The BBC is home to some of the best drama on television right now, but as they prepare for one of their biggest seasons yet have a look at our quick guide for what you should keep an eye out for.
The BBC is doing the most.
It has slowly established itself as the one to beat for original drama programming; a successful mixture of high-quality new writing, big budget adaptations, and most importantly, incredible casts. It’s two main broadcast channels, BBC1 and 2, have given us the likes of Sherlock, Peaky Blinders, and Happy Valley in just the last few years. But if you’ve managed to catch BBC’s new drama promo you’ll see that they’ve pulled out all the stops this year.
Previous drama successes such as Doctor Foster, Top of the Lake, and everyone’s favourite Brummies will be returning to screens – but still the list goes on…and on (currently standing at more than 20 productions!) Here’s a look at just some of the upcoming highlights:
Our favourite all-rounder James Norton (one-time sociopath, friendly Vicar, and a quick stop as a Russian Prince) is leading McMafia. This eight-part series about a young, burgeoning businessman who can’t escape his family’s criminal past, has the potential to be a quality thriller, particularly as its the brainchild of James Watkins (The Woman in Black) and Hossein Amini (Drive), inspired by Misha Glenny’s best-selling novel.
If you prefer your novel adaptations gothic, atmospheric and set in 17th century Amsterdam, try The Miniaturists. A young bride discovers her new family are not all they’re cracked up to be in this three-parter packed with fresh young talent including Anya Taylor-Joy, Alex Hassell, Paapa Essiedu, and Hayley Squires.
Not the only historical drama on offer this year, it’s more a case of picking your period. From ancient Greece and the ‘face that launched a thousand ships’ in Troy: Fall of a City, to a dramatisation of one of the most infamous political assassination attempts in history in Gunpowder. Both productions boast all star casts; from the likes of David Threlfall, Frances O’Connor and Joseph Mawle taking on the epic myth; and Kit Harrington, Liv Tyler, and Mark Gatiss charting the rise and fall of Robert Catesby’s doomed treason plot.
If you’re after something more contemporary, try one-off drama The Child in Time. Benedict Cumberbatch, one of the BBC’s reigning princes, plays a children’s author struggling with the loss of his missing daughter. Another adaptation, this time an award-winning Ian McEwan novel, exploring grief, acceptance, and relationships.
Looking for something more fast-paced, then try Hard Sun, starring Jim Sturgess and Agyness Deyn. Written by Neil Cross, the man that gave us Luther, this six-part crime drama set in a crumbling London, is billed as a ‘pre-apocalyptic drama’ – makes a nice change from post-apocalyptic.
And finally there’s Rellick, a major new six-part crime thriller which tells the story of a serial killer in reverse. Rellik (killer spelled backwards) delves into the psychology of both detective and criminal, turning a chronological structure on its head to explore the decisions and actions that lead to traumatic events.
And this is just the beginning. Get the Sky+ planner cleared and iPlayer on standby – there goes our summers!
Words: Gurnesha Bola