The best upcoming BBC dramas to look forward to - YOU Magazine (2023)

TV fans will be pleased to know there is a host of exciting new dramas winging their way to the BBC in the next year. We’ve already seen the return of much-loved series such as Killing Eve andPeaky Blinders, and the highly-anticipated book adaptations of Conversationswith Friends and Everything I Know About Love. But there are loads more new releases on the horizon, too. There really is something for everyone, whether you’re a crime drama nut or just love period dramas. Here are a few upcoming TV shows in the next year to get excited about…

The best upcoming BBC dramas

WATERLOO ROAD

Fans of school-based drama Waterloo Road, which originally aired from 2006 to 2015, will be pleased to know it’s making a comeback in January 2023.

Fans have been treated to a glimpse of the new upcoming drama as a set of first-look images of cast members have been released.

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In the photos, a peaceful protest turns into a school riot and the events of the day will have huge ramifications for everyone involved.

Angela Griffin is back as Kim Campbell and is now Headteacher of the school, Adam Thomas is returning as Donte Charles and Katie Griffiths is returning as Chlo Charles.

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Across the term, Waterloo Road’s teachers and parents are going to have to learn on their feet as they try to navigate the ever changing social landscape – from teen homelessness to the cost of living, being LGBTQ+, racism, sexism, mental health and everything else facing young teens today.

Amongst the chaos, the students, faculty and parents still make time for friendships, fun, and a few romances. The pupils have a lot to contend with this term, but they will learn to lean on one another to survive the year and try to stay out of detention as much as possible.

Release date: January, BBC One

THIS TOWN

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Michelle Dockery (Downton Abbey, Anatomy of a Scandal), Nicholas Pinnock (Life, Marcella) and David Dawson (My Policeman, The Last Kingdom) will be among the cast of This Town, the major new drama from Peaky Blinders and SAS Rogue Heroes creator Steven Knight.

This Town tells the story of an extended family and four young people who are drawn into the world of ska and two-tone music, which exploded from the grass roots of Coventry and Birmingham in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s, uniting black, white and Asian youths.

Release date: TBC

SILENT WITNESS

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Silent Witness returns to BBC One in January with two new recruits joining Dr Nikki Alexander (Emilia Fox) and Jack Hodgson (David Caves) for five thrilling stories, told over ten episodes.

Aki Omoshaybi plays Gabriel Folukoya, an academic, neurologist and pathologist who has spent much of his career in innovative research, primarily in the field of data analysis.

Alastair Michael plays Velvy Schur, the Lyell’s new APT (Anatomical Pathology Technologist) trainee. Velvy has recently left his ultra-Orthodox Jewish community and is now finding his own path.

The new series also sees Jack’s niece Cara Connelly (Rhiannon May) return as a more regular character; arriving unexpectedly from Belfast to announce she is starting a university course in Criminology, giving Jack little choice but to let her stay with him while she studies. Cara soon wins her uncle around, excelling in her studies and proving a future professional match for Jack.

Release date: January, BBC One

SHUGGIE BAIN

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Douglas Stuart, author of the 2020 Booker Prize-winning novel Shuggie Bain, is adapting his novel for BBC One and iPlayer, it has been announced.

Set during the 1980s, Shuggie Bain is the unforgettable story of a mother-son relationship in working class Glasgow. Shuggie’s mother Agnes – a luminous, glamourous star she has always believed herself to be – dreams of a house with its own front door, ordering a little happiness on credit. Agnes finds increasing solace in drink, and she drains away the lion’s share of each week’s benefits – all the family has to live on. To Shuggie, an effeminate boy who struggles to fit in, Agnes is his guiding light. He cares for her as she battles with alcoholism while he struggles to become the normal boy he desperately longs to be.

A heart-breaking story of pride, sexuality, addiction, and love, Shuggie Bain is inspired by Douglas Stuart’s own childhood in Thatcher-years Glasgow and is a powerful portrayal of a working-class family with a very important story to tell.

Release date: TBC

BOILING POINT

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Stephen Graham’s film Boiling Point is getting a TV adaptation for the BBC, it has been revealed.

The intense one-shot movie, which focuses on the action in a busy London kitchen, received rave reviews on its release, as well as scooping up four awards at the British Independent Film Awards. Its TV adaptation will not use the same one-shot technique, but instead will be spread over five episodes, picking up the story six months after the film ended.

