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WHAT TO WATCH 2-6 January

This week's best telly includes a ton of new drama including returning favourites Silent Witness and Waterloo Road and brand new series The Light in the Hall, The Rig and Stonehouse.

Plus Lord Sugar is back to search for a new business partner as The Apprentice returns and the UK finally get the chance to watch the hit period romantic comedy, Our Flag Means Death.

Here are 7 TV shows you can't miss this week...

1. Silent Witness

Monday 2nd and Tuesday 3rd January at 9pm on BBC One

It's the longest-running crime drama anywhere in the world, and as Silent Witness returns for its 26th series, the Lyell team are drawn into the criminal underworld of a notorious mafia group called the ‘Ndrangheta’ when a man falls from a high-rise building.

Aided by the National Crime Agency (NCA), Nikki and the team set out to uncover the truth. As they descend deeper into the murky depths of the investigation, Nikki soon finds herself embroiled further and further in the mafia’s web.

Emilia Fox returns as Dr Nikki Alexander alongside David Caves as Jack Hodgson, Alastair Michael as Velvy Schur, Aki Omoshaybi as Gabriel Folukoya, Sophia Myles as Laine Cassidy and Matteo Carlomagno as Stephen.

1-2/10 Continues weekly. Episode two available early at launch

2. Stonehouse

Monday 2nd to Wednesday 4th January at 9pm on ITV1

Matthew Macfadyen stars alongside Keeley Hawes and Emer Heatley as disgraced Labour minister John Stonehouse in ITV1's new three-part drama Stonehouse, written by John Preston.

Stonehouse relates how John Stonehouse, MP for Walsall North, a high-flying member of Harold Wilson’s Government, vanished from the beach of a large luxury hotel in Florida in November 1974, leaving a neatly folded pile of clothes as he swam into the sea, intent on faking his own death and leaving behind his loving wife Barbara and three young children as a shocked public and media presumed he had drowned or been eaten by sharks.

Charismatic, oozing with charm and brimming with confidence, Stonehouse had impressed Prime Minister Harold Wilson and Labour stalwarts from an early stage in his parliamentary career. From a working-class background, he’d graduated from the London School of Economics, was in the RAF during the War and seemed the ideal candidate for a life in politics.

As the drama unfolds, it becomes apparent his reputation as a devoted family man masked the truth, as he’d embarked on an extra marital affair with his secretary, Sheila Buckley, and acted as a spy for the Czech Secret Service in the 1960s.

1-3/3 Continues nightly

3. Waterloo Road

Tuesday 3rd January at 8pm on BBC One

The hit drama returns to BBC One for the first time since 2015 with seven brand-new episodes. As a new school year begins, a peaceful protest turns into a school riot and the events of the day will have huge ramifications for everyone involved.

Across the term, Waterloo Road’s teachers and parents are going to have to learn on their feet as they try to navigate the ever-changing social landscape, from teen homelessness to the cost of living, being LGBTQ+, racism, sexism, mental health and everything else facing young teens today.

Amongst the chaos, the students, faculty and parents still make time for friendships, fun, and a few romances. The pupils have a lot to contend with this term, but they will learn to lean on one another to survive the year and try to stay out of detention as much as possible.

Riots, scandals, fractured families and challenging kids, for Headteacher Kim Campbell, played by returning cast member Angela Griffin, and her team, fire-fighting is a way of life. Who said education was easy?

Returning alongside Angela Griffin are Adam Thomas as Donte Charles and Katie Griffiths as Chlo Charles who will be joined by Scarlett Thomas as their daughter Izzy and Elijah Blue Slater as their son Tommy.

The rest of the cast also includes Kym Marsh as the school canteen worker and mother of two pupils, Nicky Walters, Vincent Jerome and James Baxter as joint Deputy Heads Lindon King and Joe Casey as well as Sonia Ibrahim as the school's social worker Jamilah Omar, Shauna Shim as music teacher Valerie Chambers, Neil Fitzmaurice as the school’s history teacher Neil Guthrie, Katherine Pearce as early-career teacher Amy Spratt and Rachel Leskovac as Head of English Coral Walker.

