The best TV shows of 2018

Whether it’s dramas, documentaries or comedies – check out all the best shows to look forward to this year

Best TV 2018 (Sky, Channel 4, BBC, EH)



Started New Year’s Day, now Sundays at 9pm on BBC1


James Norton plays a markets fund manager with a Russian mafia heritage who gets dragged into the criminal underworld.

Hard Sun

Starts Saturday 6th January at 9:35pm on BBC1

This pre-apocalyptic cop-show from the creator of Luther stars former model Agyness Deyn and Jim Sturgess.

Black Mirror

Available now on Netflix

Six new episodes of Charlie Brooker’s dystopian drama philosophise about the dangers of tech.


Starts Wednesday 10th January at 9pm on Channel 4

From the writer of National Treasure, this four-parter stars Sarah Lancashire as a social worker whose world begins to spiral when a child goes missing in her care.


February BBC2

Carey Mulligan (Getty, EH)

Playwright David Hare returns to TV with a thriller exploring the repercussions of the fatal shooting of a pizza delivery man. Carey Mulligan stars.

Patrick Melrose

Spring/summer Sky Atlantic

Benedict Cumberbatch plays the “aristocratic and outrageously funny playboy” from Edward St Aubyn’s novels, adapted by novelist David Nicholls.


Spring BBC1


Jed Mercurio, the creator of Line of Duty, calls on the brilliant Keeley Hawes again, to play ambitious Home Secretary Julia Montague who is in need of protection.


Summer/autumn BBC1

Poldark s3 CAST PIC

Aidan Turner returns as Ross for a fourth series that sees the action move from Cornwall to London, as Poldark gets political.

Vanity Fair

Summer/autumn ITV

Vanity Fair main pic

Thackeray’s novel is adapted as a sumptuous seven-part period drama, starring newcomer Olivia Cooke as Becky Sharp, and also Suranne Jones.

The Little Drummer Girl

Autumn BBC1

Florence Pugh

Following the success of The Night Manager, The Ink Factory — the production company owned by John le Carré’s sons, Stephen and Simon Cornwell — brings to life another of their father’s works. Starring Florence Pugh and Alexander Skarsgård.


Autumn BBC1

Ben Chaplin (Getty, EH)

Mike Bartlett (Doctor Foster) explores the lives of journalists at fictional tabloid The Post and rival broadsheet The Herald. Starring Ben Chaplin and Charlotte Riley.


Autumn BBC1

Luther Idris Elba

Series five has been two years in the making, but Idris Elba will finally be back to his brutal best.


Big cats

Starts Thursday 11th January at 8pm on BBC1

Big Cats (BBC, EH)

A new three-part series that takes viewers inside the world of cats — from mighty lions in Tanzania to tiny Sri Lankan rusty spotted cats. It reveals their lives to be much more complex than we ever thought.

The Pilgrimage

February BBC2

The Pilgrimage (BBC, EH)

Debbie McGee, the Rev Kate Bottley and Ed Byrne are among seven modern-day pilgrims who walk the medieval Camino de Santiago in northern Spain to explore the spiritual meaning of pilgrimage.


February BBC2

Aerials of Indonesia (Getty, EH)

From the Indonesian island community who exhume their dead and take selfies, to the nuns whose religious observance involves plucking out their hair – curious rituals from around the world, brought to you by the makers of Human Planet.


March BBC2

Civilisations (BBC, EH)

The long-awaited – and somewhat overdue – reboot of the classic 1969 Kenneth Clark art history series, this time presented by David Olusoga, Mary Beard and Simon Schama. It’s the story of the art of societies from around the globe, told in nine parts.


Spring BBC1

Serengeti (Getty, EH)

Daily dramas in Tanzania’s famous wildlife park are brought to life using innovative filming techniques, including drones and “spy” cameras. Simon Fuller, the man behind brand Beckham, is backing the project.


Autumn BBC1

Lions (Getty, EH)

The big natural history offering of 2018, this series from Mike Gunton, the man responsible for Planet Earth II, follows five different animal families as they build a dynastic legacy.


Inside No 9

Started Tuesday 2nd January at 9pm on BBC2

Inside No 9 (BBC, EH)

Reece Shearsmith and Steve Pemberton are back with more farcical fun.


Spring BBC2

lesley manville mum bbc

Lesley Manville stars in series two of this sitcom playing a widow rebuilding her life with her eccentric, trying but loving family.

Cunk on Britain

Spring BBC2

Diane Morgan Motherland (BBC, EH)

The rather confused commentator from Charlie Brooker’s Weekly Wipe gets her own series, in which she asks profound questions about our country’s past.

The Generation Game

Later this year BBC1

Mel and Sue (Getty, EH)

Mel and Sue present the new incarnation of the family game show that Bruce Forsyth hosted for so long. Get ready for that conveyor belt of prizes…


Spring BBC2

Episodes cast (Getty, EH)

Final series of the comedy starring Matt LeBlanc, Tamsin Grieg and Stephen Mangan. Matt’s acting career is long gone as he becomes a game show host.

Young Sheldon

Early 2018

Young Sheldon pic

E4 This Big Bang Theory spin-off rewinds to Sheldon’s childhood — and finds him just as unusual as he is in his 30s.

Hang Ups

Spring C4

Stephen Mangan

A comedy starring Stephen Mangan as a therapist who treats patients via webcam as his own life falls apart. The series is adapted from Lisa Kudrow’s Web Therapy.

Alan Partridge

Later this year BBC1

Steve Coogan as Alan Partridge

After a stint at Sky, Steve Coogan brought Partridge back to the BBC for a festive edition – and to mark his 25th anniversary we’re promised a new series.