As we welcome in 2022, I've pulled together a list of 22 TV shows to look forward to in the next twelve months, including five shows we'll sadly be saying goodbye to!
1. After Life
Friday 14th January on Netflix
The Office, Extras and Derek all have one thing in common, and that's that they never made it to series three, a decision made by their creator Ricky Gervais who has always said two series and a special feels right. But for the first time in his career, Ricky has agreed to a third series of his hit Netflix series After Life - but that's it.
The five-time I Talk Telly Awards winning show, set in the small fictional town of Tambury, sees Gervais star as local newspaper writer Tony, whose life is upended after his wife, played by Kerry Godliman, dies from cancer.
After contemplating taking his own life, series one sees Tony decide to instead live long enough to punish the world by saying and doing whatever he likes from now on. But it turns out to be tricky when everyone is trying to save the nice guy they used to know. And in series two, whilst still struggling with immense grief, Tony tries to become a better friend to those around him as the paper is threatened with closure.
The series also stars Jo Hartley, Tony Way, Diane Morgan, Ethan Lawrence, Ashley Jensen, Tom Basden, Joe Wilkinson, David Earl, Mandeep Dhillon, Roisin Conaty, Peter Egan and Penelope Wilton.
2. The Bay
Wednesday 12th January at 9pm on ITV
After a hugely successful second series in 2021, The Bay is back with Daniel Ryan returning as DI Tony Manning alongside Marsha Thomason who joins as Morecambe CID’s new Family Liaison Officer, DS Jenn Townsend following Morven Christie's decision to leave the show last year.
DS Townsend is immediately thrown into the deep end when a body is found in the bay on her first day in the job. She must get under the skin of a grieving and complicated family if she has any chance of solving the premature death of an aspiring young boxer.
While she’s eager to give the family answers, she also needs to prove herself as the team’s newest recruit. The pressure is multiplied when her new blended family struggle to settle in Morecambe, proving to Jenn that a fresh start might not be as simple as moving to a different town.
Also returning for series three will be Erin Shanagher, Thomas Law and Andrew Dowbiggin and The Bay will once again be written by Daragh Carville, who will co-write with Furquan Akhtar.
3. Big Boys
Created, written and narrated by comedian and author Jack Rooke, Big Boys promises to be a funny and heart-breaking new comedy about a university fresher, trying to find his tribe whilst still finding himself. It stars Derry Girls favourite Dylan Llewellyn as sweet, shy and closeted Jack whilst Plebs favourite Jon pointing plays Danny, the boisterous, laddish and ever-so-slightly mature student with whom Jack forms an unlikely friendship.
Jack has spent the past year at home with his wonderful, potty-mouthed mum. He’s been grieving for his father and she for her husband, but the time has now come for him to take his place at the local uni.
There he meets his roommate Danny as the pair are thrown together during Freshers week, watched over by an entirely over-enthusiastic Student Union head. Jack and Danny are at significantly different places on the spectrum of masculinity but closely bond during the inevitable chaos and frenzy of a first year.
4. Conversations with Friends
With Normal People being the huge hit that it was in 2020, making household names out of its two leads, Daisy Edgar-Jones and Paul Mescal, all eyes will be on BBC Three's latest 12-part adaptation of a Sally Rooney novel, Conversations with Friends.
This very modern love story and complex coming-of-age drama follows 21-year-old college student Frances, as she navigates a series of relationships that force her to confront her own vulnerabilities for the first time.
She is observant, cerebral and sharp. Her ex-girlfriend, now best friend, Bobbi is self-assured, outspoken and compelling. Though they broke up three years ago, Frances and Bobbi are virtually inseparable and perform spoken word poetry together in Dublin. It’s at one of their shows that they meet Melissa, an older writer, who is fascinated by the pair.
Bobbi and Frances start to spend time with Melissa and her husband, Nick, a handsome but reserved actor. While Melissa and Bobbi flirt with each other openly, Nick and Frances embark on an intense, secret affair that is surprising to them both. Soon the affair begins to test the bond between Frances and Bobbi, forcing Frances to reconsider her sense of self, and the friendship she holds so dearly.
Conversations with Friends will star emerging talent Alison Oliver as Frances, Sasha Lane as Bobbi, Joe Alwyn as Nick and Jemima Kirke as Melissa.
