Theatre

20 brilliant new drama series to look forward to in 2021

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This is set to be an exciting TV year with many brand-new shows hitting the small screen.

Some favourites will return – such as Killing Eve and Line of Duty – but there are some ­hotly anticipated adaptations to look out for too, like Sally Rooney’s Conversations with Friends and Nancy Mitford’s The Pursuit of Love.

The Mirror has pulled together the full list and here are the ones to watch out for…

Conversations With Friends

Starring: No one yet. Twitter tips Saoirse Ronan as Frances.

Date: TBC

Sally Rooney’s debut novel Conversations with Friends is set to follow the success of Normal People.

Also set in Dublin, it tells the story of two female college students, Frances and Bobbi, who befriend a sophisticated older couple.


There’s sex, holidays to France and dinner parties but Rooney’s pared back writing ensures this will be another great series.

If Normal People is anything to go by, this will be a ratings hit.

Nine Perfect Strangers

Starring: Nicole Kidman, Luke Evans and Melissa McCarthy.

Date: TBC

Big Little Lies’ Nicole Kidman reunites with the show’s creator David E. Kelley, who directs all eight episodes of this comedy, adapted from Liane Moriarty’s novel of the same name.


The Nine Perfect Strangers it focuses on have no idea what is about to hit them when they check into a remote Aussie retreat to de-stress and reinvigorate their tired minds and bodies.

Landscapers

Starring: Olivia Colman
Date: TBC

Oscar-winner Olivia stars in this darkly comic four-parter about odd couple Susan and Christopher Edwards, who shot her parents and buried them in their back garden in Mansfield, Notts, in 1998.

The bodies lay undiscovered for 15 years while the couple emptied their bank accounts and blew the cash on Hollywood memorabilia.

Inventing Anna

Starring: Julia Garner and Anna Chlumsky.
Date: Spring

Based on a true story, this 10-part Netflix drama follows a journalist (Chlumsky) as she investigates the case of Russian con artist Anna Delvey, played by Garner.

Delvey moved to New York in 2013 and tricked financiers into thinking she was a wealthy German heiress.

Wandavision

Elizabeth Olsen is Wanda Maximoff and Paul Bettany is Vision in this Marvel spin-off

Starring Brit Paul Bettany and Hollywood actress Elizabeth Olsen

Date: January 15

This spin-off TV series sees Bettany and Olsen return as their Marvel characters Vision and Wanda Maximoff after appearing in the movie Avengers: Endgame.

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The plot follows the two super-powered beings and their romance as they try to live their ideal suburban lives… but they soon suspect that everything is not as it appears.

Line of Duty series 6

Perry Fitzpatrick and Kelly MacDonald on the set

Starring Martin Compston, Vicky McClure, Adrian Dunbar.

Date: Spring

Jed Mercurio’s police drama is back for a sixth series.

This time around, AC-12 regulars Compston, McClure and Dunbar face their “most enigmatic adversary” – DCI Joanne Davidson, played by Trainspotting’s Kelly Macdonald, according to the BBC.

Misdsomer Murders, series 22

Midsomer Murders is back for its record breaking 22nd series

Starring Neil Dudgeon, Nick Hendrix, Fiona Dolman and Annette Badland.

Date: TBC

Our longest-running contemporary detective drama returns for six more episodes with John Barnaby (Dudgeon) set to solve yet more killings in the charming but deadly villages of the fictional county of Midsomer.

The show first started in 1997 but, due to the pandemic, there was less “hugging and kissing on set” this time, says Dudgeon.

The Pursuit of Love

Starring Lily James, Emily Beecham, Dominic West and Andrew Scott

Date: Winter

Two friends travel Europe in search of a husband between the wars.

If you’ve heard of this, it’s either because you’ve read Nancy Mitford’s novel of the same name or you saw the saucy snaps of Lily James and Dominic West during a break in filming.

Killing Eve, series 4

Killing Eve is back for a fourth series

Starring: Jodie Comer, left, Sandra Oh, Fiona Shaw, Kim Bodnia.

Date: April

It may not be back in April after lockdown delayed filming but season four of Killing Eve looks set to be worth the wait.

This time, the comedy spy thriller is headed up by another fantastic female writer – Sex Education’s Laura Neal – while Phoebe Waller-Bridge remains an executive producer.

Lord of the Rings

Starring Sir Lenny Henry and Maxim Baldry (Viktor in Russell T Davies’ hit Years and Years)

Date: To be confirmed

Amazon’s show is a prequel to the events of the Lord of the Rings films and J.R.R. Tolkien books.

