The Following (Sky Atlantic, soon)
A gory US thriller, following on the heels of Dexter and American Horror Story but made by the mainstream network channel Fox, about a cop (Kevin Bacon) locked in battle with a serial killer (James Purefoy) who loves Edgar Allen Poe. The buzz from the States is good, even if some of the promotional billboards have caused a stir. The shot of a near-naked woman apparently about to gouge out her own eye with a dagger, for instance…
Broadchurch (ITV1, winter)
Check the cast for this six-parter by Doctor Who writer Chris Chibnall: David Tennant, Olivia Colman, Vicky McClure, Andrew Buchan, Jodie Whittaker, Arthur Darvill. The story’s about a small coastal town rocked by the death of a child and the subsequent media frenzy; while the family struggle to cope, their policewoman friend (Colman) investigates but must learn to work with the new man in charge (Tennant).
Revolution (Sky1, winter)
Ready for another big conceptual US drama that will probably go on for ever? Yes? Right. This one’s set in a world where something weird has happened and electricity doesn’t work/exist any more – law and order has broken down, farming and whittling are back in vogue, the United States has split into five territories, and the new rulers are militias and warlords. One family, though, has some sort of pendant/USB drive that might fix everything. It all sounds perfectly sensible to us. JJ Abrams is involved, and Jon “Iron Man” Favreau directs ep1.
Run (C4, early spring)
There’s new talent writing and acting for this drama series, which tells four contemporary, apparently unrelated stories. Lennie James (Line of Duty) plays a middle-aged heroin addict trying to stay clean so he can re-establish his relationship with his daughter, while Jaime Winstone is a stripper who finds her dead boyfriend had another woman as well as a mess of debt and other problems. Olivia Colman co-stars, and there are several new faces found through open auditions, and a script by first-timers Marlon Smith and Daniel Fajemisin-Duncan.
Count Arthur Strong (BBC2, spring)
The long-awaited TV version of the Radio 4 comedy stalwart offers fans the chance to see Steve Delaney’s hapless veteran entertainer as well as hear him. Will it transfer? It should: Delaney’s main collaborator behind the camera is IT Crowd writer/director Graham Linehan. Rory Kinnear (Black Mirror) and Ben Willbond (The Thick of It) co-star. Linehan says it’s “some of the funniest stuff I’ve ever been involved with”, which means something coming from him. “I don’t want to jinx it, but it’s pretty special.”
Heading Out (BBC2, spring)
Sue Perkins began life as a comedian, but has found fame – and an army of affectionate fans – as a reality contestant (Maestro), panellist (Just a Minute) and presenter (Supersizers). Now, with her popularity greater than ever thanks to The Great British Bake Off, she’s finally penned her first comedy for TV. Perkins herself stars as Sara, a successful woman who has still not told her parents she is gay despite being nearly 40. The rest of the cast is top-drawer: Steve Pemberton, Dawn French, Nicola Walker, Shelly Conn, Raquel Cassidy, June Brown (yes, Dot from EastEnders)… and Mel Giedroyc.
Vicious (ITV1, tbc)
Derek Jacobi seems to be reinventing himself as a comic – but still peerlessly good – TV actor, what with Last Tango In Halifax, his just-filmed role as a man in a pram in This Is Jinsy and this sitcom, where he’s the other half of a dream casting along with Ian McKellen. They play a couple who have lived in the same Covent Garden flat for nearly half a century and once had exciting metropolitan lifestyles, but spend their time in retirement walking their dogs and bickering. Rising Damp’s Frances de la Tour co-stars.
The Wrong Mans (BBC3, tbc)
Mathew Baynton had a small part in Gavin & Stacey – since then he’s become much more visible through roles in Horrible Histories, Spy and Peep Show. Now he’s back with G&S star James Corden, writing and starring in a comedy thriller the two of them conceived on set four years ago. Baynton and Corden play two humble office workers who become embroiled in a criminal conspiracy after Baynton’s character answers a ringing phone at the scene of a car crash. They realise they must step up and save the day despite being berks. It starts filming this month.