New three-part drama Crossfire, has been created for BBC One and written by Louise Doughty, her first original series for television, and stars Keeley Hawes as a woman whose world is turned upside down whilst staying in a luxurious resort in the Canary Islands.
Whilst sunbathing on her hotel room balcony on a dream holiday with her family and friends, shots ring out across the complex and gunmen, out for revenge, have, in an instant, turned a slice of paradise into a terrifying heart-breaking hell.
With the unsuspecting holidaymakers and hotel staff forced to make monumental split-second life or death decisions, the consequences will linger long after the final shots are fired. Crossfire promises to be a story of survival and resilience, an edge-of-your-seat nail-biting thriller whilst also emotional, intimate and relatable.
Starring alongside Hawes will be Josette Simon, Anneika Rose, Lee Ingleby, Daniel Ryan, Vikash Bhai, Hugo Silva, Alba Brunet, Shalisha James-Davis and Ariyon Bakare.
6. The Curse
When the teams behind Murder in Successville and People Just Do Nothing, two of the most original new comedies from the last 10 years, join forces for a new crime-comedy on Channel 4, the result is unlikely to be anything other than genius.
Written by Tom Davis and director James De Frond along with Steve Stamp, Allan Mustafa, Hugo Chegwin, The Curse is a comedy caper set in London in the early ’80s and follows a gang of hopeless small-time crooks who through their own stupidity and poor judgement find themselves embroiled in one of the biggest gold heists in history.
The Curse is a fictionalized tale loosely inspired by an infamous robbery from the early ’80s, where six men raided a depot near one of London’s airports thinking they’d walk away with £50,000 in cash, only to stumble across seven thousand bars of gold, with a street value of tens of millions!
The series stars Allan Mustafa, playing Albert Fantoni, Steve Stamp, playing Sidney Wilson, Hugo Chegwin, playing Phil ‘The Captain’ Pocket and Tom Davis, playing Big Mick Neville, a group of hapless small-time criminals who become embroiled in the plot.
They are normal working-class men who just dabble in low-level crime to make ends meet during the recession hit decade. But the naïve gang royally bite off more than they can chew with the heist and subsequently are stuck with the impossible task of coming up with a plot to rid themselves of the loot before they get nicked or even worse, end up dead…
Emer Kenny will also star as Natasha, wife of criminal Albert, who narrates the tale. The series also stars Peter Ferninando as Crazy Clive Cornell, a “proper” gangster that the gang become involved with during the heist, Ambreen Razia as Detective Thread, Geoff Bell as Detective Saunders and Michael Smiley as Ronnie Gatlin.
The Curse is a tale of friendship. Can a group of childhood friends stick together when they find themselves transformed overnight from nobody’s to somebody’s and what are the sacrifices that they must make to survive…and ultimately is all the money in the world ever really worth it? It’s a story of trust, greed, ambition, class and in-equality
7. Derry Girls
When Derry Girls burst onto our screens in January 2018, it was an instant hit becoming Channel 4's biggest comedy launch since 2004 and this year it's set to return for its long-delayed, highly-anticipated and sadly final, series.
Created by Lisa McGee, set in 1990's Derry, Derry Girls stars Saoirse-Monica Jackson, Louisa Harland, Nicola Coughlan, Jamie-Lee O'Donnell and Dylan Llewellyn as Erin, her cousin Orla and friends Clare, Michelle and Michelle's tagalong English cousin, aka The Wee English Fella, James.
The series also stars Tommy Tiernan as Erin’s long-suffering father, Tara Lynne O’Neill as Erin’s mother, Ian McElhinney as Granda Joe and Kathy Kiera Clarke as Aunt Sarah. Siobhan McSweeney also stars as Sister Michael, the straight-talking Headmistress of Lady Immaculate College, where the gang attend.
In September 2021, Lisa McGee broke the news that it was "always the to say goodbye after three series" going on to say "Derry Girls is a coming of age story; following five ridiculous teenagers as they slowly…very slowly... start to become adults, while around them the place they call home starts to change too and Northern Ireland enters a new more hopeful phase."
Few details are known about the third series, other than the fact that filming has already commenced and Lisa McGee hasn't ruled out a return in some other guise someday, teasing "Who knows if Erin, Clare, Orla, Michelle and James will return in some other guise someday, but for now this is it for us."
