouring secrets of her own. The series also stars John Cusack as Dr. Kevin Christie, in his first series regular role for television. Rainn Wilson stars as Dr. Michael Stearns, Farrah Mackenzie as Alice, Christopher Denham as Arby, and Cory Michael Smith as Thomas Christie.
We Are Who We Are (BBC One)
Call Me By Your Name director Luca Guadagnino is back with another coming-of-age period piece involving American teens in Italy. It’s 2016, and Fraser (Jack Dylan Grazer) has arrived at an Army base where his lesbian mother (Chloë Sevigny) is taking command. There, he bonds with next-door neighbour Caitlin (Jordan Kristine Seamon), whose father Richard (Kid Cudi) does not approve of his new boss.