22 TV stars of tomorrow for 2022

Every New Year's Day, I like to put together a list of names who I believe will be huge on television in the twelve months ahead. A list made up of complete newcomers, internet stars ready for mainstream crossover, and familiar faces not yet known for their telly work, plus everyone else in between.


Last year’s list included the eventual winner of Best Breakthrough at the I Talk Telly Awards 2021, Rosie Jones. As I look ahead to this year's awards, I hope to include many of these names on the shortlist for Best Breakthrough towards the end of the year.



Adjani Salmon


Who is Adjani Salmon?


Actor, writer and director Adjani Salmon hails from Jamaica, before graduating from the Met Film School and creating his own production company.


In 2018, Adjani created an online comedy series Dreaming Whilst Black, which followed a young but naive British Jamaican filmmaker, Kwabena, as he struggles to navigate between his dreams and reality. In 2021 this was turned into a brilliant new BBC Three pilot of the same name which aired in April and was nominated for Best New Comedy at the I Talk Telly Awards.


What's next for Adjani?


Hopefully, the BBC will decide to commission a full series of Dreaming Whilst Black - seriously, what are they waiting for? - but before then, Adjani will star in the New Year's Day episode of Doctor Who alongside Aisling Bea.


Aisling plays Sarah who owns and runs ELF storage, and Adjani's character Nick is a customer who visits his unit every year on New Year’s Eve. This year, however, their night turns out to be a little different than planned as they find themselves joining forces with the Doctor, Dan and Yaz in a fight against the Daleks.


He'll also star in Sarah Solemani and Steve Coogan's new Channel 4 comedy-drama Chivalry, which explores the complex state of gender politics in the #MeToo era in the film and television industry.


Adjani will star alongside Sarah Solemani as her character Bobby Sohrabi's patient and generous husband Aston. Down on his luck from a failed start-up, Aston agrees to move to the tech-Mecca California with passionate indie-darling filmmaker Bobby, hopeful to reinvent his career while Bobby strikes while the iron’s hot in hers.


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Alison Oliver


Who is Alison Oliver?


Actor Alison Oliver, from Cork, graduated from Lir Academy (where Normal People's Paul Mescal also attended) in 2020 with a Bachelor in Acting and after a number of roles in theatre is set to make her TV debut in 2022 in BBC Three's highly-anticipated adaptation of Sally Rooney's Conversations with Friends.


What's next for Alison?


In 2020, Normal People turned its two leads Daisy Edgar-Jones and Paul Mescal into household names and as BBC Three prepares for their next adaptation of a Sally Rooney novel, Conversations with Friends, I predict the same will be true for Alison Oliver who plays lead Frances.


Frances is a 21-year-old college student who has to navigate a series of relationships that force her to confront her own vulnerabilities for the first time. Through ex-girlfriend, now best friend, Bobbi, she meets Melissa, an older writer, who is fascinated by the pair.


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Arthur Hughes


Who is Arthur Hughes?


To date, actor Arthur Hughes has starred in BBC Radio 4's long-running drama The Archers as Ruairi Donovan, played Ryan in hit Netflix drama The Innocents, and in 2021 starred opposite Jodie Comer and Stephen Graham as senior care assistant Tim in Channel 4's powerful single drama from Jack Thorne, Help.


He was born with radial dysplasia, a rare condition where babies are born with a short or missing radial bone which causes the hand and wrist to turn inward toward the thumb side of the forearm.


What's next for Arthur?


Reuniting with Jack Thorne, Arthur will star alongside Ruth Madeley in his latest single drama for BBC Two, Then Barbara Met Alan which tells the remarkable true story of the people behind an irrepressible campaign of direct action that lead to significant gains in the battle for disabled civil rights in Britain.


Written by Jack Thorne and Genevieve Barr and directed by Bruce Goodison and Amit Sharma, Then Barbara Met Alan is told through the eyes of Barbara Lisicki, played by Ruth Madeley, and Alan Holdsworth played by Arthur Hughes.


Barbara and Alan are two disabled cabaret performers who met at a gig in 1989 and would go on to become the driving force behind DAN - the Direct Action Network, whose fearless and coordinated protests pushed the campaign for disabled rights into the spotlight.


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Deborah Ayorinde


Who is Deborah Ayorinde?


Born in London, Deborah Ayorinde moved to California when she was 8 and as an actor has starred in a number of hit films including Girls Trip, Harriet, and Fatherhood. She has also appeared in a number of hit TV shows including; Luke Cage, The Affair, True Detective, and the second season of Truth Be Told on Apple TV+.


