The best TV dramas airing in autumn 2018

From Vanity Fair to War of the Worlds, from Luther to Victoria, from The Little Drummer Girl to Bodyguard – here's what we'll be watching this autumn

autumn drama 2018

After the quiet months of summer, autumn is the season when the TV schedules are suddenly packed with new and much-loved returning dramas to watch – and 2018 is no exception.


From period adaptations to modern thrillers, there are plenty of new series heading our way courtesy of the BBC, ITV, Netflix, Sky and more. But what will you be watching?

Check out our list of the best TV dramas airing in autumn 2018 below.

Vanity Fair – ITV

Vanity Fair cast

This slick, funny adaptation of William Makepeace Thackeray’s Vanity Fair stars Olivia Cooke as antihero Becky Sharp, the penniless orphan determined to rise in society by any means necessary. Read more

Wanderlust – BBC1


Hollywood actress Toni Collette leads the cast of Wanderlust, described by the BBC as “a searingly insightful and funny exploration of the relationships of a multi-generational family.” Read more

Strangers – ITV


John Simm stars as Professor Jonah Mulray, who receives a devastating phone call: his wife Megan has died in Hong Kong, where she lived and worked for six months of the year. He flies over to identify her remains – but he is “drawn deeper and deeper into a web of conspiracy” as he discovers the truth about his wife’s other life. Read more

A Discovery of Witches – Sky 1

A Discovery of Witches

This supernatural romance stars Teresa Palmer as American academic (and witch) Diana Bishop, with British Matthew Goode as geneticist (and vampire) Matthew Clairmont. It’s based on the novel of the same name by Deborah Harkness. Read more

Doctor Who – BBC1

Jodie Whittaker in a Doctor Who series 11 poster (BBC, HF)

Yes, at last! Doctor Who is back this autumn, with Jodie Whittaker at the helm as the Thirteenth Doctor. Read more

Maniac – Netflix

Maniac starring Emma Stone and Jonah Hill

Superbad duo Emma Stone and Jonah Hill have reunited for Netflix’s dark comedy Maniac. They’ll play “two strangers who find themselves caught up in a mind-bending pharmaceutical trial gone awry” in a series which also stars Sally Field, Justin Theroux and Jemima Kirke. Read more

Bodyguard – BBC1


Keeley Hawes has reunited with Line of Duty creator Jed Mercurio for this new BBC drama, in which she plays a Home Secretary who is assigned a bodyguard (Richard Madden) for her protection. But will he preserve her safety – or become her biggest threat? Read more

Press – BBC1


Doctor Foster screenwriter Mike Bartlett is back with a BBC drama promising to explore the “fast-paced and challenging environment of the British newspaper industry” in a time of “turmoil.” It stars Charlotte Riley, Ben Chaplin and David Suchet. Read more

Dark Heart – ITV

From Chris Lang (writer of Unforgotten) comes this six-part drama. The pilot originally aired on now-defunct channel ITV Encore, but it went down so well that it now has a full series. Tom Riley stars as DI Will Wagstaffe, a cop haunted by the murder of his parents when he was a teenager. The series will see him trying to solve brutal crimes while also attempting to hold his fractured life together. Read more

The Cry – BBC1

Alexandra (ASHER KEDDIE), Chloe (MARKELLA KAVENAGH), Alistair (EWAN LESLIE), Joanna (JENNA COLEMAN), Elizabeth (STELLA GONET) - (C) Synchronicity - Photographer: Lachlan Moore

Victoria star Jenna Coleman will star in BBC1 thriller The Cry – a drama about a young mother whose newborn baby is abducted in Australia. Read more

The Little Drummer Girl – BBC1

Alexander Skarsgård as Becker, Florence Pugh as Charlie Ross - The Little Drumer Girl _ Season 1, Episode 3 - Photo Credit: © 2018 The Little Drummer Girl Distribution Limited. All rights reserved. TL, BBC

The team behind The Night Manager have reunited for another John le Carré adaptation. Florence Pugh, Michael Shannon, Alexander Skarsgård and Charles Dance are lined up to star in a seventies tale of international plots and espionage. Read more

House of Cards – Netflix

House Of Cards (Netflix, BA)

House of Cards is set to return with Robin Wright (Claire Underwood) in the lead role after allegations against Kevin Spacey (Frank Underwood) forced a delay in production and a change of direction for season six. Read more

Butterfly – ITV

Three-part drama Butterfly centres around Vicky (Anna Friel), the mother of a transgender child. According to a programme description from ITV, Butterfly “follows the story of an 11-year-old boy, Max, who makes the huge decision that he wants to live life as a girl.” Max begins to live life as Maxine – but her separated parents are fundamentally divided about how to support her. Read more

Black Earth Rising – BBC2

Black Earth Rising - 'First Look'

Chewing Gum’s Michaela Coel and Roseanne actor John Goodman star in war crimes thriller Black Earth Rising. Hugo Blick’s new drama tackles the prosecution of international war crimes and the personal, legal and political storm this ignites, with Coel playing Kate Ashby – a woman who was rescued as a young child during the Rwandan genocide and adopted by Eve Ashby (Harriet Walter), a world class British prosecutor in international criminal law. Read more

The War of the Worlds – BBC1


Eleanor Tomlinson and Rafe Spall star in this adaptation of the HG Wells sci-fi classic. Their characters are George and Amy, a couple attempting to start a life together amidst the chaos of an alien invasion. Read more

Trust – BBC2

Donald Sutherland Amanda Drew BBC2 Trust

BBC2 has imported this US drama. Danny Boyle’s latest show tells the real-life story of the kidnapping of John Paul Getty III – the heir to the Gettys’ oil billions – and features an all-star cast including Donald Sutherland, Hilary Swank, Brendan Fraser, Harris Dickinson, Charlotte Riley and Anna Chancellor. Read more

Mother’s Day – BBC2

Vicky McClure and David Wilmot as Sue and Arthur McHugh in Mother's Day

This one-off BBC drama stars Vicky McClure and Anna Maxwell Martin and looks at the aftermath of the Warrington bombings. Two young children were killed and dozens were injured when two small bombs exploded on 20th March 1993. Read more

The Good Place – Netflix

Eleanor and Michael in The Good Place

Season three of this Netflix and NBC comedy about the afterlife takes us back to the Good Place (or the Bad Place) and stars Ted Danson, Kristen Bell, William Jackson Harper, Jameela Jamil and Manny Mendoza. Read more

Killing Eve – BBC1

Killing Eve, the new spy drama from Fleabag’s Phoebe Waller Bridge, is due to air on the BBC this autumn, after going down a storm over in the USA. It stars Grey’s Anatomy actress Sandra Oh as Eve, a bored MI5 security officer, and Jodie Comer as Villanelle, a “fearsome assassin.” Read more

Outlander – Amazon Prime Video

Outlander Season 3 finale

In season four of Outlander, Claire (Caitriona Balfe) and Jamie (Sam Heughan) find themselves in colonial Georgia. Based on the Diana Gabaldon Outlander novel The Drums of Autumn, the couple will face new challenges as they attempt to build a new life for themselves in the American colonies. Read more

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