As 2018 draws to a close, it's time for my annual look ahead to the best telly expected in the next twelve months.
The first of two Sheridan Smith dramas to feature on this list, Adult Material is a new four-part drama for Channel 4, written by Lucy Kirkwood.
Set in modern Britain, the series delves inside the porn industry from the perspective of a woman who has been working in it her entire adult life and has seen it grow from a seedy backroom enterprise to a legitimate and highly profitable arm of the telecommunications business.
Sheridan plays Jolene Dollar, a mum-of-three who is also a leading British porn star for two decades. Maybe in porn years she’s getting on, but she's a hard worker and she loves what she does. After all, porn is one of the only industries in the world where women don’t just get paid equal to men… they get paid more.
Tchéky Karyo returns to our screens as Julien Baptiste, the insightful but stubborn investigator from The Missing in a new drama for BBC One, Baptiste.
Whilst on a trip to Amsterdam with his wife, Julien is seeked out by the Chief of Police, who also happens to be an old girlfriend, to help her on a case. Before long, he gets rapidly embroiled in a case that looks beyond the beautiful streets, canals and houses of Amsterdam to the seamy underworld beneath.
The series also stars Tom Hollander, although the BBC have kept tight-lipped over who he will play.
CatastropheMonday 7th January at 10pm on Channel 4
All good things must come to an end, and that's very much the case for Catastrophe which bows out at the start of 2019 with a fourth and final series on Channel 4.
This series picks up after the rather dramatic end to series three in which Rob's secret relapse to alcoholism saw him crash his car and confess his relapse to Sharon. As Rob tries to head on the straight and narrow, Sharon does her best to support but will the couple navigate the relentless tsunami of life’s challenges, or see their relationship finally submerged by it all?
With Rob potentially not the only one on the wrong side of the law, health issues, new religious dalliances, a “briefcase of vegetables” and ever-infuriating family members to contend with, what could possibly go wrong?
The first ITV drama to feature on this list is Cheat, a new four-part psychological thriller starring Katherine Kelly and Molly Windsor.
Written by newcomer Gaby Hull, at the heart of the drama is the dangerous relationship between university professor Leah and her student Rose. What might begin as a seemingly open and shut case of academic deception, quickly spirals out of control, ending in fatal consequences, and triggering a devastating sequence of events that threaten to engulf them both.
The series also stars Tom Goodman-Hill, Lorraine Ashbourne, Peter Firth and Adrian Edmondson.
Wednesday 9th January at 9pm on ITV
Sheridan Smith kicks off a busy year on our screens with Cleaning Up, ITV's new six-part drama written and created by newcomer Mark Marlow.
The series follows the story of Sam, an office cleaner who struggles to maintain her life as a devoted mum after becoming addicted to online gambling. She is an ordinary working-class woman hampered by her gambling addiction and with a debt collector knocking on the door, getting back to black looks impossible for Sam when she works a zero-hours contract on minimum wage.
A loving mum to two young daughters, Alice and Lily, Sam is struggling to keep her head above water and continues to turn to gambling as a means of escapism. The addiction has caused a rift in her family, with her husband Dave threatening to take the girls away, Sam is desperate to protect her life with them and to prove that she’s turning things around. But just how far will she go to get her life back on track?
Cold Feet is set to brighten up our January as it returns for an incredible eighth series on ITV.
What began as a series about thirty-somethings has evolved into a series about fifty-somethings and this series is the third since it returned in 2016. Once again James Nesbitt, Hermione Norris, Robert Bathurst, Fay Ripley and John Thomson are all back as Adam, Karen, David. Jenny and Pete,
ITV are keeping tight-lipped about what exactly happens in the new series, but following his split from Tina, will Adam find love again? And are Pete and Jenny still happily married having renewed their vows at the end of the last series?
Derry Girls was undoubtedly the breakout comedy hit of 2018 with Channel 4 announcing that there would be a second series after only one episode had aired on television.