Hinterland (BBC4, tbc)
You’ve had Nordic Noir. Now it’s time for… Welsh noir. This moody detective series is set in Aberystwyth, was co-produced by S4C and has been filmed in Welsh and English, with the actors shooting scenes in one language, then the other. Richard Harrington plays the troubled DCI Tom Mathias, who’s trying to leave behind his difficult past in London. Could it be another Killing for BBC4? Who better to judge than the people who brought us Sarah Lund, Danish broadcasters DR? They’ve bought up the Danish TV rights to Hinterland already.
By Any Means (BBC1, spring/summer)
Are you missing Hustle, Hunted, Spooks and other exciting, glossy dramas with one-word titles? This new series by Hustle creator Tony Jordan might, despite those extra two words, be for you. It’s about a clandestine police department, led by a maverick cop – they step in when the legal system fails and set traps for the criminal elite, using any means necessary to bring them down to Chinatown. They hustle them into prison, basically.
Southcliffe (C4, summer/autumn)
Kaya Scodelario – who also returns this year to the show that launched her, Skins – leads a quality cast for this four-part drama about a shooting spree in a small town. Also starring are fellow Skins alumnus Joe Dempsie, Shirley Henderson, Rory Kinnear and Eddie Marsan. It’s written by Tony Grisoni (Red Riding) but perhaps the most interesting hire is the director: it’s the first UK television project for Sean Durkin, who made the 2011 independent US film Martha Marcy May Marlene.
Inside No9 (BBC2, autumn)
Six intense, claustrophobic one-off stories form an anthology of comedy horror by Reece Shearsmith and Steve Pemberton. The League of Gentlemen stars and Psychoville creators have attracted a fine cast to the new project: Gemma Arterton, Anne Reid, Timothy West, Anna Chancellor and many others. Three episodes are in the can with the rest shooting in the summer.
Malachy’s Millions (C4, tbc)
Peter Kay goes back towards his character-comedy roots with this one-off, hour-long special, without abandoning spoofery altogether: in what’s clearly a take on Secret Millionaire, he plays Malachy Mooney, a coach-trip magnate who trades in his luxury lifestyle to live undercover in a desolate former mining town. It’s been written for Kay by Jo Enright and Lorna Burke and is produced by comedy giant Baby Cow.
PLUS THE RETURN OF…
Arrested Develoment (Netflix, spring)
Yes, it’s actually happening! In the seven years since it was axed by Fox there have been almost daily rumours of a return for Mitchell Hurwitz’s brilliant Bluth family-based comedy. Would there be a movie, a YouTube series or would a new network pick up the critically acclaimed sitcom? Well, Netflix answered that question last year, and in May we’re expecting them to splurge the whole of series four across the world at once. All hail the return of Jason Bateman, Portia de Rossi, Will Arnett, Michael Cera, David Cross and company – you have been missed… Now, how do we susbscribe to Netflix?
Black Mirror (C4, winter)
How can Charlie Brooker (who also launches a weekly version of his Wipes in 2013) possibly top the very first episode of dystopian drama Black Mirror, where the Prime Minister had sex with a pig live on television? Not long until we find out… back in August, during the writing process, Brooker told Radio Times: “The stories are all a different genre: one is almost an unrelenting chase; another is an absurd premise taken to a logical conclusion; another is a sort of romance, but more of a heartbreaker, quite a sweet idea.” Sweet, huh? We’ll see.
Being Human (BBC3, winter)
The last original member of our supernatural flatshare checked out at the end of last series, leaving us with Hal the vampire, Tom the werewolf and new recruit Alex the ghost (Kate Bracken). There’s a new villain, too, played by Phil Davis, and described as “extremely horrible” and “absolutely disgusting”.
Doctor Who (BBC1, spring)
Details of the remaining eight episodes of this seriesare scarce but we do know that Steven Moffat has asked writer Neil Gaiman to “make the Cybermen scary again” and that the Doctor will be taking a Journey to the Centre of the Tardis, and facing a foe that lurks within a Wi-Fi signal….
Game of Thrones (Sky Atlantic, April)
After inspiring a successful defence of King’s Landing, Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage) has been excommunicated from the royal court by his father and shut away. Watching the dwarf genius work his way back into influence will be a highlight of this series. As will seeing Daenerys Targaryen’s baby dragons grow up…
Sherlock (BBC1, autumn)
Rat, Wedding and Bow are the three words Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat dropped as clues to what’s in store in the next run of feature-length episodes – and one of them might just indicate that the detective will be taking on his final case. Before all that, though, we want to know exactly how he survived that fall…