Filming resumed in New Zealand in September and, with a bidding war against Netflix to win the rights costing $250million, it promises to be the most expensive –and scenic – TV series ever made.

The Rig

Starring: To be announced

Date: Winter

This six-part supernatural thriller is set on an oil rig off the Scottish coast. A group of workers are due to return to the mainland but a mysterious fog descends and they are stranded without any means of communication.

It is directed by John Strickland, who has worked on TV dramas The Bodyguard and Line of Duty.

You, series 3

Joe and his equally toxic girlfriend Love are back for more relationship dramas

Starring Penn Badgley and Victoria Pedrettit

Date: TBC

Season two of this psychological thriller left us with pregnant Love (Pedretti) being oddly OK with Joe’s (Badgley) murderous antics, resulting in them moving to the suburbs to raise their baby.

But if we know Joe, things won’t remain simple for long.

As it moves away from the books by Caroline Kepnes, we’re not sure where it’s heading but it’s likely to have a scathing inner monologue, lies and murder.

Grace

Starring John Simm

Date: TBC

Life on Mars’ Simm takes on the role of troubled Detective Superintendent Roy Grace who is fixated on the disappearance of wife Sandy.

Writer Russell Lewis said he was “thrilled and honoured to be involved in bringing Peter James’ brilliantly gripping series of Roy Grace novels to ITV”. Simm’s fans will be blown away by his performance.

Great

Starring Elle Fanning as Catherine and Nicholas Hoult as the Emperor

Date: TBC

This 10-part comedy from the writer of The Favourite follows the career of Catherine the Great – Russia’s longest-reigning female ruler who took over from her gormless husband Peter.

It has been described as “a modern love story that incorporates historical facts, occasionally”.

The Hulu production also stars Sebastian de Souza (from Skins and Normal People) as Count Voronsky – just one of sex-mad Catherine’s lovers.

The Handmaid’s Tale, series 4

Starring Elisabeth Moss, Joseph Fiennes, Yvonne Strahovski

Date: TBC

An exciting trailer suggests season four will be explosive following the cliffhanger ending of the third series.

June Gilead, played by Moss, is trying to rally other handmaids and allies to take back their lives and country.

“Change never comes easy. This war isn’t going to win itself,” she declares.

Sex Education, series 3

Sex Education follows Otis, whose mum is a glamorous sex therapist called Jean

Starring Asa Butterfield and Gillian Anderson

Date: Spring

Fans of Sex Education love it for its frank and quirky take on sex and relationships.

Although no official synopsis has yet been revealed for what season three has in store for Moordale’s puberty-stricken secondary school students, it’s likely to focus on Otis (Asa Butterfield, pictured) and Maeve’s (Emma Mackey) relationship.

Mare of Easttown

Starring Kate Winslet
Date: TBC

A small-town detective investigates a murder in Pennsylvania while her own life begins to crumble.

As well as playing the lead, Kate is an executive producer.

It is her first TV role since she appeared in the five-part HBO mini-series Mildred Pierce in 2011.

Filming got under way in Philadelphia in 2019 but the production was held up when the pandemic hit.

This Is Going To Hurt

Ben Wishaw plays stressed out doctor turned author and stand-up

 

Starring Ben Whishaw

Date: TBC

Bond star Whishaw plays a fictional version of former medic Adam Kay, who turned his experiences on NHS wards into the blackly-comic bestseller This Is Going to Hurt: Secret Diaries of a Junior Doctor.

If the BBC2 drama is as good as the book – which sold millions of copies and has been translated into 20 languages since 2017– this is sure to be a hit.

Kay, now a comedian, wrote the show and is also an executive producer.

Help

Starring Stephen Graham & Jodie Comer

Date: TBC

The moving story of a young care home worker and a resident during the pandemic in Liverpool. Graham is a 47-year-old patient with early-onset Alzheimer’s who forms a bond with carer Sarah, played by fellow Scouser Comer.

The writer is Bafta-winning Jack Thorne, who had hits with His Dark Materials and National Treasure.

He said: “We saw care homes getting squashed by the Government. This has to be written and made with anger and precision. We hope we do it justice.”

Stephen Graham stars in Help

The Pembrokeshire Murders

Starring Fast and Furious star Luke Evans and Keith Allen.

Date: January

Evans plays the Welsh detective who helped solve the real-life 1980s murders of two couples 20 years on, while Allen turns in a chilling performance as serial killer John Cooper.

This three-part ITV drama is made by the people behind Line of Duty and Bodyguard.

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