Maybe you spent lockdown cultivating your sourdough starter, tending to a new family of houseplants, finally learning that second language, or perfecting your banana bread recipe. If so, we bow down: the rest of us spent it in front of the telly, rapidly making our way through all Netflix has to offer.
If you thought that September might be the time to peel yourself off the sofa, however, you’d be wrong: this autumn, a raft of brilliant new series are set to hit our screens. So lock the door, stock the fridge and prepare to voluntarily quarantine with our pick of what to watch, download, stream and record over the coming months.
When Lucy Prebble and Billie Piper get together, you just know it’s going to make irresistible TV: remember Secret Diary Of A Call Girl? Now, screenwriter and playwright Prebble (responsible for hands-down hit, Succession) and Doctor Who actress Piper have created the masterful I Hate Suzie. The story of an actress, Suzie Pickles, who suffers the ultimate modern day disaster (her nude photos are leaked on the internet), it’s a wry take on celebrity and incredibly funny to boot.
David Nicholls’ bestselling novel, Us, is coming to the BBC in a four-part adaptation later this month. Starring Tom Hollander and Saskia Reeves as a husband and wife on the brink of a break-up (but touring around Europe at the same time), judging by the trailer, it’s set to have all the warm heart and humour of the book. In short? Expect to cancel all your Sunday night plans.
Lucy Kirkwood’s X-rated series has been delayed several times – once, apparently, because it was a bit too racy to show before 10pm. That should give you an idea of just how ‘adult’ Adult Material is: telling the story of a seasoned adult film star (played by Hayley Squires), it’s a provocative commentary on how porn has changed the landscape of how we think and talk about sex.
The cast alone (think Jude Law, Emma Watson and Naomie Harris) makes The Third Day, a series about new arrivals on a remote island, tempting enough. But we’re watching for the particularly unique set-up, created by ever-ambitious writer Dennis Kelly. Conventional episodes will be accompanied by a one-off live theatrical event in London, by renowned company Punchdrunk, intended to allow viewers to ‘inhabit the story’ as it happens. Sounds complicated, but if Kelly pulls it off, this could mark a whole new chapter for TV.
Keep your corgis close: series four of The Crown is dropping in early November. This time, it’s charting the Diana years, with The Fall’s Gillian Anderson joining the cast as Margaret Thatcher, and Emma Corrin playing Princess Diana herself. That means the 80s, and with it some truly iconic fashion – get ready for some seriously pumped-up shoulder pads alongside a gripping storyline.
If you liked Black Mirror, stay tuned for this adaptation of Aldous Huxley’s dystopian novel, about a future divided into strict social classes complete with mass orgies and mood-upping pills. Starring Downton Abbey alumnus Jessica Brown Findlay and Demi Moore, it’s a transporting series that might make you think 2020 isn’t so bad after all.
If you’re not already a fan of Katherine Ryan, you really should be – and The Duchess is the perfect place to start. Standup comedien Ryan plays a single mother, Katherine, juggling a career and her young daughter while fire-fighting with her ex and tentatively dating another man. And honestly? She’s a no-holds-barred, sharp-tongued boss about it. While Ryan’s scalding put-downs stray very occasionally into cringeworthy territory, this is a powerful but light-hearted watch.
No series can come close to The Undoing if you’re looking for sheer A-List might. In this story of a New York therapist whose husband disappears, the star power comes courtesy of Nicole Kidman and Hugh Grant in the leading roles. Written by David E Kelley (who created the blockbuster success, Big Little Lies) and directed by Susanne Bier (responsible for The Night Manager), this will undoubtedly be barnstormingly brilliant.