With 2019 over, it's time for my annual look ahead to the best telly expected in the next twelve months.
But before I do, I wanted to remind you/let new readers know that every week I publish 7 shows you cant miss on television and I have an Upcoming TV page with over 200 shows coming up in the UK over the next year or so, which I keep updated daily to include any confirmed start dates.
So without further ado, here are 20 TV shows you've got to look forward to in 2020...
It was a runaway success for Netflix globally when it launched globally on the 8th March 2019 and recently won three I Talk Telly Awards for Best New Comedy, Best Comedy Performance and TV Moment of the Year as well as numerous other television awards.
After Life follows Gervais' character Tony who is trying to move on from the death of his wife, played by Kerry Godliman. With the most unfair thing life can do to him having already happened, he decides to say and do whatever he likes, not worrying about the consequences - all whilst wondering if life is worth living at all.
The Barking Murders
Sheridan Smith, Jaime Winstone and Stephen Merchant star in Jeff Pope and Neil McKay's new three-part drama The Barking Murders, which tells the story of convicted serial rapist and serial killer Stephen Port who drugged and murdered four young men which he met on a dating app. He also carried out a number of sexual offences and became known as The Grindr Killer.
Hoping to go beneath the headlines and shed new light on this story, The Barking Murders tells the story from the point of view of the families of Stephen Port’s victims, focusing on their fight to uncover the truth about what had happened to their lost sons and brothers in the face of a now widely criticised police investigation.
In 2019 Russell T Davies brought us Years & Years and this year he's bringing us Boys, starring Olly Alexander and Keeley Hawes, which charts the joy and heartbreak of four friends during a decade in which everything changed.
The new five-part drama follows three young gay lads and their best friend Jill who find themselves thrown together in London at the start of a new decade in 1981. As the decade passes, they grow up in the shadow of AIDS, determined to live and love more fiercely than ever.
David Tennant stars as serial killer Dennis Nilsen in a new three-part drama about the man who murdered boys and young men in his flat from 1978 to 1983. He got away with it for five years until his arrest and conviction of six counts of murder and two of attempted murder.
Sentenced to life imprisonment, which in 1994 was replaced by a whole life tariff, Nilsen died in May 2018. Des tells the story from both the police and Masters’ point of view, exploring how a man like Nilsen was able to prey on the young and vulnerable in 1980s Britain. Also stars Daniel Mays and Jason Watkins.
It's been two years since the fourth series of Inside No.9 and over a year since THAT live episode for Halloween but now thankfully Reece Shearsmith and Steve Pemberton are back with six brand new episodes which combine horror, thriller, drama and comedy in ways only they know how.
With each episode featuring a raft of new characters and surprising twists, we already know that Ralf Little, David Morrissey, Maxine Peake, Jenna Coleman, Jill Halfpenny, Steve Speirs, Tom Goodman-Hill, Fionn Whitehead, Kadiff Kirwan, Debbie Rush and Ioanna Kimbook will guest star.
Sky One, 18th February
A new six-part comedy starring David Schwimmer isn't that common, it doesn't happen every day and it IS a big deal! That's right, the Friends favourite is back in a brand new comedy, written by rising star Nick Mohammed and airing this February.
Set in the UK’s highly regarded Government Communications Headquarters, Schwimmer shakes things up, playing a power-hungry, maverick NSA agent who comes over to join an inept and tactless computer analyst (Mohammed) and a newly-formed team who are tackling cybercrime.
Despite the show's working title, we're going to have to wait a bit longer than 22nd January for Michaela Coel's January 22nd, a fearless, frank and provocative drama she's written that explores the question of sexual consent in contemporary life and how, in the new landscape of dating and relationships, we make the distinction between liberation and exploitation.
Set in London, where gratification is only an app away, the story centres on Arabella, played by Coel, a care-free, self-assured Londoner with a group of great friends, a holiday fling-turned aspirational boyfriend in Italy, and a burgeoning writing career. But when she is spiked with a date-rape drug, she must question and rebuild every element of her life. Also stars Weruche Opia, Paapa Essiedu and Samson Ajewole who'll be making his television debut.
