X Factor might be going to sh*t, Masterchef might be only available on iplayer and Doctor Who might be cutting investment faster than the Coalition government, but there are still plenty of things to look forward to in tellyland over the next six months. These are the ten shows we’re most looking forward to. That means you should be looking forward to them too..
Lord Julian Fellowes will continue his reign as king of the period drama when he brings a miniseries about the sinking of the Titanic to our screens next year. I always imagine the Downton Abbey writer locked in a dusty library, scribbling away at scripts with a golden quill while well-tailored servants bring earl grey tea in china cups at hourly intervals. Surely this is the only way that such grandiose and quintessentially English scripts can be produced? This miniseries promises no breathtaking special effects but will focus on the human stories of ordinary crew-people who Fellowes reckons have been forgotten by film makers in the past. The six-parter will be screened to commemorate 100 years since the sinking of the luxury liner. Corsets, class dynamics and Fellowesâ golden touch on the script? Yes please. Get a sneaky glimpse of whatâs to come here:
Expected to arrive: April 2012 on ITV1
Watch it if you liked: Downton Abbey (obv), Lark Rise to Candleford and erm.. Titanic
Napolean Dynamite: The Animated Series
Gosh! Napolean and his miserable little friend, Pedro, are finally back after an eight year absence. Fox has picked up a six-episode animated TV version of the 2004 cult film which launched the careers of director Jared Hess and star Jon Heder. All the original cast members will be providing voices for the show (sweet!) which will be produced and written by Hess, his wife Jerusha Hess and the Simpsonsâ Mike Scully. According to the press release material, the show will âfollow the misadventures of an awkward high school teenager and his quirky friends as they struggle to navigate life in rural Idaho.â? Just as long as Tina the llama is still involvedâ¦
Expected to arrive: January-May 2012 on Fox
Watch it if you liked: The Ricky Gervais Show, The Simpsons, Family Guy and ermm.. Napoleon Dynamite
Anthony and Cleopatra
A bit of gentle BBC drama which tells the story of two old school friends who meet after 50 years of family life and fall in luuurve. The two widowed 70-year-olds (not called Anthony or Cleopatra), have a whole load of baggage to bring to the relationship which promises to make this a realistic and unique approach to the usual TV love story plot. Written by Sally Wainwright, who penned the popular Unforgiven for ITV earlier this year, the drama will feature as part of the BBCâs Shakespeare season which will see several of the bardâs plays remade for your televisual viewing pleasure.
Expected to arrive: Early 2012 on BBC One
Watch it if you liked: Married/Single/Other, Cold Feet, the Shakespeare Play, Roger & Val Have Just Got In
ITV has the X Factor and the BBC have now signed its own talent show of audience-grabbing proportions. Based on the hugely successful US show of the same name, The Voice gives contestants the opportunity to impress a panel of judges with their angelic warblings alone. Unlike Simon Cowellâs annual ITV freak-show where contestants are ripped to shreds by judges (one of whom will be Jessie J) in front of a hungry crowd of jeering piss-takers, the identity of the singers will be concealed until they have earned their singing stripes. With reports that the X Factor is starting to lose its X appeal, could this be the perfect time for the Beeb to stride in and scoop up reality game show groupies. Check out the American version here..
Expected to arrive: Spring 2012 on BBC One
Watch it if you liked: X Factor, Fame Academy, Pop Idol etc..
It has been just over one year since 24 left a Kiefer Sutherland shaped hole in hearts. But it could be time for all the tears and the pain to come to an end. Tim Kring, the creator of one-time hit series Heroes, brings us a thought provoking and action-packed series about a young boy with incredible powers…and Kiefer is his dad. So far the plot seems to concern a mute, autistic young boy who develops the ability to tell the future and just loves climbing up telephone masts.
Expected to arrive: Spring 2012 on Fox
Watch if you liked: Heroes, Supernatural, 24
There are six reasons to sit up and pay attention to this next potential source of TV gold: Phil Glenister, Donald Sutherland, Shirley Henderson, Elijah Wood, Keith Allen and Eddie Izzard. BOOM. All six of these fine thespians will take part in an upcoming book to screen translation of Robert Louis Stevensonâs adventure classic, Treasure Island. The book, written in 1883, will be turned into a two part TV movie for SyFy which producers claim will be âadrenaline-packedâ? update. And some genius has gone and cast Izzard as Long John Silver.
Warning: Will contain copious amounts of swashbuckling.
Expected to arrive: Early 2012 on SyFy
Watch if you liked: Doctor Who, The Railway Children.. the book
Our Man In
You can always rely on Channel 4 if you are in need of some top notch documentary entertainment. This next little gem promises to be no exception. Those cheeky C4 camera chaps have managed to get access to the Foreign Offices of some of the worldâs busiest consulates. If that sounds a bit dull to you, then you are sadly mistaken. Think car crashes, crime, drunken binges and deaths. The British consular staff encounter all sorts of trouble from expats and holidaymakers and it will all be caught on camera in new series, Our Man In.
Expected to arrive: Early 2012 on Channel 4
Watch it if you liked: Banged-Up Abroad, Sun, Sea and A+E
If you resorted to comfort chain-smoking and whisky drinking to get you through the lonely months without Don Draper, it is finally time to put down the Lucky Stripes and step away from the bourbon. Mad Men will return early next year, much to the delight of fans who have been starved of its effortless glamour and impeccable script for over a year. All we know is that season 5 should pick up somewhere between 1966 and early 1967 and a precocious 10-year-old boy will be added to the lineup. And, of course, Don, Joan, Peggy and the gang will all be returning for plenty more retro fun.
Also expected: plenty more of Don Draper asking âwhat?â?…
Expected to arrive: Early 2012 on Sky Atlantic
Watch it if you like: Mad Men series 1,2,3 and 4, The Hour, Awesome TV..
London 1888. The grisly, rat-infested streets of London’s Whitechapel are home to one of the most terrifying killers the capital has ever seen and one detective is standing in his way. The action in this Victorian crime thriller starts six months after the last attributed Ripper murder, but no one can be sure that they have seen the last of the callous killer. Over 7.3 million viewers tuned into BBC Oneâs Sherlock, starring Benedict Cumberbatch, and itâs pretty obvious that Beeb bosses are hoping for another bloody crime success story. The show has been created by writer Richard Warlow (Mistresses, Waking The Dead) but there are no indications about who will take the leading roles yet. Shooting starts in Spring 2012 so watch this space for updates…
Expected to arrive: Autumn 2012 on BBC One
Watch it if you liked: Sherlock, Waking the Dead, The Crimson Petal and the White
Who shot JR? Who cares! JR’s ‘death’ is old news now that a brand spanking new version of the ridiculously popular 80s series will be hitting our screens in 2012. The 10-part series, made by TNT, picks up the tale of the Ewing family a few years down the line and will feature many of the old characters as well as some new faces. Jesse Metcalf (of shirtless gardener in Desperate Housewives fame) will be doing his surliest to attract the younger crowd while JRâs long-suffering wife, Sue Ellen (played by Linda Gray), will be making a comeback as a business woman in her own right. Cannot wait.
Expected to arrive: Summer 2012 on Channel 5
Watch it if you liked: The OC, One Tree Hill,