In celebration of International Women’s Day 2020, we’ve compiled a list of the most exciting upcoming television penned by women.
From returning series Killing Eve and Sex Education, to new drama like Billie Piper’s I Hate Suzie and comedy thriller Run (written by Fleabag’s original theatre director Vicky Jones), here are the best female-written shows to look forward to.
Written by Nicole Taylor, BBC One, 2020
Written by Nicole Taylor, who penned the Bafta-winning BBC drama Three Girls, The Nest is a surrogacy thriller about a wealthy couple (Line of Duty’s Martin Compston, using his real Scottish accent, and Gentleman Jack’s Sophie Rundle) living in an affluent area of Glasgow who making a life-changing decision when they ask a teenage girl to carry their baby.
Written by Vicky Jones, Sky Comedy and NOW TV, on Wednesday 15th April 2020
Domhnall Gleeson (Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker) and Emmy winner Merritt Wever (Unbelievable) play two people who dated in college but have since drifted apart. Around 17 years ago, they made a pact that if ever they each texted the word ‘RUN’, they would drop everything and go travelling across America… The comedy thriller is written by Vicky Jones, who directed the original Fleabag theatre production, while Phoebe Waller-Bridge will cameo.
Written by Lucy Prebble, Sky Atlantic and NOW TV, 2020
Billie Piper is reuniting with Secret Diary of a Call Girl writer Lucy Prebble for this Sky original drama about Suzie Pickles, a star on the wane whose phone is hacked, and images of her in a “compromising position” are leaked. The devastated Pickles goes through the various stages of grief — Shock, Denial, Fear, Shame, Bargaining, Guilt, Anger and Acceptance — as she reexamines her career and marriage.
Written by Lucy Kirkwood, Channel 4, 2020
Hayley Squires stars in this four-part examination of the adult film industry told from the perspective from one of the UK’s top performers, Jolene Dollar (Squires), whose life begins to unravel when she meets 19-year-old Amy on set. The series is penned by Lucy Kirkwood, who last year adapted her Olivier Award-winning stage play Chimerica for Channel 4.
Written by Sally Wainwright, BBC One and HBO, air date TBC
Sally Wainwright’s tale of the “first modern lesbian” Anne Lister will return for a second series, starring Suranne Jones (Doctor Foster) as the real-life, formidable 19th century woman Anne Lister, and Sophie Rundle as Ann Walker, her wealthy love interest and eventual ‘wife’.
Written by Suzanne Heathcote, BBC iPlayer, air date TBC
Suzanne Heathcote (Fear the Walking Dead) takes over from Emerald Fennell as showrunner for the third season of Killing Eve, which follows MI5 agent Eve Polastri (Sandra Oh) as she becomes obsessed with catching the psychopath assassin Villanelle (Jodie Comer) – who in turn also becomes obsessed with Eve.
Back to Life series 2
Written by Daisy Haggard and Laura Solon, BBC Three, air date TBC
Starring and co-written by Daisy Haggard, series one of this dark comedy followed a thirty-something ex-convict, Miri, who returns to her parent’s house and attempts to navigate civilian life. Produced by Fleabag‘s Harry and Jack Williams, the show was commissioned for a second season in November 2019.
Written by Charlie Covell, Netflix, 2021
The End of the F***ing World creator Charlie Covell has penned a modern reimagining of Greek mythology for Netflix. Speaking exclusively to RadioTimes.com, Covell revealed that the series will combine dark comedy with a “Game of Thrones scale,” beginning with off an episode on Orpheus and Eurydice (both characters in Greek myth). She also revealed that filming should start in June 2020.
Written by Laurie Nunn, Netflix, air date TBC
Sex Education fans will be relieved to know that the comedy-drama series about Otis (Asa Butterfield), a teenage sex therapist, has been renewed for a third season, after many were left dissatisfied by the season two cliffhanger ending that left things unresolved between Otis and his longtime crush, Maeve (Emma Mackey).
Written by Emer Kenny, ITV, air date TBC
Harlots writer Emer Kenny is adapting the first in Val McDermid’s series of detective novels, which follows Scottish detective Karen Pirie as she is tasked with investigating a cold case that’s since become the topic of a new and provocative true crime podcast.