8. Happy Valley
A third series of Happy Valley was always expected to arrive at some point. But with no news since 2016, many had lost hope that it was ever going to happen, until October 2021 when the BBC finally confirmed that it would be back for a third and final series.
It was also confirmed that reprising their roles from the first two series will be Sarah Lancashire as Sergeant Catherine Cawood, James Norton as Catherine’s nemesis, the murderer and sex offender Tommy Lee Royce and Siobhan Finneran as Catherine’s sister and recovering addict Clare Cartwright.
When Catherine discovers the remains of a gangland murder victim in a drained reservoir it sparks a chain of events that unwittingly leads her straight back to Tommy Lee Royce.
Her grandson Ryan is now sixteen and still living with Catherine, but he has ideas of his own about what kind of relationship he wants to have with the man Catherine refuses to acknowledge as his father.
Still battling the seemingly never-ending problem of drugs in the valley and those who supply them, Catherine is on the cusp of retirement.
9. His Dark Materials
With many series coming to an end in 2022, another one is sadly His Dark Materials, as the adaptation of Philip Pullman’s final novel in the trilogy, The Amber Spyglass finally airs. In the new 8-part series, new worlds beckon for Lyra, Will, Mrs Coulter, Mary Malone and Lord Asriel as Dafne Keen, Amir Wilson, Ruth Wilson, Simone Kirby and James McAvoy all return.
At the end of series two, we saw Lord Asriel call upon the angels to help him wage a war against the Kingdom of Heaven as Mrs Coulter abducted her daughter Lyra to take her to ‘safety’ in their own world.
Series three opens with Lyra unconscious, having been given a sleeping draught by her mother, as Will, still carrying the Subtle Knife, continues his quest to find her. Will is tracked down by two angels - Balthamos and Baruch – who wish to take him to join Lord Asriel’s campaign against The Authority with Commander Ogunwe.
But Will is not the only one after Lyra, with Father President MacPhail continuing his mission to destroy the child of the prophecy, employing the help of his most committed follower, Father Gomez.
Meanwhile, Oxford physicist Mary Malone reaches another parallel world – that of the Mulefa, a strange animal-like species. They tell her of a cataclysmic phenomenon in their world.
With multiple new worlds, including the Land of the Dead, returning characters and featuring strange new creatures the Mulefa and Gallivespians, the third season will bring Philip Pullman’s masterpiece to a dramatic conclusion.
One of ITV's new dramas for 2022 is Holding, a four-part adaptation of Graham Norton's debut novel of the same name starring Conleth Hill, Brenda Fricker, Siobhán McSweeney, Charlene McKenna, Helen Behan and Pauline McLynn.
Set in the insular fictional village of Duneen, West Cork, on the edge of Ireland, a place with its own climate and rhythms, Holding is written by Dominic Treadwell-Collins and Karen Cogan and directed by Kathy Burke.
It follows what happens when the body of long-lost local legend Tommy Burke is discovered and local police officer Sergeant PJ Collins, is called to solve a serious crime for the first time in his career.
Unearthing long-buried secrets, PJ finally connects with the village he has tried so hard to avoid. Played by Conleth Hill, PJ is a gentleman who hides from people and fills his days with comfort food and half-hearted police work. He is one of life’s outsiders, lovable, but lonely and a bit rubbish at his job.
Siobhán McSweeney plays vulnerable, messy Bríd Riordan who had been due to marry Tommy before his untimely disappearance, whilst Charlene McKenna is youthful, stuck Evelyn Ross who desperately loved him. The two women are at the heart of the community and neither is above suspicion.
And Brenda Fricker takes the role of Lizzie Meany, a shy presence in PJ’s life who has been battling her own demons and secrets as PJ comes to discover.
11. Inside Man
Inside Man, Steven Moffat's new drama for BBC One and Netflix is a four-part thriller that follows a prisoner on death row in the US, a Vicar in a quiet English town, and a maths teacher trapped in a cellar who cross paths in the most unexpected way.
The star-studded cast is led by David Tennant, Dolly Wells and Lydia West alongside Stanley Tucci in the title role of the Inside Man.
Further casting includes Lyndsey Marshal, Atkins Estimond, Mark Quarterly, Tilly Vosburgh, Louis Oliver, Kate Dickie and Dylan Baker.
12. Inside No.9
A new series of Inside No.9 is thankfully becoming an annual treat and with a seventh series set to air in 2022, I can't wait to see what twisted tales Reece Shearsmith and Steve Pemberton have come up with this time!