The series, written by Lisa McGee, is New candid and family-centred comedy from writer Lisa McGee, set during The Troubles in early 1990s Northern Ireland and follows a group of local girls and an English boy. Derry Girls was the channel's biggest comedy series launch in almost 5 years!
Filming for the new series began in October with all the same cast expected to return.
Flack is the first drama for UKTV's W channel and stars Anna Paquin as Robyn, a sharp and witty publicity maven, who's an expert at her craft but a complete self-saboteur when it comes to her personal life.
The six-part series reflects on the brutal reality and complexities of modern life where problems can go viral in an instant. With PR serving as the perfect backdrop to explore these complexities, Flack centres on an American PR executive living in London who must figure out how to make the best of bad situations and somehow manage to get out unscathed.
Starring alongside Anna are Sophie Okonedo, Lydia Wilson, Genevieve Angelson, Rebecca Benson, Marc Warren, Rufus Jones and Arinzé Kene.
Set to return towards the start of 2019 is the second series of Phoebe Waller-Bridge's breakout BBC Three comedy Fleabag.
The BBC have released close to nothing about the new series, other than the news that Andrew Scott will be joining the cast... but they haven't said who he'll play.
Roisin Conaty returns to our screens in the second series of her own sitcom GameFace which has been promoted from E4 to Channel 4 for its second run.
Roisin plays Marcella, a 30-something aspiring actress with a chaotic life and big dreams. In the first series we saw he grappling with her career, overcoming heartbreak and dealing with her eccentric family. All with her questionable life-coach, best friends and long-suffering driving instructor by her side.
The series launched in October 2017 and was the biggest comedy launch in four years for E4 but with filming not due to begin until February, we're going to have to wait a little bit longer for the new episodes.
The fourth series of Inside No.9 achieved its highest ratings ever with every episode outperforming the 18 episodes that came before, so it's no surprise that 2019 will see it return for a fifth outing.
The anthology series, written and created by Reece Shearsmith and Steve Pemberton, combines horror, thriller, drama and comedy and never fails to amaze, delight, unnerve and amuse in equal measures.
Each episode brings with it an original story, a new raft of characters and surprising twists in the most unexpected of places.
Line of Duty
After what feels like forever, 2019 sees the highly anticipated return of Line of Duty for its fifth series which sees Martin Compston, Vicky McClure and Adrian Dunbar all return to play DS Steve Arnott, DS Kate Fleming and Supt. Ted Hastings.
Confirmed to be joining the cast are Stephen Graham and Rochenda Sandall who will play John Corbett and Lisa McQueen, two pivotal figures in a deadly organised crime group. They're both known to have links with corrupt police officers and suspected to be under direct command of the shadowy figure known only as 'H'.
They become persons of interest to AC-12 following an explosive chain of events. The new series will follow a new case for AC-12, set nearly two years on from the hit crime drama's previous instalment.
Ready for another summer of love? Because I am! That's right, as I look ahead to 2019 I'm already looking forward to another series of Love Island, the reality series which broke all ratings records again in 2018.
With Caroline Flack returning as host and Iain Stirling returning as the voice of Love Island, the search is already on for a new batch of singletons who will enter the most famous villa on television in the hope of following in the footsteps of last year's (still together couples), winners Jack and Dani, Kaz and Josh, Wes and Megan and Adam and Zara (I know, I'm as surprised as you are that they're still together.
I'm also hoping that Love Island: Aftersun and Love Island: The Christmas Reunion will both return.
Man Like Mobeen
After a successful run towards the end of 2017, Guz Khan's Man Like Mobeen will be returning to BBC Three for a second series in 2019.
As well as writing the series, Guz plays Mobeen, a 29-year-old man from Small Heath, a reported no go zone for anyone who isn’t Muslim and a hotbed for terrorist activity.
