There’s a trend emerging on UK television at the moment, with many Sunday-evening drama hits of yesteryear being reimagined for modern audiences.
The craze began, of course, with the wildly successful Poldark and has continued with proposed new runs for Bergerac and – as has now been revealed – All Creatures Great and Small. James Herriot’s cosy veterinary tales are returning on Channel 5 for a new six-part series (including a Christmas special) next year, news which should delight fans of the original starring Christopher Timothy, which ran between 1977 and 1990.
But is there scope for some other former ratings winners making their way back into the schedules? And what might they look like the second time around?
Netflix secures the rights to the hit business-and-boating saga and turns it into a gritty ten-part series that sees boat-yard owner Tom Howard (David Morrissey) become the pawn in Ken Masters’s (Lennie James) plan to smuggle drugs from Tarrant into Europe.
Grizzled right-hand man Jack Rolfe (Anthony Hopkins in a recurring role) tries to act as the voice of conscience, but with financial pressures mounting, cash-strapped Tom might be forced to put profit before principles.
Co-starring Matthew Goode as Charles Frere, Katherine Kelly as Jan Howard, Alice Eve as Lynne Howard, Freddie Highmore as Leo Howard and Jan Harvey as Kate Harvey.
Monarch of the Glen
Archie returns to Glenbogle and reassumes the mantle of Laird after his brother Paul meets with an unfortunate accident (details TBC. He may have been inadvertently shot on a hunting trip by hapless Duncan).
Archie is accompanied by his wife Lexie and their late-teenaged twins Brodie and Arabella, who soon catch the eye of potential suitors in the neighbourhood. The family’s reappearance gives a new lease of life to ageing dowager Molly (still played by Susan Hampshire), while Julian Fellowes guest stars in the Christmas special as Kilwillie, who resurfaces, having grown disillusioned with life in London after unwisely swapping his castle for a joyless bachelor pad in Belgravia.
The 1980s are as far from 2019 as the 1960s were from 1992. So how about repositioning Heartbeat in 1985, with Michaela Coel trying to cut it in a policing outpost rife with barely suppressed sexism and racism? Sister show The Royal could deal with the implementation of Thatcher’s internal market policies within the NHS and star a put-upon James Nesbitt.
Basically, it’s Juliet Bravo and Casualty reimagined as period pieces, with sentimentality stripped away for this more cynical age.
Two options here. Either Trevor Eve returns as the original Eddie Shoestring (now working on a golden oldies radio network, where the station manager just happens to get bumped off in the pilot episode). Or we get a complete retooling of the story with a younger Eddie making a living filming YouTube videos or recording podcasts about true crimes, only to then get a message from a follower, which reads: “I will kill”. Thinking it’s a crank, Eddie ignores it, but then gets a second message a week later saying: “I will kill AGAIN.” Does he have a real-life murderer as a fan? And can he reveal the psychopath’s identity in a world of fake IP addresses and VPNs? We’re thinking Richard Ayoade in the lead role…
Talk of a new series of Lovejoy comes around periodically, but we’ve yet to see a revival realised on screen. Which seems like madness, seeing as there’s so much potential. Either Ian McShane returns as Lovejoy Sr, with Kit Harington doing the running around as Lovejoy Jr (potential show title: Lovejoy & Son). Or it’s a reboot, with McShane lookalike Rufus Sewell as the antiques dealer and Keeley Hawes getting in on the on-off romance action as the aristocratic Lady Jane Felsham. In this scenario, McShane is recurring as eccentric expert Tinker Dill.