With the whole gamut of back to school activities to juggle — new wardrobe, body overhaul, career tune-up (or at least a commitment to clearing your emails) — you might miss one of autumn’s mega-watt TV moments. Trust us, diarise now! They’re the shows every self-respecting Londoner will be dissecting come party season. Ranked from the most unmissable (everyone will have an opinion on Wagatha) to those worth swerving, here’s every appointment-viewing TV show to set on series link.
Coleen Rooney: The Real Wagatha Story
“It’s……. Rebekah Vardy’s account.” And with those iconic four words a legend was born. Now, Rooney is speaking out about the Wagatha Christie legal battle for the first time in this three-part Disney+ documentary. We all know what that means: endless juicy drama, callbacks to the summer of Wagatha and (hopefully) some bombshell revelations. Yes please.
Disney+, out autumn
Top Boy Season 3
Who will be the Top Boy? In the final season of the hit series, we will hopefully find out. Revived by Drake, watched around the world, Top Boy has become a global phenomenon for its complex characters, gut-churning violence and distinct lack of sentimentality in killing off its leads. Everybody is going to have an opinion on this: what will yours be?
Netflix, out on Thursday
Here’s one way to ensure everybody will be talking about your rebooted show: randomly cast Nicholas Lyndhurst of Only Fools and Horses as your main character’s new best friend. Frasier was one of the defining sitcoms of the Nineties, with legions of devoted fans. News of its revival was greeted with cautious enthusiasm — and it will be worth tuning in just to see if it (and Lyndhurst) can meet expectations.
Paramount+, out October 13
Cool, it might not be, but everybody will still be talking about this show. Steve Coogan takes on the role of the monstrous Jimmy Savile. Given that this drama in particular has been made by the BBC — Savile’s former employers — exactly how they handle this will make for a fascinating, harrowing watch.
BBC, out autumn
Sex Education Season 4
It’s impossible to understate what a star-maker Sex Education is. Think Ncuti Gatwa, the new lead in Doctor Who. Emma Mackey, whom he appeared alongside in Barbie. Aimee Lou Wood, who appeared in the fabulous show Cabaret at the Kit-Kat Club; all of them got their big start here, which makes this, the last season, an absolute must-watch, if only so you can boggle at never-ending inventiveness with which the directors portray sex.
Netflix, out September 21
The Long Shadow
July was the month of The Sixth Commandment, yes, but September belongs to The Long Shadow. This ITV dramatisation of the hunt for serial killer Peter Sutcliffe, the man who terrorised sex workers around Leeds in the Seventies and Eighties, boasts a cracking cast of British talent (Toby Jones, Daniel Mays among others) and genuinely disturbing source material. Given how well The Sixth Commandment did, this is the one to watch if you want to catch up on the water-cooler conversation.
ITV, out late September
Welcome to Wrexham Season 2
Hollywood stars Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney made headlines around the world when they bought struggling Welsh football club Wrexham — and then made the story of the club’s rejuvenation into an iconic Disney+ doc. Now, they’re back for a second season (never has the term been more appropriate in TV), and honestly, the hype around this show has never been bigger. Even better, you don’t need to be a football fan to enjoy.
Disney+, September 13
Partygate: The Drama
We’re rubbing our hands for this one. Masters of anarchy Channel 4 have created a TV drama about the boozy parties in Downing Street during lockdown. Not much has been revealed about the plot, but it will definitely be juicy — and Spitting Image alumnus Jon Culshaw will be playing Boris. Think the Sue Gray report crossed with The Thick Of It. *chef’s kiss*
Channel 4, out soon
Meet London’s answer to The Bear. The 2021 film had everyone biting their nails with its high-stress kitchen scenes; now it is returning as a TV show with Stephen Graham in the lead role of Andy Jones, head chef at prestigious London restaurant Jones & Sons. He’s backed up by a stellar cast and we’re hoping it’ll provide restaurant recommendations for months to come; a tasty prospect.
BBC, out autumn
Get a smoke alarm: this buzzy series will likely set the internet (and your TV screen) on fire when it begins later this year. How could it not, when it stars Jonathan Bailey of Bridgerton fame opposite American Matt Bomer? Both are gorgeous, and they play star-crossed lovers who embark on an affair in Fifties Washington DC. The steamy teaser trailer alone had tongues wagging; if that’s anything to go by, then the show itself is going to be something special.
Paramount+, October 28
The Newsreader Season 2
This Aussie import was a hit when it debuted on BBC Two last year — hardly surprising, given that it was deliciously good. Anna Torv stole the show as Helen Norville, the first female news presenter at the ratings-dominant News at Six in the Eighties. Season one raked in the awards nominations; season two is being given a big billing on the BBC, where it promises to deliver some scandalous moments.
BBC, out autumn
Three Little Birds
Sir Lenny Henry has had quite a year. In April, he wrote and starred in August in England — a play about the Windrush scandal — to rave reviews. With that in mind, Three Little Birds, his newest ITV show, seems set to be a sure-fire hit. Set in 1957, post-Windrush, it follows three women as they set sail from Jamaica for a new life in Britain.
ITV, out autumn
When a show has Jed Mercurio (the brains behind Line of Duty) as producer it’s worth getting excited about. So it proves here: set in Edinburgh, Payback follows Lexie Noble (Morven Christie) as she becomes entangled in a police operation to bring down notorious crime lord Cal Morris (Peter Mullan).
ITV, out early October
What to swerve?
You can see what they were going for with the title, but drawing any comparisons with much-loved TV shows like M*A*S*H is a dangerous game. Sean Penn stars as the leader of a bunch of Australian soldiers who are mistaken for Americans and captured only for their ransom video to go viral and them to become celebrities. The concept seems flimsy, and given that most of Penn’s recent TV credits have been cameo appearances, slightly worrying.
ITVX, out October
Brassic Season 5
The Brassic gang are back for a new season... but who wants to watch? Vinnie and the gang are still in trouble, still getting into the same scrapes and the humour is still (for me, at least), toe-curling. Even more perplexingly, Camille Cottin (of hit French series Call My Agent!) is joining this series; will she be able to add a touch of class?
Sky and NOW, out September 28