Many of the cast will be back for the TV version, Variety reports, including Line of Duty star Graham as Andy, Vinette Robinson as Carly, and Hannah Walters as Emily.

Watch the trailer for the original film below:

Release date: TBC

HAPPY VALLEY

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Sarah Lancashire will return to her role as Sergeant Catherine Cawood in the third and final series of Happy Valley, while James Norton again plays her nemesis, the murderer and sex offender Tommy Lee Royce.

The BBC synopsis says ‘When Catherine discovers the remains of a gangland murder victim in a drained reservoir it sparks a chain of events that unwittingly leads her straight back to Tommy Lee Royce.

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‘Her grandson Ryan is now sixteen and still living with Catherine, but he has ideas of his own about what kind of relationship he wants to have with the man Catherine refuses to acknowledge as his father.

‘Still battling the seemingly never-ending problem of drugs in the valley and those who supply them, Catherine is on the cusp of retirement.’

Release date: TBC

MAYFLIES

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Line of Duty star Martin Compston will join Ashley Jensen and Tony Curran in a Scottish drama called Mayflies. First look images have just been released for the drama, which is adapted from Andrew O’Hagan’s acclaimed novel of the same name.

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Everyone has a Tully Dawson (Curran) – the friend who defines your life. In the summer of 1986, in a small Scottish town, Jimmy (Compston) and Tully ignite a brilliant friendship based on music, films and the rebel spirit. With school over and the locked world of their fathers before them, they rush towards the climax of their youth – a magical weekend in Manchester, the epicentre of everything that inspires them in working-class Britain. There, against the greatest soundtrack ever recorded, a vow is made: to go at life differently. Thirty years on, half a life away, the phone rings. Tully has the worst kind of news, and a request that will test their friendship, love, and loyalty to the limit…

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Mayflies is a memorial to youth’s euphoria and to everyday tragedy. A tender goodbye to an old union, it discovers the joy and the costs of love.

Release date: TBC, BBC One

THE WOMAN IN THE WALL

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This newly-commissioned drama, starring The Affair‘s Ruth Wilson will examine the legacy of one of Ireland’s most shocking scandals – the inhumane institutions known as ‘The Magdalene Laundries’.

Lorna Brady (Wilson) is a woman from the small, fictional town of Kilkinure, who wakes one morning to find a corpse in her house. Chillingly, Lorna has no idea who the dead woman is or if she herself might be responsible for the apparent murder…

That’s because Lorna has long suffered from extreme bouts of sleepwalking, understood to have manifested around the time she was ripped from her life at the age of 15 and incarcerated in the Kilkinure Convent. The Convent was home Magdalene Laundries, a place where women were taken when they fell afoul of the social mores of their times – from those accused of committing adultery to teenage pregnancies. When it finally closed its doors, a score of survivors were left suffering in its wake. Very few women were able to go on and lead relatively normal lives, and others, such as Lorna, were even less fortunate in their fate. One thing all survivors had in common, is that none of them would ever forget.

Unluckily for Lorna, the extremely ambitious, albeit elusive Detective Colman Akande (Daryl McCormack) is now also on her tail for a crime which is seemingly unrelated to the dead woman she’s discovered in her house. Colman quickly rose through the ranks of the Garda Síochána thanks to his natural aptitude for the job. He possesses a dark and sometimes scathing wit but there is a quiet sadness to him that even he doesn’t understand, and he’s hiding his own secrets from the world…

Release date: TBC

CHAMPION

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Champion is the first TV project for Candice Carty-Williams, author of bestselling novel Queenie, and tells the explosive story of what happens when fame collides with family.

Rap sensation Bosco Champion is home from prison, and ready to dominate the music industry once more. But when his dutiful younger sister Vita’s own talent is discovered by Bosco’s rival, Bulla, she steps out of her brother’s shadow to become a performer in her own right, setting the Champion siblings against one another and tearing apart the whole family in the process.

A love letter to Black British music set in south London, Champion is a celebration of a sound that has long been the beating heart of our culture.Candice Carty-Williams says: ‘Since I knew what music was, I’ve loved grime and UK rap and neo-soul, to the point of obsession, and to bring to BBC One in the U.K. and Netflix globally a series that gives these genres of music life and texture is my dream, as is working with some of the best producers and songwriters making music today to create original tracks for the show.’