In reality Mobeen, like most other people in Birmingham, knows no terrorists, and spends his personal time parenting his best friends Eight and Nate and - most importantly - his little sister and love of his family life, Aqsa. He does all of this alone, acting as a very hairy mother, father and brother figure in the hood.
2018 was quite the year for Mo Gilligan; an incredible sell-out tour, numerous television appearances including co-hosting The Big Narstie Show, and 2019 is set to be an even bigger year for Mo as he launches his own show on Channel 4, Mo's Show.
The new series, hosted by Mo, will air at 10pm and all we know so far is that it is built around his stand-up strands and sketches and will be filmed in front of a studio audience.
Another sitcom we'll be bidding farewell to in 2019 is BBC Two's Mum.
The sitcom, written by Stefan Golaszewski centres around the character of Cathy, played by Lesley Manville, as she moves on from the death of her husband. The series also stars Peter Mullan, Sam Swainsbury, Lisa McGrillis, Ross Boatman, Dorothy Atkinson, Marlene Sidaway and Karl Johnson.
The BBC are yet to reveal anything about the final series, but it's thought to be airing towards the start of 2019.
Samson Kayo has teamed up with PhoneShop creator Phil Bowker to write a new three-part comedy for Dave called Sliced.
Samson Kayo will star alongside Theo Barklem-Biggs as Joshua and Ricky, two South London pizza delivery drivers.
The two best mates just want to make some money, move out of their mums’ and meet some women. Is that too much to ask for? If only all the ridiculous stuff that keeps happening to them would stop getting in the way.
This Time with Alan PartridgeBBC One
Alan Partridge's return to the BBC was due to arrive in 2018, but sadly we have to wait a little bit longer as This Time with Alan Partridge won't air on BBC One until some time in 2019.
The new six-part series will see Alan stand in temporarily as co-host of BBC One's evening weekday magazine show, This Time. The last time Alan hosted live television was Knowing Me, Knowing You, his nineties chat show which was cancelled after a guest was fatally shot on air.
This Time is the perfect shop window for a man of Alan’s gravitas and will, or should, see him finally recognised as one of the heavyweight broadcasters of his era. And with an array of diverse subjects on the agenda, it promises the perfect fit for a man whose broadcasting style has been described as ‘equidistant between chitchat and analysis.’
Joining Steve Coogan on the sofa will be his female co-presenter Jennie Gresham played by Susannah Fielding and Simon ‘formerly Sidekick Simon’ Denton, played by Tim Key. It has also been confirmed that Felicity Montagu will be back as Lynn!
Years & Years
Russell T Davies returns to BBC One in 2019 with Years & Years, a new six-part series which he's been wanting to write for over twenty years, that follows the lives of a single family over 15 years in a Britain rocked by unstable political, economic and technological advances.
The Lyons are a busy Manchester family. Daniel’s getting married to Ralph, Stephen and Celeste worry about their kids, Rosie’s chasing a new fella and Edith hasn’t been home for years. Presiding over them all is Gran, the imperial Muriel, played by Anne Reid. But when their lives all converge on one crucial night in 2019, the story accelerates into the future, following the lives and loves of the Lyons over the next 15 years.
And what a world! Everything we fear, and everything we hope for, is happening around this tight-knit family. Society is hotter, faster, madder, with the turmoil of politics, technology and distant wars affecting the Lyons in their day-to-day lives. Britain withdraws from Europe, America becomes a lone wolf, China asserts itself, and a new world begins to form.
But someone’s taking advantage: MP Vivienne Rook, played by Emma Thompson, begins her rise to power, one of that new breed of politician - an entertainer, a rebel, a trickster and a terror, leading them into an unknown future. Set against this, the Lyons have to navigate their everyday hopes and fears, knowing that one ordinary family could never change the world... or could they?
The series also stars Russell Tovey, Rory Kinnear, Ruth Madeley, Lydia West, Jade Alleyne and Dino Fetscher.