1/7 Continues weekly

4. The Light in the Hall

Wednesday 4th January at 9pm on Channel 4

Welsh thriller Y Golau was made available on BBC iPlayer and S4C Clic in May last year in the Welsh language, and now the six-part drama, filmed in both English and Welsh, comes to Channel 4 in English.

It stars Joanna Scanlan, Iwan Rheon and Alexandra Roach and is about a woman still grieving for her daughter who disappeared 18 years earlier. Scanlan's character Sharon has spent nearly two decades searching for her daughter Ela's body.

Shortly after she vanished, mild-mannered gardener Joe Thomas, played by Iwan Rheon, was arrested and charged with her murder after Ela's DNA was discovered in his caravan. He confessed to her murder but refused - or could not explain what - he did with the body. Now Joe is being considered for parole, and if he is released, Sharon's greatest fear may be realized: she will never get Ela's body back and the past will torment her for the rest of her life.

Journalist Cat Donato, played by Alexandra Roach, who's originally from the same town, has always been interested in Ela's murder. It's a very personal story for Cat, who has always kept an eye on the story, and the news that Joe is due for parole prompts her to return home to write an in-depth article and discover the truth once and for all.

But will she be welcomed back to the town where she grew up? Meanwhile, Sharon is also desperate for answers and she'll go to any lengths to get them.

1/6 Continues weekly. All episodes available at launch

5. Our Flag Means Death

Wednesday 4th January at 10pm on BBC Two

After a 9-month wait, the UK is finally getting the chance to watch hit period romantic comedy Our Flag Means Death, which is based on the true adventures of Stede Bonnet, a pampered aristocrat who abandons his life of privilege to become a pirate.

After uprooting his life in search of adventure, aristocrat-turned-pirate captain Stede Bonnet must go to new lengths to tame the mutinous motley crew of his ship, the Revenge. But when his efforts to impress the boisterous buccaneers lead to a raid on a vessel with ties to his former life, Stede is left to question whether he's tough enough for the high seas.

The series also stars Taika Waititi as Blackbeard, history's most feared and revered pirate.

1/10 Continues weekly. All episodes available at launch

6. The Apprentice

Thursday 5th January at 9pm on BBC One

Lord Sugar’s search for a new business partner is back as The Apprentice returns for its seventeenth series in its now usual January slot and this year, eighteen ambitious candidates will battle it out for a staggering quarter-of-a-million-pound investment with billionaire boss, Lord Alan Sugar.

This year, the candidates kick things off on the magnificent Caribbean Island of Antigua. Under the watchful eye of Baroness Karren Brady and Claude Littner, teams are tasked with selling and running bespoke tours. There’s bickering on the beach and woeful negotiations, back in the boardroom one candidate is sent packing!

1/12 Continue weekly

7. The Rig

Friday 6th January on Prime Video

Kicking off 2023 for Amazon's Prime Video is new six-part drama The Rig which sees the crew of the Kinloch Bravo oil rig stationed off the Scottish coast in the dangerous waters of the North Sea.

When they are due to be collected and return to the mainland, a mysterious and all-enveloping fog rolls through. The rig is hit by massive tremors, and they find themselves cut off from all communication with the shore and the outside world.

As the crew endeavour to discover what’s driving this unknown force, a major accident forces them to ask questions about who they can really trust. Bonds are broken, allegiances formed and generational fault lines are exposed.

The crew of the Bravo will be driven to the limits of both their loyalties and their endurance leading to a confrontation with forces beyond their imagination.

It stars Martin Compston, Iain Glen, Emily Hampshire, Rochenda Sandall, Owen Teale, Richard Pepple, Mark Bonnar, Calvin Demba, Emun Elliott, Abraham Popoola, Stuart McQuarrie and Molly Vevers.

1-6/6 All episodes available at launch

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