Friday 10th January at 9.30pm on BBC One
After a successful pilot towards the end of 2018, Tom Davis' family sitcom King Gary for a six-part run on BBC One. Davis stars as builder Gary King and Laura Checkley stars as his wife Terri, who together struggle for social acceptance and material success in their competitive suburbia of Butterchurn Crescent.
The series also stars Simon Day as Big Gary, Camille Coduri as Denise, Neil Maskell as Winkle and Romesh Ranganathan as neighbour Stuart. Guest stars include Lisa McGrillis, Mim Shaikh and Emma Sidi.
Last Tango in Halifax
After a four-year hiatus, Last Tango in Halifax is returning for a new four-part series, with Anne Reid, Derek Jacobi, Nicola Walker and Sarah Lancashire all returning. Now seven years into their marriage, Alan and Celia have moved into a desirable bungalow with stunning views but aren’t quite seeing eye to eye. And it isn’t just their differing politics that’s a source of tension, Alan’s new supermarket job brings an unexpected challenge in the form of a wild local lad.
Meanwhile, with John back on the scene, Caroline finds herself entangled in an emotional debacle with someone at work. And on top of all of this, Alan’s brother Ted is over "on holiday" from New Zealand. But it turns out he’s only bought a one-way ticket and he hasn’t come alone.
Line of Duty
Including Line of Duty in this list is a bit more wishful thinking on my part as filming doesn't begin on series six until early 2020 but I really hope it will arrive before the end of the year.
Obviously very little is known about the new series, but we do know that Vicky McClure, Adrian Dunbar and Martin Compston will all be returning and that Kelly Macdonald will join the cast as Detective Chief Inspector Joanne Davidson, the senior investigating officer of an unsolved murder, whose unconventional conduct raises suspicions at AC-12.
Man Like Mobeen
Since Man Like Mobeen first aired in 2017, writer and star Guz Khan and co-star Tez Ilyas have both seen their star rise and the sitcom about friends Mobeen, Eight and Nate who live in Small Heath, Birmingham, has become a cult hit on BBC Three, offering a rarely seen insight into working-class life as an ethnic minority.
After the cliffhanger at the end of series two, series three returns to Small Heath where Mobeen has been sucked back into the dark underworld of his criminal past. Has he gone beyond the point of no return? And what will the consequences be?
Anna Friel returns in the third series of ITV's gripping crime drama Marcella from The Bridge writer Hans Rosenfeldt. Now undercover as Keira in Belfast, Marcella has taken on a new identity and infiltrated the infamous Maguire crime family but as she investigates their activities, questions come to the fore about how much she’s embraced the Keira personality and left Marcella behind.
As she inhabits the character of Keira, Marcella’s quest for the truth puts her in danger and others in harm’s way. Her undercover role makes her take risks, but will her old life eventually catch up with her?
Sophie Rundle, Martin Compston and newcomer Mirren Mack star in Nicole Taylor's new five-part drama The Nest about a wealthy couple and a teenage girl make a pact that will change all of their lives forever.
Dan and Emily are crazy about each other. They live in a huge house in a beautiful location just outside Glasgow and want for nothing. All that’s missing is a baby and they’ve been trying for years. Through a chance encounter they meet Kaya, an 18 year-old from the other side of the city, whose life is as precarious at theirs is comfortable. When Kaya agrees to carry their baby, it feels like they were meant to meet - but was it really by chance?
BBC Three and BBC One
The highly-anticipated 12-part television adaptation of Sally Rooney's exquisite and compulsive modern love story about how two people can profoundly impact each other’s lives, Normal People, comes to BBC Three and BBC One in 2020. Daisy Edgar-Jones stars as Marianne alongside Paul Mescal in his first television role as Connell.
