New British TV Series for 2021: BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Sky Dramas, Britbox & More

The Three (tbc)

The Three book cover cropped

Another BBC drama commission based on a book series, The Three, “an international thriller with a supernatural twist”, was announced in late 2017 but there’s been no news since then. The premise of Sarah Lotz’ trilogy sees four planes crash on the same day in four different countries, leaving three children as the miraculous survivors… Wolf Hall’s Peter Straughan was attached as adapting this eight-part drama but as yet, it’s still to appear on his IMDb credits. We’ll keep you posted if more arrives.

The Tourist (tbc)

Jamie Dornan in The Tourist

Producer-writers Harry and Jack Williams (Fleabag, Baptiste, The Missing, Liar) are back with a six-part BBC-HBO Max drama set and filmed in South Australia. The Tourist is an outback noir about a British man pursued through the Australian outback by a tank truck. When the man awakens in a hospital with no memory of who he is or how he got there, his search for answers takes him to some unsettling places. Chris Sweeney (Back to Life) directs, with The Fall‘s Jamie Dornan leading the cast.

The Undeclared War (2022)

Channel 4 has teamed up with Peacock to commission this six-part cyber thriller written by Wolf Hall’s Peter Kosminsky. It’s set in 2024, as a team of GCHQ cyber specialists secretly work to fend off a cyber attack on the UK electoral system. There’s an impressive cast, from Mark Rylance (pictured above in Bridge of Spies), to Adrian Lester, Alex Jennings, Simon Pegg, Maisie Richardson-Sellers and newcomer Hannah Khalique-Brown. The commission was only announced in April 2021, so we can expect to see this one next year.

Three Families (May)

This drama based on real-life abortion stories set in Northern Ireland – the only part of the UK where pregnancy termination remains illegal – aired on BBC One in May 2021. Written by Vanity Fair‘s Gwyneth Hughes, who travelled to Northern Ireland to meet the families who inspired the drama, Three Families was produced by the makers of hard-hitting Three Girls and explores the experience of families and loved ones whose lives have been affected by the law in Northern Ireland. It’s currently available to watch on BBC iPlayer.

Time (June)

Sean Bean and Stephen Graham in Jimmy McGovern's Time

Three-part prison drama Time is the latest from legendary British screenwriter Jimmy McGovern (Cracker, Accused, Broken), and stars Sean Bean and Stephen Graham. The four-part drama aired in June 2021 and followed the story of Bean’s character Mark, a former teacher in his 50s who finds himself in prison for the first time, and Graham’s character Eric, a prison officer targeted by a dangerously connected inmate. It’s currently available to stream on BBC iPlayer.

Tom Jones (tbc)

Vanity Fair ITV

Praise for 2018’s Vanity Fair adaptation, scheduled opposite Bodyguard in 2018, was drowned out somewhat by the hit political thriller, but there was plenty of it, and deservingly so. Good news then, that ITV has brought screenwriter Gwyneth Hughes back to tackle another classic novel – Henry Fielding’s 1749 book Tom Jones. Following in the footsteps of the acclaimed Albert Finney-starring 1963 film, and the raucous 1997 version with Max Beasley, expect rollicking fun. The last update we had in November 2019 confirmed that Hughes was mid-writing, but news has been thin on the ground since then.

Too Close (April)

Emily Watson in Too Close

Emily Watson (ChernobylApple Tree Yard, Breaking the Waves) stars in this meaty psychological three-part ITV thriller. Based on the novel of the same name written by Natalie Daniels (the pseudonym of actor-writer Clara Salaman, who’s also behind the screenplay), it’s about a forensic psychiatrist treating a patient who’s committed a heinous crime that she says she doesn’t remember. The two women become locked in a dark struggle of influence and manipulation. Watson stars opposite Denise Gough (pictured above).

Trigger Point (tbc)

Line of Duty‘s Vicky McClure plays bomb disposal expert Lana Washington in this new ITV thriller from the Jed Mercurio stable. Written by Daniel Brierley and executive produced by Mercurio, it’s the story of a front-line bomb disposal pro whose squad is pushed to the limits tackling a terrorist threat to London. Six episodes are on their way, and likely to arrive in early 2022.

Vigil (tbc)

Suranne Jones in Vigil

With a working title of Vigil, a new six-part thriller filmed in Scotland is on its way from the makers of Bodyguard and Line of Duty. Created by Strike‘s Tom Edge, it’s the story of the mysterious disappearance of a Scottish fishing trawler and a death on board a Trident nuclear submarine that brings the police into conflict with the Navy and British security services. It stars Suranne Jones, Rose Leslie, Shaun Evans, Anjli Mohindra, Martin Compston, Paterson Joseph and more. It’s expected to arrive in autumn 2021.

Viewpoint (April)

This five-part ITV thriller from Rillington Place and Manhunt writer Ed Whitmore and Fleabag director Harry Bradbeer aired in April 2021 (well, most of it did. The final episode was pulled from the schedules and made available as streaming-only following a series of sexual harassment complaints made about its star, Noel Clarke). It was the story of a police surveillance investigation in Manchester following the disappearance of a primary school teacher in the vein of Rear Window and The Lives of Others.

Wahala (2022)

This BBC series, described as “Big Little Lies meets Girlfriends meets Peckham” is adapted from Nikki May’s as-yet-unpublished novel of the same name. It’s about Simi, Ronke and Boo, three 30-something Anglo-Nigerian women living in London whose friendship is shaken by the arrival of the beautiful, charismatic Isobel, with tragic consequences.

White Stork (2022)

Tom Hiddleston The Night Manager

Formerly known as Spadehead, White Stork is a 10-episode political drama coming to Netflix courtesy of Eleven, the British production compnay behind Sex Education. Tom Hiddleston (The Avengers, The Night Manager – pictured above) stars as James Cooper, whose secret past is unearthed when he’s vetted in preparation for a parliamentary election. It was creted by Jericho and MeadowlandsChristopher Dunlop, with Taboo‘s Kristoffer Nyholm directing.

Wolfe (tbc)

From the creators of Shameless comes six-part crime drama Wolfe, which stars Guerilla‘s Babou Ceesay (pictured above) as an expert forensic pathologist and university professor described as “half genius, half liability”. With a complicated home life and a varied work team including a child prodigy, Wolfe uses his unusual expertise to solve a case of the week. Amanda Abbington, Natalia Tena, Naomi Yang, Adam Long and Shaniqua Okwok co-star.

You (tbc)

Holliday Grainger The Capture BBC One

We might expect the working title of this one to change to avoid confusion with the Netflix stalker story of the same name, but as it stands, You will be an eight-part thriller coming to Sky. Filming started in June 2021 in the UK and Morocco on this adaptation of the Zoran Drvenkar novel, which tells the story of Tara O’Rourke, a woman on the run across Europe after committing a deadly crime. She’s pursued by a dangerous gangster and a serial killer known only as ‘The Traveller’. The Capture (pictured above) writer-director Ben Chanan has written the adaptation.


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