Sunday 25 March 2018

The ten most anticipated TV series that you won't want to leave the couch for

Michelle Keegan in
Michelle Keegan in "Our Girl". Photo: BBC One
One Of Us - A gripping four-part thriller for BBC One. Photo: BBC One
Aidan Turner in Poldark. Photo: BBC One
Claire Foy as Queen Elizabeth II in The Crown. Photo: Netflix
Tutankhamun. Photo: ITV
Victoria. Photo: ITV
No offence. Photo: Channel 4
ITV drama Dark Angel stars Joanne Froggatt. Photo: ITV
Joanna Lumley’s Trans-Siberian Adventure. Photo: ITV

It's still August, but for the most part, it feels like summer could already be over. It's not all doom and gloom though, as there's a host of TV treats in store this autumn. Susan Griffin picks out the best

One of Us, BBC One

There's a lot to look forward to in One Of Us: a script by brothers Harry and Jack Williams, who wrote The Missing; an ensemble cast including Juliet Stevenson, John Lynch and Joe Dempsie; and the beautiful yet brooding Highlands as a backdrop. Over four episodes, we see how a double murder affects the lives of two families living close together in an isolated corner of Scotland. Expect plenty of twists and turns in this suspenseful thriller.

Poldark, BBC One

Whether Aidan Turner's (Ross Poldark) bare chest will make an appearance in the second series of BBC One hit drama Poldark is yet to be seen. But what we do know is there'll be plenty of drama as he traverses new family, new loves and new battles, against the stunning Cornish clifftops and countryside. Lookout for a 'charged encounter' between Ross and his ex, Elizabeth (Heida Reed), too, which has reportedly been tamed down from Winston Graham's fourth Poldark book, Warleggan.

The Crown, Netflix

It's been quite a year for Queen Elizabeth with all her 90th birthday celebrations. Even she quipped she hoped people wouldn't still be singing Happy Birthday in December. Netflix will be honouring the monarch this November with the premiere of the 10-part drama The Crown (rumoured to have cost 100 million US dollars) starring Wolf Hall's Claire Foy as Her Majesty and Matt Smith as Prince Phillip. Peter Morgan, the man behind The Audience, has written the screenplay, which goes behind the locked doors of Westminster and Buckingham Palace, as the young newly-wed faces the daunting prospect of becoming queen when the political world is in disarray.

Tutankhamun, ITV

ITV's new four-part mini-series Tutankhamun is set to be a hot and sweaty historical saga. Max Irons (son of Jeremy) is sporting spiffing facial hair to play the talented and innovative archaeologist Howard Carter. Having been stripped of his licence to dig and shunned by his peers, he gets a lucky break when the eccentric and wealthy Lord Carnarvon, wittily played by Sam Neill, enlists his help. Be prepared for stunning shots of Egypt's Valley Of The Kings, a bit of romance for good measure and an intimate take on one of the greatest true stories of all time.

No Offence, Channel 4

Following its successful first series, No Offence, Paul Abbott's police drama with clout, is back for a second run and this time it sees Joanna Scanlan's plain-speaking DI Viv Deering take on Nora Attah, the matriarch of Manchester's most feared crime family. "With the limited resources at her disposal, in a community shredded by gang crime, Viv's mantra for her staff is: The least you can do for me is your very best. And they will," says Abbott, who will no doubt inject his trademark warmth into the seven new episodes - however grim it gets.

Victoria, ITV

In her first major role since leaving Doctor Who, Jenna Coleman portrays the young Queen Victoria in a lavish eight-part production. It follows the teenager's ascension to the throne, her intimate friendship with her first Prime Minister, Lord Melbourne, portrayed by Rufus Sewell, which enthralled the gossip-mongers, and her marriage to first cousin Prince Albert, played by Tom Hughes. The beautiful promo shots suggest this ravishing period drama shouldn't disappoint.

Westworld, Sky Atlantic

Two distinct genres combine in Westworld, an intriguing and ambitious new 10-part series that's half western, half science fiction. Set in a futuristic theme park staffed by artificial beings, guests are told they can live out their wildest fantasies, and be whoever they want to be. That's all fine until the robots begin to run amok and guests find themselves in a whole lot of jeopardy. Executive produced by J.J. Abrams and Jonathan Nolan, it stars the likes of Anthony Hopkins, Ed Harris and Thandie Newton.

Dark Angel, ITV

Golden Globe winner Joanne Froggatt leaves Downton Abbey's Anna Bates far behind as the lead in a new ITV thriller based on the first recorded female serial killer. She plays Mary Ann Cotton, a young woman who will go to great, and grim, lengths to ensure her rise through the social ranks of Victorian society. Boasting bigamy, adultery, fraud and murder, this true tale's got it all, as Mary Ann travels around the North East (cue striking and stark vistas) and charms her way into unsuspecting families. The question is, does she get her comeuppance?

Our Girl, BBC One

Michelle Keegan popped up as party girl in BBC One's Ordinary Lies and a nymphomaniac in ITV2's Plebs, but military drama Our Girl will mark her first leading role since her departure from Coronation Street. EastEnder's Lacey Turner was the central character in the previous series, but this time the focus is on Keegan's new female medic Corporal Georgie Lane, who's been posted in Kenya. Looking to earn the trust of her fellow soldiers, and the respect of her commanding officer, she sets to work in the world's biggest refugee camp.

Joanna Lumley, ITV

Following her recent escapades along the Trans-Siberian railway, the ever charismatic Joanna Lumley is set to take viewers on new adventures, this time in Japan. In the three-part documentary, the Ab Fab actress travels 2,000 miles by boat, train, plane and by foot, from the icy Siberian seas of the north to the subtropical islands of the south, as she explores some of the uncharted corners of the country's enchanting islands. "Isn't it odd," Lumley's remarked, "we feel we are so familiar with Japan, and yet when we travelled around that spectacular country, I couldn't even guess at the unknown wonders that were in store for us."

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