In 2021, she took on one of the lead roles in Amazon Prime Video's horror anthology Them, starring opposite Ashley Thomas as Lucky Emory.


What's next for Deborah?


2022 will see Deborah return to the UK to star in ITV's brand new drama Riches about the exploits of the super-successful and wealthy Richards family, written by Abby Ajayi. She'll play Nina, the estranged daughter of self-made millionaire Stephen Richards played by Hugh Quarshie.


Stephen is one of the UK’s most successful Black businessmen and after 20 years of success, he’s at the helm of a multi-million-pound cosmetics empire and is reaping the rewards of his ambitions.


When Stephen suffers a stroke, the family’s world comes crashing down. As his life hangs in the balance, his different sets of children are about to collide. With secrets and lies rising to the surface and the Richards empire at stake, it's going to be a complicated family reunion.


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Emma D'Arcy


Who is Emma D'Arcy?


Actor and theatre-maker Emma D’Arcy studied Fine Art at the Ruskin School of Art and as well as a string of stage credits, their TV work to date includes Wanderlust for BBC One and Netflix, Wild Bill for ITV, Truth Seekers and Hanna II both for Amazon Prime Video and they recently starred alongside Olivia Colman in the film Mothering Sunday.


What's next for Emma?


Oh, only a little prequel for a small series you've probably never heard of called Game of Thrones. House of the Dragon will air in 2022 on HBO and Sky Atlantic, and they'll star opposite Matt Smith as Rhaenyra Targaryen, the daughter of King Viserys I and Aemma Arryn.


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Emily Fairn


Who is Emily Fairn?


Actor Emily Fairn graduated from the Guildhall School of Music & Drama and is set to make her TV debut in 2022 in BBC One drama The Responder, by ex-police officer Tony Schumacher.


What's next for Emily?


Emily will star as Casey opposite Martin Freeman in five-part drama The Responder, which holds a mirror up to the emotional extremes of life on the front line of British policing. Martin plays Chris, a crisis-stricken, morally compromised, unconventional urgent response officer tackling a series of night shifts on the beat in Liverpool.


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Gamba Cole


Who is Gamba Cole?


Actor Gamba Cole started his career performing at The Royal Stratford East Theatre and has gone on to star in a number of TV shows including Guerilla, Lucky Man, A Discovery of Witches and Hanna.


In 2021, he starred opposite Stephen Merchant as one of the leads in BBC One's new comedy-thriller The Outlaws, which follows seven strangers from different walks of life forced together to complete a Community Payback sentence in Bristol. He plays Christian, an unassuming young man with a complicated story of his own.


What's next for Gamba?


Gamba's star has been rising for a number of years now and whilst it's unusual for me to include someone I've already nominated for Best Breakthrough at the I Talk Telly Awards in this list, I predict big things for him following his incredible performance in BBC One comedy thriller The Outlaws.


I'm sure it's only a matter of time before we learn of Gamba's next big role, but with a second series of The Outlaws already confirmed for 2022, and already filmed, Gamba isn't disappearing from our screens anytime soon.


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George Robinson


Who is George Robinson?


Actor George Robinson is a champion for disabled creatives in television, both in front of and behind the camera following an accident at the age of 17 playing rugby in South Africa which left him tetraplegic and using a wheelchair.


Whilst studying Philosophy at university, George was offered the role of Isaac in Netflix's hit comedy Sex Education, where he has become a firm fan favourite since joining in season two. It has previously been reported that the role would be adapted to suit the right actor with a disability who was cast.


What's next for George?


George was recently named as one of this year's BAFTA Breakthrough UK participants and is expected to return to Sex Education for the show's fourth season.


According to his agent, George has had his first TV script commission from Channel 4 which he is co-writing with Joe Parham for Emanata Studios.


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Harry Pinero


Who is Harry Pinero?


Entertainer, presenter & content creator Harry Pinero, from Peckham in London, came into prominence on YouTube where to date he has earned 5.2m views on his own channel, which currently has 355k subscribers. He regularly collaborates with other popular YouTubers Chunkz, Munya Chawawa and Yung Filly.


Recently, he has fronted We Do That with Nella Rose, an original series for BET UK in which they celebrate and meet the Black British individuals excelling at the top of their fields.


He has also appeared in a recent episode of Munya Chawawa's YouTube series Race Around Britain and can currently be seen alongside Zeze Millz in Drama Vs. Reality, a collaboration between Complex and ITV where they go head-to-head dropping their favourite selections of shows on the ITV Hub.


What's next for Harry?


Harry's next projects aren't currently known, but I'd be very surprised if he isn't all over our screens in 2022.


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Harry Trevaldwyn


Who is Harry Trevaldwyn?


