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TV dramas to get excited about

Is there anything better than settling down with a bingeworthy new series? These are the shows to get lined up

Blimey, we've watched a lot of top notch telly during the lockdown, haven't we? Forget calendars, the time passing was marked by which TV show everyone was talking about each month – remember the Tiger King phase? Normal People? White Lines?

In fact, we've watched so much TV that our watch lists were starting to look a bit (dare we say it) dry... Until we found out, that is, about the next batch of TV dramas poised and ready to hit our screens soon. 

No other genres do quite the same job as drama does of taking hold of our emotions and wringing them out like a sponge. Drama shows us the best (and worst) facets of humanity. It transports us into tense, shocking, or beautiful situations and opens the door to extraordinary lives so we can peruse every inch of them (and there’s nothing better than being nosy). 

So whether you’re a sensible streamer, a feverish binge-watcher, or that person who snatches episodes while inhaling crisps on your lunch break, these are the hottest upcoming TV dramas to keep firmly on your cultural radar.

The coming-of-age tale: A Suitable Boy 

Andrew Davies is the go-to man when it comes to adapting epic novels for the screen (his past works have included Les Miserables, War & Peace and Pride and Prejudice). This time, he gives Vikram Seth’s 1993 smash-hit novel A Suitable Boy the small-screen treatment. Newcomer Tanya Maniktala stars as 19-year-old Lata, a passionate university student who is torn between family duty and the promise of romance, as three men try to win her heart against a backdrop of newly-independent 1950s India.     

Watch A Suitable Boy on BBC One, 9pm on Sundays or catch-up on iPlayer; image from BBC 

The inside look at an iconic baddie: Ratched 

The inimitable Sarah Paulson takes on the role of the wicked Nurse Ratched from One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest in this prequel series from mega-producer Ryan Murphy (aka the man behind Glee, American Horror Story and glitzy Netflix series Hollywood). The eight-part origin story interrogates how Mildred Ratched’s experience of working in mental institutions led her to become so monstrous that she is classed as one of culture’s most iconic villains.  

Coming to Netflix on 17th September; image from Netflix

The thought-provoking cultural anthology: Small Axe 

Small Axe has a seriously impressive cast of players behind it. Directed by Oscar-winning Steve McQueen (Twelve Years a Slave, Shame) and set in London’s West Indian community, the miniseries explores five different tales beginning at the moment of Enoch Powell’s inflammatory “Rivers of Blood” speech in 1968 and spanning two decades. The title is inspired by the Jamaican proverb about marginal protest challenging dominant voices: “If you are the big tree, we are the small axe”. Starring Letitia Wright and John Boyega, this is sure to be a timely and important slice of TV. 

Coming to BBC One (date TBC); image from BBC 

The darkly comic take on fame: I Hate Suzie  

Co-created by Billie Piper, who stars as the titular Suzie, this biting, dark and excruciatingly-honest eight-parter focuses on fading celebrity Suzie Pickles whose career is threatened when she is hacked and an image of her in a ‘compromising position’ is leaked to the public. Not only is this destined to be excellent because it is written by Succession’s Lucy Prebble, it also co-stars Daniel Ings (of The Crown and Lovesick fame) who is generally something of a favourite at hush HQ. 

Coming to Sky Atlantic and NOW TV on 27th August; image from Sky

The gritty look at true crime: Des 

Early images of David Tennant as prolific serial killer Dennis Nilsen (aka Des) have already given us the heebie jeebies. So this three-part true crime drama – inspired by the murderer who confessed to killing 15 boys and men between the years of 1978 and 1983 – is sure to be chilling. Rumour has it Tennant campaigned for years for the role and, given that he's joined by TV stalwarts Daniel Mays and Jason Watkins, this is sure to be stupendously good. 

Coming to ITV (date TBC but expected to be September); image from ITV