Release date: TBC

TEN POUND POMS

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Michelle Keegan has been cast alongside Luther’s Warren Brown and Game of Thrones‘ Faye Marsay in this new six-part BBC drama.

The series follows a group of Brits as they leave dreary post-war Britain in 1956 to embark on a life-altering adventure on the other side of the world. For only a tenner, they have been promised a better house, better job prospects and a better quality of life by the sea in sun-soaked Australia.

But life down under isn’t exactly the idyllic dream the new arrivals have been promised. Struggling with their new identity as immigrants, we follow their triumphs and pitfalls as they adapt to a new life in a new country, far from Britain and familiarity.

Release date: TBC, BBC One

TWO TONE (working title)

Peaky Blinders fans listen up! The man award-winning writer behind the drama – Steven Knight – is coming back with a new show, which has just been commissioned by the BBC.

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Two Tone (which is the working, rather than official title) tells the story of an extended family and four young people who are drawn into the world of ska and two tone music, which grew from the grass roots of Coventry and Birmingham in the late 70s and early 80s. The music united black, white and Asian youths in an expression of unity.

The six-part series will start filming later this year in Birmingham.

Steven Knight says: ‘This is a project that’s literally very close to home and I’m developing characters and themes that are set in the early 80s but hopefully are very contemporary. Of course, the soundtrack will be sensational.’ Sounds ideal!

CALL THE MIDWIFE

We know series 11 only finished recently, but we’re so glad to see filming for series 12 is already underway.

BREAKING NEWS!! #CallTheMidwife begins filming for Series 12! 👶🚲 ❤️❤️❤️ >>> https://t.co/TcYgFYEChX pic.twitter.com/SYAexk1jhD

— Call the Midwife (@CallTheMidwife1) April 25, 2022

On the programmes social media, it wrote: ‘We bring you this picture straight from the Nonnatus House set, where our team began filming again just a few hours ago on a brand new Christmas Special and series 12 of Call The Midwife! This year Jenny Agutter (Sister Julienne) and Linda Bassett (Nurse Crane) were there to provide us with the traditional clapperboard shot that marks the beginning of the first scene of the new season.

‘We also hope to bring you some exclusive festive sneak peeks from our Poplar Christmas set later this week… so stay tuned! Call The Midwifewill return with a new Christmas Special and series 12 in 2023.’

While character Trixie Franklin had to leave season 11 halfway through due to Helen George’s pregnancy, fans needn’t worry anymore that she won’t be returning for season 12.Show creator Heidi Thomas told Radio Times: ‘Trixie rejoins us. And something interesting and rather wonderful will happen for Trixie this series, so she has big news coming up – which we probably won’t unveil just yet.’

Release date: 2023, BBC One

READ MORE: YOU speaks to Helen George – ‘I might be small and blonde, but I’m no pushover’

THE GOLD

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Some big names have been announced for The Gold, which is inspired by the iconic story of the Brink’s-Mat robbery and the decades-long chain of events that followed.

The cast includes Hugh Bonneville, Dominic Cooper, Jack Lowden and Charlotte Spencer.

On the 26 November 1983, six armed men broke into the Brink’s-Mat security depot near London’s Heathrow Airport, and inadvertently stumbled across gold bullion worth £26m. What started as ‘a typical Old Kent Road armed robbery’ according to detectives at the time, became a seminal event in British criminal history, remarkable not only for the scale of the theft, at the time the biggest in world history, but for its wider legacy.

The disposal of the bullion caused the birth of large-scale international money laundering, provided the dirty money that helped fuel the London Docklands property boom, united blue and white collar criminals and left controversy and murder in its wake.

Release date: 2022, BBC One

RAIN DOGS

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Starring Daisy May Cooper and written by Cash Carraway, this new eight-part drama promises a tale of brilliance thwarted by poverty and prejudice.

Costello Jones – played by Daisy – is a writer and single mother with a rock and roll swagger; a woman who appreciates the glamour of the gutter but would do anything to keep her daughter, Iris, from it.

Iris is a hustler in kid’s clothing who loves South Park, William Morris wallpaper and, more than anything, her mum. Gloria is Iris’s chaotic, directionless and utterly glorious godmother who’s running out of second chances. Selby is a boarding school boy educated on Brett Easton Ellis and Goddard, Costello’s loyal soulmate and loving tormentor.

