WITH summer nearly over and the nights drawing in, the TV remote will soon become our best pal again.
Despite coronavirus bringing filming to a grinding halt, there are plenty of new shows to sink your teeth into.
We are all in desperate need of a laugh and the return of Spitting Image next month promises to do just that.
On the drama front, ITV, Sky and BBC1 have strong offerings in Des, starring David Tennant; I Hate Suzie, with David’s former Doctor Who co-star Billie Piper; and Life, from Doctor Foster creator Mike Bartlett.
Here’s our guide to the best upcoming shows to help you plan those dark evenings on the sofa.
US, BBC1, autumn: From the pen of the man who gave us the film One Day, this four-part drama is adapted by David Nicholls from his popular novel of the same name.
It stars Tom Hollander, of Night Manager fame. Tom’s character Douglas is blindsided when his wife says she wants to split.
But the family — including his teenage son — decide they want to go on a grand tour of Europe regardless.
I’M A CELEBRITY, ITV, November: The 20th series is going to be nothing like the 19 before it, mainly because it will be in Wales instead of Australia.
But the bumper line-up already includes Vernon Kay, Beverley Callard and AJ Pritchard.
LIFE, BBC1, autumn: This is Doctor Foster creator Mike Bartlett’s follow-up work on the BBC, and even features a character from his last series using a different name.
Actress Victoria Hamilton will reprise her role from the megahit series — now going by the name of “Belle”, rather than Anna — and seeking to rebuild her life.
Set in Manchester, Life follows the stories of the residents of a large house divided into four flats. It also stars Adrian Lester, Rachael Stirling and Alison Steadman.
I HATE SUZIE, Sky, August 27: Former Doctor Who star Billie Piper leads the cast of this new Sky original drama, which tells the story of a celebrity after pictures of her in an “extremely compromising position” emerge.
Billie’s character Suzie Pickles then unravels as the event ricochets around every aspect of her life.
THE GREAT BRITISH BAKE OFF, Channel 4, September: Producers of the baking show had to quarantine more than 120 people, including the hosts, judges and contestants, in order to film in a six-week window.
It is the first series with comic Matt Lucas at the helm — replacing Sandi Toksvig — alongside Noel Fielding. Paul Hollywood and Prue Leith return to pore over the amateurs’ efforts.
HIS DARK MATERIALS, BBC1, autumn: Series two of the critically acclaimed fantasy drama based on the novel of the same name by Philip Pullman. An all-star cast returns, including Ruth Wilson, James McAvoy and his ex-wife Anne-Marie Duff.
Producers decided to start filming the second outing before the first had even been on telly, due to the young age of Dafne Keen, who plays the lead character Lyra.
THE CROWN, Netflix, November 15: The highly anticipated fourth series will give us a first look at Gillian Anderson as Margaret Thatcher, as well as Emma Corrin as Princess Diana.
Olivia Colman returns as the Queen, as the Seventies draws to a close with the rest of the Royal Family concerned about safeguarding the line of succession and finding an appropriate bride for heir to the throne, Charles.
TRUTH SEEKERS, Amazon Prime Video, autumn: Shaun Of The Dead funnymen Simon Pegg and Nick Frost team up for this new comedy horror series.
It follows a pair of paranormal investigators who film ghost sightings across the UK, sharing their adventures on an online channel. If you liked Hot Fuzz, or anything Simon and Nick have paired up on, you’ll like this.
BRAVE NEW WORLD, Sky (tbc): This utopian drama, based on Aldous Huxley’s groundbreaking 1932 novel features an all-star cast including Downton’s Jessica Brown Findlay, Killing Eve’s Nina Sosanya and Hollywood actress Demi Moore.
DON’T ROCK THE BOAT, ITV, autumn: ITV needed something light to fill the entertainment schedule with no X Factor and a Saturday Night Takeaway with no audience.
This challenge show is billing itself as “one of the toughest ever” on telly as 12 celebrities row the length of Britain.
BRITAIN’S GOT TALENT, ITV, September: After 14 series, somehow producers are still finding talent on these shores. Among them is Great Ormond Street Hospital nurse Beth Porch, the Sign Along With Us choir and blind singer Sirine Jahangir.
Head judge Simon Cowell won’t feature due to his recent back injury, but BGT never disappoints with or without him.
WHO WANTS TO BE A MILLIONAIRE, ITV, September: We already know that one brainy contestant goes all the way in the new series, hosted again by Jeremy Clarkson. But what we don’t know is which episode it will be in.
The new series, filmed without an audience, will be stripped across a whole week of evenings to build the hype ahead of the £1million question being answered correctly.
THE SISTER, ITV, October: This dark four-part drama starring Russell Tovey and Bertie Carvel is tipped to be a must-watch show of the autumn.
Written by Neil Cross, the man behind BBC’s Luther, it focuses on a man with a terrible secret.
SPITTING IMAGE, ITV, October: The satirical puppet show is back for the first time since 1996.
The original was known for not holding back with its depictions of celebrities, politicians and royals, and hopefully in this easily offended time it will continue where they left off.
CORONATION STREET, EMMERDALE and EASTENDERS, ITV and BBC, September: All three of the major soaps will be back next month, with EastEnders starting again on September 7 and singer Mica Paris joining the cast.
The BBC series will be back up to broadcasting four nights a week but initially each episode will only be 20 minutes long. ITV is being slightly more vague, and says both its soaps will return to six episodes a week from mid-September.
STRICTLY COME DANCING, BBC1, October 24: This year the dance show will start nearly a month late and has only nine episodes compared to the usual 12.
Either way, if viewing figures are anything to go by, Strictly will still be one of the biggest shows of the year.
DES, ITV, September: David Tennant plays Dennis “Des” Nilsen, one of the UK’s most notorious mass murderers. The series is based on the seminal true-crime book, Killing For Company by Brian Masters.
SOCCER AID, ITV, September: Wayne Rooney is getting his first taste of management as he leads the England XI against a World XI. The 2020 Soccer Aid match, which raises money for Unicef, will take place behind closed doors, and features the likes of Kem Cetinay, Olly Murs and Joe Wicks.
BLOODLANDS, BBC1 (tbc): James Nesbitt leads the cast of this Northern Ireland-set crime drama, produced by Jed Mercurio, the man behind Line Of Duty and Bodyguard, The series centres around James’ character Tom Brannick, a detective who discovers a possible suicide note in a car.
He soon realises the message could be linked to an earlier case to which he is connected.
HONOUR, ITV, autumn: Two-part drama starring Line Of Duty and Bodyguard actress Keeley Hawes.
She plays real-life detective, DCI Caroline Goode, who brought five killers to justice in the heartbreaking true story of Banaz Mahmod, a young Londoner murdered for falling in love with the wrong man.
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