Written by Sally Rooney, BBC Three and Hulu, 2020
Sally Rooney has adapted her bestselling novel Normal People into a BBC series, which, like the book, will follow teenagers Marianne and Connell, as they navigate first school and then university at Trinity College Dublin, as they fall in and out of love with one another.
Written by Katherine Ryan, Netflix, air date TBC
Comedian Katherine Ryan has written and is set to star in a new sitcom about a “fashionably disruptive single mom” whose greatest love is her young daughter, Olive, and who is conflicted over whether or not to have another child with Olive’s father (who happens to be her greatest nemesis).
Naomi Alderman, Amazon, air date TBC
Author Naomi Alderman will form part of an all-female team adapting her bestselling dystopian sci-fi novel, The Power, for Amazon Prime. The novel sees women across the globe discover an ancient ability to electrocute others with their hands, and they quickly become the dominant gender. Leslie Mann (Knocked Up, This Is 40) is set to play an ambitious female politician, Margot Cleary-Lopez.
Written by Alice Bell and Lulu Wang, Amazon, air date TBC
Alice Bell (The Beautiful Lie) and Lulu Wang (The Farewell) are serving as writers and executive producers on Amazon’s upcoming series The Expatriates, based on Janice Y.K. Lee’s novel about female expats in Hong Kong, and starring Oscar-winner and Big Little Lies star Nicole Kidman.
Call the Midwife series 10
Written by Heidi Thomas, BBC One, air date TBC
We’re heading back to Nonnatus House and the streets of east London, following the news that the BBC has commissioned a 10th series of Call the Midwife, the beloved period drama starring Jenny Agutter (Sister Julienne), Linda Bassett (Nurse Crane), Judy Parfitt (Sister Monica Joan), Helen George (Trixie), Laura Main (Shelagh Turner) and Jennifer Kirby (Valerie).
Written by Sally Wainwright, BBC One, air date TBC
Screenwriter Sally Wainwright has confirmed that she’s planning a third series, telling RadioTimes.com that she’s “got lots of strands and story ideas” about her beloved heroine, police sergeant Catherine Cawood (played by Last Tango in Halifax’s Sarah Lancashire).
Written by Sharon Horgan, Holly Walsh, and Barunka O’Shaughnessy, BBC Two, 2020
Sharon Horgan’s comedy about the playground politics of school parents will return for a third season, with Anna Maxwell Martin reprising her role as a mother starting a freelance business from her bedroom, which she juggles alongside playdates with yoga-pants-wearing yummy mummies.
Written by Amanda Coe, BBC One, 2020
Based on Rumer Godden’s 1939 book of the same name, the BBC’s next prestige period drama will star Gemma Arterton as Sister Clodagh, a nun who is tasked with setting up a a branch of her order in the palace of Mopu, in the remote Himalayan mountains. However, both Sister Clodagh and the unstable Sister Ruth find themselves “increasingly attracted” to a local land agent, as Sister Clodagh grapples with unwanted memories of her past. Screenwriter Amanda Coe (The Trial Of Christine Keeler) is adapting the novel.
Sophia Al-Maria, Sky Atlantic, 2020
Filming has begun on Sky Atlantics’s Little Birds, an upcoming six-part period drama set in in colonial Tangier in 1955, and which will star Juno Temple and Fleabag’s Hugo Skinner. Inspired by Anais Nin’s collection of erotic short stories, we will follow a young American debutant (played by Temple).
Written by Eleanor Catton, BBC Two, 2020
Eleanor Catton has adapted her Man Booker Prize-winning novel into a six-part BBC Two drama, set against the backdrop of New Zealand’s South Island during the nineteenth century gold rush. Like the book, the series is set to feature a large ensemble cast (in Catton’s novel, each character represents a zodiac sign or planets in the solar system), including Casino Royale’s Eva Green.
GLOW series 4
Written by Liz Flahive and Carly Mensch, Netflix, 2020
The Gorgeous Ladies Of Wrestling will be returning to the ring one last time, following the announcement that Netflix’s popular and Emmy-winning 80s-set drama will finish after its fourth season. The show’s lead stars lead stars Alison Brie, Betty Gilpin, Marc Maron and Britney Young are all expected to return for its final outing.