We know that they'll be joined by a new batch of guest stars including Daniel Mays, Jason Isaacs, Sophie Okonedo, Jessica Hynes, Diane Morgan, Daisy Haggard, Annette Badland, Siobhan Redmond, Ron Cook and Reexe and Steve's fellow co-creator, writer and star from The League of Gentlemen, Mark Gatiss.
The new series of Inside No.9 will feature six stand-alone stories, once again inviting viewers into Shearsmith and Pemberton’s world of the extraordinary and macabre.
With a track record that boasts Him & Her and Mum, Stefan Golaszewski newest project Marriage, a four-part drama for BBC One starring Nicola Walker and Sean Bean is unlikely to disappoint.
Marriage examines in intimate detail the fears, frustrations and salvation of marriage and the comfort that can only be found in togetherness. It promises to be an up-close portrait of a marriage, sometimes funny, sometimes moving, always revealing.
Sean Bean and Nicola Walker play married couple Ian and Emma, who negotiate the ups and downs of their 30-year marriage. We see them dealing with the insecurities, ambiguities, hopes and fears that are part of all marriages as the drama explores the risks and the gifts of a long-term intimate relationship.
14. The Outlaws
One of the breakout hits of 2021 and winner of Best New Comedy at the I Talk Telly Awards, Stephen Merchant’s The Outlaws, is returning for a second series. It follows seven strangers from different walks of life forced together to complete a Community Payback sentence in Bristol.
Following on directly from the first series, The Outlaws still have time to serve on their sentences but now they must face the fallout from their actions. If they thought the criminal underworld or the local police were done with them, they are sorely mistaken.
The Outlaws must depend on one another while working with unlikely allies to atone for their sins, but can they save themselves without sacrificing their souls?
The second series will see the return of Christopher Walken, alongside writer and star Stephen Merchant, with Rhianne Barreto, Gamba Cole, Darren Boyd, Clare Perkins, Eleanor Tomlinson, Jessica Gunning, Charles Babalola, Nina Wadia, Tom Hanson and Aiyana Goodfellow with guest stars including Julia Davis, Dolly Wells, Ian McElhinney and Claes Bang.
15. Peaky Blinders
After launching on BBC Two in 2013, Peaky Blinders moved to BBC One in 2019 for its fifth series and now the story of Tommy Shelby, played by Cillian Murphy, and his notorious family’s rise to prominence and power, against the backdrop of working-class, post-First World War Birmingham is coming to an end.
For series six, the stakes have never been higher for the Shelby family as they find themselves in extreme jeopardy and whilst this is the final television series, it's thought the story will conclude in a film
16. Ralph & Katie
In 2019, following the third series of BBC One drama The A Word, it was announced that a new six-part spin-off called Ralph & Katie would centre around the popular characters played by Leon Harrop and Sarah Gordy.
Having just had the wedding of the year, Ralph & Katie will track their first year of married life with each 30-minute episode featuring a different story focusing on the domestic challenges faced by the newlyweds. Challenges faced by all newlyweds, but with the added fact that they have Down’s Syndrome.
To best tell the continuing story of Ralph and Katie, an inspirational and loving young couple who are embarking on the biggest adventure of their lives, The A Word writer Peter Bowker will be writing alongside new and emerging disabled writers who have all been chosen in partnership with BBC Writersroom; Amy Trigg, Annalisa Dinnella, Genevieve Barr, Lizzie Watson and Tom Wentworth.
17. The Responder
Martin Freeman stars in new five-part BBC One drama The Responder as Chris, a crisis-stricken, morally compromised, unconventional urgent response officer tackling a series of night shifts on the beat in Liverpool.
Whilst trying to keep his head above water both personally and professionally, Chris is forced to take on a new rookie partner Rachel, played by Adelayo Adedayo. Both soon discover that survival in this high pressure, relentless, night-time world will depend on them either helping or destroying each other.
Written by ex-police officer Tony Schumacher, The Responder holds a mirror up to the emotional extremes of life on the front line of British policing - sometimes darkly funny, sometimes painfully tragic, always challenging.
David Morrissey stars alongside Lesley Manville and Robert Glenister in BBC One's new contemporary drama, Sherwood. Written and created by James Graham, the six-part series has been inspired in part by real events and set in the Nottinghamshire mining village where he grew up.