Together they form the Rain Dogs; a makeshift family fed on defiance and chaos, and a deep but complicated love.

The show has just gone into production, so it may not be on our screens for a while, but we are already excited for this one!

Release date: TBC

BEST INTERESTS

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Written by Jack Thorne, this is a story of a family driven apart by having to make choices no parent would ever want to make. Sharon Horgan and Michael Sheen play married couple Nicci and Andrew, they have two daughters: Katie and Marnie.

Marnie has a life-threatening condition. The doctors believe it is in her best interests to be allowed to die, but her loving family disagree. And so begins a fight that will take them through every stage of a legal process, as they struggle to contemplate this huge decision. Who decides? And in whose best interests will it be?

Sharon Horgan says: ‘Best Interests broke me when I first read the script and then again after talking with Jack about it. Covid seems to have shone a closer light on the desperate inequalities that exist for our disabled community so this felt very timely.’

Michael Sheen says: ‘Jack Thorne is such an extraordinary writer and he has approached this incredibly important and urgent subject with humanity, honesty and humour. I feel very fortunate to be part of this production and to work with the brilliant Sharon Horgan and some of the most talented actors around.’

Release date: TBC

GREAT EXPECTATIONS

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Period drama fans, you won’t want to miss this. Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations is getting a new TV adaptation, and it will star none other than Oscar winner Olivia Colman.

Production has now begun on the BBC show, which will retell Dicken’s famous tale of Pip, an orphan whose story begins when he’s accosted in a graveyard by a frightening escaped convict. The novel follows him through childhood and into adulthood, and introduces a number of iconic characters.

There’s Miss Havisham, who has refused to take off her decaying wedding dress after being jilted at the altar – this legendary character will be played by Colman. There’s the beautiful but cold Estella. And then there’s Joe, the unsophisticated and kind blacksmith.

It’s not the first screen version of Great Expectations by any means, but with Colman at the helm, this is one we cannot wait to watch!

Release date: TBC

MARIE ANTOINETTE

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Fans of historical drama rejoice – BBC Two has a gift in store for you. Created and written by Deborah Davis, who was behind brilliant film The Favourite, Marie Antoinette tells the story of the incredibly modern and avant-garde young queen who was barely 14 years old when she left Austria to marry the Dauphin of France. Known for her extravagant tastes and pastimes, Marie Antoinette also endured great hardship, suffering enormous pressure to produce a male heir. She was eventually being executed after the French Revolution, aged just 37. This BBC drama promises to be a fascinating delve into her life.

Release date: 2022, BBC Two

THE ELEPHANT MAN

Stranger Things fans will recognise the name Charlie Heaton from his role as Jonathan Byers in the Netflix sci-fi drama, but Heaton himself is likely to be unrecognisable as Joseph Merrick, who was cruelly nicknamed the Elephant Man in the 1860s due to a congenital disorder. The show recieved backlash in 2018 when able-bodied Heaton was cast, as critics commented that it would have been an opportunity to allow disabled actors to take on the role and improve on-screen representation, but the show has promised to address this with supporting roles. In this two-part drama, Heaton will portray Merrick as a young man finding his way in society with the support of surgeon Frederick Treves, before his death at just 27 years old.

Release date: TBC

ENGLISTAN

Following three generations of a British Pakistani family, Englistan is ‘an untold British story with universal themes and resonance,’ according to creator Riz Ahmed. Often, minority and migrant stories are told from an outsider’s perspective, but Ahmed’s sensitive, nuanced approach will hand the mic back to a community that has helped shape Britain as we know it. Spanning four decades, the nine-part BBC Two series will unpack the political values, religious and cultural identities and national economics that affect the lives of this family.

Release date: TBC

BLUE LIGHTS

From the writers of The Salisbury Poisonings, this new six-part drama follows three rookie police officers working in Belfast, a uniquely dangerous place to be in the force.

Grace, a mother of a teenage boy, has made the decision in her forties to leave her steady job as a social worker to join the police. It’s the biggest gamble of her life, and just a few weeks into the job, she’s making so many mistakes that her decision no longer looks like a winning bet.

Her fellow rookies are Annie, who struggles with the fact that her chosen path may mean having to leave everything she’s ever known behind, and Tommy, who is desperate to prove himself, despite being disastrously inept at the practical side of frontline response policing.

The pressure on all three police officers is immense and, chances are not all three will last.

Release date: TBC

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