The clocks have gone back, temperatures have dropped and we’re all very much in need of a distraction from endless doom-scrolling.
There is one upside to the rubbish weather and dwindling daylight, though: the TV schedules are packed with perfect hibernation viewing material.
From the return of Netflix’s lavish royal drama (with added Lady Di drama) to Steve McQueen’s groundbreaking anthology series - via I’m A Celebrity’s Welsh detour - these are our TV picks for the coming month.
I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here
Ant, Dec and a brand new cohort of game celebrities are swapping Australia’s Gold Coast for a gloomy castle in North Wales for the first time in the history of ITV’s reality behemoth. The location switch-up comes as a result of the pandemic (ITV bosses also toyed with the idea of bringing Love Island to home shores, but eventually decided that swapping Majorca for, say, Anglesey, wouldn’t work) and means that I’m A Celeb will look a lot soggier than usual. We’re hopeful, however, that the move could inject new life into a format that’s stayed the same for almost two decades.
Early November, ITV
The BBC and HBO’s sweeping, mega-budget adaptation of Philip Pullman’s trilogy is back for series two, based on The Subtle Knife. Andrew Scott joins the already starry cast as John Parry, the explorer father of our heroine Lyra’s friend Will; in a stroke of casting genius, his Fleabag co-star Phoebe Waller-Bridge will voice his daemon (an osprey, not a guinea pig, sadly).
November 8, BBC One
Konrad Kay and Mickey Down drew upon their own experiences of the trading floor when writing Industry, an eight-part drama focusing on a group of fresh-faced but sharp-elbowed twenty-somethings, each vying for a graduate role at an investment bank. It promises to overturn many of the cliches of finance on screen, plus Lena Dunham is an executive producer (she was on directing duties for the first episode, too).
November 9, BBC Two
Ovie Soko: Life After Reality TV
In the past year or so, BBC Three has produced a spate of thoughtful shows that have either touched on the highs and lows of reality fame (like Little Mix star Jesy Nelson’s moving documentary Odd One Out and Reggie Yayes’ Make Me Famous) or been led by reality stars (such as Love Island’s Chris Hughes’ recent film about male fertility). Next in the spotlight is Love Island 2019 favourite Ovie Soko, who’ll be chatting to fellow graduates of reality TV as he tries to decide whether to stay on the circuit or return to his basketball career.
November 10, BBC iPlayer
Move over, Elizabeth, Margaret and co: In The Crown’s resplendent fourth season, showrunner Peter Morgan’s gaze is very much trained on the next generation of royals, giving the tumultuous early years of Charles and Diana’s marriage the prestige period drama treatment. Over at Number 10, Gillian Anderson’s Margaret Thatcher has hair so big and so aggressively Elnetted, it’s surely a fire hazard.
November 15, Netflix
Trailer for Steve Mcqueen's new BBC series Small Axe
Spanning the late Sixties to the mid-Eighties, the five films in Steve McQueen’s anthology series tell stories set in London’s West Indian communities. Some tell true stories, like opening film Mangrove, which dramatises the 1970 trial of the black activists who protested against police racism in Notting Hill, or Red, White and Blue, which sees John Boyega play real-life Met Police officer Leroy Logan; other films, like the dreamy Lovers Rock starring Micheal Ward and Amarah Jae St Aubyn, are fictions rooted in experience.
November 15, BBC One and BBC iPlayer
Nigella: Cook, Eat, Repeat
Swooping in to save us from a brutal combination of SAD and lockdown-induced gloom, Nigella Lawson is returning to BBC Two for Cook, Eat, Repeat, a six-part series accompanying her latest book. Expect high-end comfort food inspiration, kitchen envy and plenty of gratuitous midnight feast moments (we’re guessing that the usual end-of-episode scenes of chattering dinner party guests will be off the agenda this time, sadly).
November, BBC Two