The series tracks their tender but complicated relationship from the end of their school days in a small-town west of Ireland to their undergraduate years at Trinity College. At school, he’s well-liked and popular, while she’s lonely, proud and intimidating. A year later, whilst both studying in Dublin, Marianne finds her feet in a new social world as Connell hangs at the side lines, shy and uncertain.
Noughts + Crosses
Announced back in 2016, it's safe to say that we've been waiting a very long time for the BBC One adaptation of Malorie Blackman's Noughts + Crosses, an enthralling story of first love in a dangerous, adrenalin-fuelled fictional dystopia, adapted by Levi David Addai.
Divided by their colour but united by forbidden love and burning injustice, Sephy and Callum, played by newcomer Masali Baduza and Jack Rowan, are fighting for more than simply the right to be together, in a contemporary dystopian State where strict race laws make daily existence a matter of life and death. Stormzy will also star as newspaper editor Kolawale, a character not in the original novel.
By now you've probably seen this photo of Michael Sheen as Chris Tarrant from ITV's upcoming three-part written by playwright, James Graham and directed by Stephen Frears which tells the extraordinary and sensational story of how Charles and Diana Ingram were accused of cheating their way to a million pounds on the quiz show Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?
The couple stood trial for conspiring by coughing during the recording to signify the correct answers to the multiple choice questions posed to the Major by host, Chris Tarrant. Playing Major Charles Ingram and his wife Diana Ingram are Matthew Macfadyen and Sian Clifford. Mark Bonnar, Helen McCrory, Michael Jibson and Aisling Bea also star.
Save Me Too
Two years since Lennie James' hit Sky Atlantic drama Save Me aired comes the second series, Save Me Too, set 17 months after Nelly Rowe's desperate search for his daughter saw him dragged into a into a dark underworld which made him re-evaluate many of the decisions he has made about his life. Is he still looking for his daughter? What hope is there of finding her? And if new evidence were to emerge what would it force Nelly to do next?
Jody's mother, played once again by Suranne Jones, faces the dire possibilities of her daughter’s fate whilst Stephen Graham's character Melon attempts to start a new life with Bernie, played by Alice Feetham. Kerry Godliman, Thomas Coombes, Nadine Marshall, Susan Lynch and Jason Flemyng also return alongside Adrian Edmondson as Gideon and his wife Jennifer Charles, who will be played by Lesley Manville.
Academy Award and BAFTA-winning director Steve McQueen brings his anthology series Small Axe to BBC One in 2020. The series will tell five stories across six episodes, with the first told across two episodes, and are set within London’s West Indian community from the late 1960s to the early 80s.
The series features an all-star British cast including John Boyega and Letitia Wright as well as Rochenda Sandall, Malachi Kirby, Alex Jennings, Shaun Parkes and Jack Lowden.
Strike: Lethal White
After two series in 2017 and one in 2018, Tom Burke and Holliday Grainger are returning in 2020 with a new four-part adaptation of J.K. Rowling's latest Strike novel. written under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith, Lethal White with new cast members including Robert Glenister, Joseph Quinn and Nick Blood.
In the grips of psychosis, a young man named Billy Knight arrives in private detective Cormoran Strike’s office telling the story of a child he saw strangled many years ago. Simultaneously, Strike is hired by government minister Jasper Chiswell to investigate Billy's brother, Jimmy Knight who is blackmailing him. As Strike and his partner Robin work to determine how the cases might be connected, she goes undercover in the House of Commons but as her private life unravels, her relationship with Matthew feels the full strain of her commitment to Strike and her work.
We last visited Kerry and Kurtan Mucklowe in October 2018, seven months after Kerry and Martin's arrest and 2020 (possibly February) marks the return of the somewhat dysfunctional cousins and the other residents in their claustrophobic Cotswold village including Reverend Francis Seaton and Mandy Harris.
Very little is known about the new series, but following the sad passing of co-star Michael Sleggs, Daisy May Cooper and Charlie Cooper have promised a fitting tribute to the actor and his character Slugs, in the opening episode of series three.