At the heart of the drama lie two shocking and unexpected killings that shatter an already fractured community and spark a massive manhunt. As suspicion and antipathy build, both between lifelong neighbours and towards the police forces who descend on the town, the tragic killings threaten to inflame historic divisions sparked during the miners' strike three decades before.
David Morrissey stars as Detective Chief Superintendent Ian St Clair, a lifer in the Nottinghamshire constabulary who has risen through the ranks and is tasked with finding the link between these two killings.
He is forced to reunite with DI Kevin Salisbury, an old rival from the Metropolitan Police played by Robert Glenister, whose return to the town threatens to heighten the already febrile tensions running through the community.
With so many reminders of what happened in 1984, he’s unlikely to get the warmest of welcomes from the local police force nor the local community. But he has orders to follow, and he’s determined to prove that he stands for honour and integrity.
Also stars Alun Armstrong, Lesley Manville. Philip Jackson, Claire Rushbrook, Kevin Doyle, Adam Hugill, Lorraine Ashbourne, Perry Fitzpatrick, Adeel Akhtar, Bally Gill, Joanne Froggatt and Stephen Tompkinson.
Full plot details and character breakdowns here.
With BBC Three returning to television in 2022, one of their highly-anticipated new series is Superhoe, an adaptation of actor, writer and singer-songwriter Nicôle Lecky's critically acclaimed ground-breaking play of the same name.
Told in part through the songs that Sasha creates, Superhoe follows Sasha, a 25-year-old wannabe singer and rapper. Sasha wants to be a major recording artist, but right now she’s a bedroom artist: spending her days smoking weed and stalking her ex-boyfriend on Instagram, and avoiding her mum, her step-dad and sister Megan.
When she is kicked out of her family home, Sasha is forced to fend for herself, sofa-surfing with local dealer Saleem, until she moves in with party girl Carly, who introduces her to the exciting world of social media influencing. But as the gap between her online presence and her dream of being a singer continues to grow, Sasha finds herself struggling to escape a world that is more complex and darker than she could have imagined.
Alongside Lecky starring in the leading role of Sasha Clayton, the cast includes Lara Peake as party girl Carly, Jessica Hynes as Sasha's mum, Paul Kaye as Sasha's step-dad, Mia Jenkins as Sasha's sister Megan and Jordan Duvigneau as Sasha's ex-boyfriend. It also promises a killer original soundtrack performed by Lecky.
20. Then Barbara Met Alan
Announced in June 2021 under the working title Independence Day? How Disabled Rights Were Won, the one-off drama now titled Then Barbara Met Alan, 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.
21. Top Boy
When Top Boy ended on Channel 4 in 2013, it was thought that the drama set on the fictional Summerhouse estate in Hackney, would never return. But thankfully it did return for a third series on Netflix in 2019, written by Ronan Bennett and will return for more episodes in 2022.
Ashley Walters and Kane Robinson returned as Dushane and Sully, whilst the series introduced us to many new actors including I Talk Telly Award winner Micheal Ward who played Jamie - a young, hungry and and ruthless gang leader whose ambitions leave no place for Dushane and Sully.
When the series first returned, Dushane returned from exile to reclaim his throne in the lucrative drug market teaming up with his spiritual brother, partner and sometime rival Sully whose time in prison had come to an end.
22. Trigger Point
One of ITV's most highly anticipated new dramas for 2022 is Trigger Point, written by screenwriting newcomer, Daniel Brierley, produced by Jed Mercurio’s HTM Television and starring Vicky McClure and Adrian Lester as bomb disposal operatives known as ‘Expos’.
The new six-part high-octane thriller turns the spotlight on counter-terrorism policing and the extraordinary work of the Metropolitan Police Bomb Disposal Squad.
Vicky McClure stars as front line officer Lana Washington, with Adrian Lester starring alongside her as Joel Nutkins. Both ex-military, the pair are close, having served together in Afghanistan.
When a terrorist campaign threatens the capital over the summer, the Expos are at the forefront of urgent efforts to find out who is behind the bombings before fatalities escalate.
Further cast includes Mark Stanley as DI Thom Youngblood, Warren Brown as Karl Maguire, Kerry Godliman as Sonya Reeves, Cal MacAninch as Lee Robins SCO19, Manjinder Virk as Samira Desai SO15 and Ralph Ineson as Commander Bregman.