Actor, comedian, and writer Harry Trevaldwyn has recently taken social media by storm with his hilarious comedy character sketches. Hilarious and deliberately awkward in equal measure, Harry's sketches often go viral thanks to his sharp observation of the smug middle classes and uniquely British delivery.


He has already starred opposite Timothee Chalamet in Netflix’s The King and completed two sold-out runs at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe before transferring to London.


What's next for Harry?


In 2022, Harry will play series regular Ollie in Call My Agent UK in Amazon Prime Video's remake of the hit French series, he'll also star in Friday Night Dinner creator Robert Popper's new Channel 4 comedy I Hate You and has recently completed filming on Judd Apatow's Netflix feature, The Bubble.


According to his agent, Harry is currently developing two original long-form shows for television with two prestigious production companies, which to those familiar with Harry's work will come as no real surprise. As is the case with so many great online content creators, broadcasters will be eager to translate Harry's unique brand of comedy to television as soon as they can!


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Joanne McNally


Who is Joanne McNally?


Following two sold-out runs at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, Irish comedian Joanne McNally has created, written, and presented the funny and insightful documentary Baby Hater and has appeared in a number of hit TV shows.


Shows including The Late Late Show on RTÉ One, Funny Festival Live on BBC Two, Joe Lycett's Got Your Back on Channel 4, as a contestant on Richard Osman's House of Games on BBC Two and The Weakest Link on BBC One and as a guest on The Jonathan Ross Show on ITV.


She also co-hosts the My Therapist Ghosted Me podcast with Vogue Williams.


What's next for Joanne?


In 2022 Joanne will tour The Prosecco Express, which already includes a sold-out run at the London Palladium, an incredible achievement for someone at the very start of what's bound to be a long and incredibly successful career.


I'm certain we'll be seeing a lot more of Joanne on our screens in the year ahead and looking even further ahead, autumn 2023 will see Joanne release her debut book, a collection of essays, Sandycove.


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Jonny Weldon


Who is Jonny Weldon?


Since lockdown 2020, actor and comedian Jonny Weldon has taken social media by storm with his hilarious viral comedy sketches about a jobbing actor. Sketches include a drama school audition, a Zoom audition, a self-tape, the first day of rehearsals, press night and so much more!


In 2021 he starred in the latest series of Channel 4's Stath Lets Flats, as Amanda Holden's agent in E4's The Holden Girls and


What's next for Jonny?


In 2022, Jonny will appear in the highly-anticipated Game of Thrones prequel House of the Dragon, the latest series of BBC One's Shakespeare and Hathaway, and the second series of Stephen Merchant's BBC One comedy-thriller The Outlaws.


But it's Jonny's own show that I'm most excited for... only a matter of time, I'm sure!


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Lola Jagun


Who is Lola Jagun?


Comedian, writer and actor Lola Jagun began creating online comedy sketches in 2018, performing as multiple characters on Instagram before starring in Dane Baptiste's BBC Three pilot Bamous, Comedy Central's Drunk History Black Stories and as a guest on BET's The Culture Capsule, all in 2021.


Lola's writing credits include Bamous for BBC Three, The Lateish Show with Mo Gilligan for Channel 4 and she has performed at The Pleasance and appeared in a number of online sketches for BBC Three.


What's next for Lola?


Lola's next projects aren't currently known, but with a talent like hers, I'm certain that we'll be seeing a lot more of her over the next twelve months including further writing credits for television.


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Maisie Adam


Who is Maisie Adam?


Born in Pannal, North Yorkshire, comedian Maisie Adam first came to public attention in 2017 after winning the So You Think You're Funny? competition. She later took her debut show to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 2018, returned in 2019 and has since become a familiar face on television with regular appearances on the likes of Have I Got News for You, Mock the Week, The Stand-Up Sketch Show The Last Leg.


Maisie started 2021 by winning Richard Osman's House of Games and narrating ITV2's new dating show The Cabins where a cast of singles are coupled together, moved into their own log cabin and given 24 hours to decide if they would like to spend more time together, or call it a day and walk away.


She also co-hosted a number of episodes of Comedy Central's female-led topical comedy panel show Yesterday, Today & the Day Before and performed on the latest series of Live At The Apollo on BBC Two.


What's next for Maisie?


As Maisie's profile continues to rise, I'm certain we'll be seeing a lot more of Maisie on our screens in 2022, including an upcoming appearance as a contestant on the new BBC One reboot of The Weakest Link.


We'll also be hearing Maisie once again on ITV2 as The Cabins returns for a second series and in September and October, she'll be embarking on a UK tour, Buzzed.


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