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True-life crime drama, a new Star Wars project, multiple Marvel shows, plus Ant and Dec have a dizzying jackpot on offer.
It’s the 22 best TV shows to look forward to in 2022.
Anatomy of a Scandal (Netflix)
Sienna Miller and Michelle Dockery are to star in this London-set six-part thriller about sexual consent and privilege, based on the bestselling novel by Sarah Vaughan, from David E Kelley (Big Little Lies).
Read more: The best TV of 2021
The plotline centres on a scandal that rocks the Westminster political elite and charts the experiences of the women caught up in events. As revelations come out in court, lives and careers are set to be inexorably changed.
Ant and Dec’s Limitless Win (ITV)
In a new quiz that’s sure to appeal to risk-takers, Ant and Dec are to launch the world’s first-ever limitless jackpot. What this means in practice is that contestants will be seen climbing a money ladder that never comes to an end. But a wrong answer looks set to result in them crashing out of the game and losing all the cash that’s been accrued. Prepare for nerves to be shredded each Saturday night when the show launches this winter.
Conversations with Friends (BBC)
Sally Rooney’s Normal People was one of the major breakout TV successes of the first lockdown back in 2020, and to mark the return of BBC Three as a linear channel, the broadcaster has adapted her debut novel. Newcomer Alison Oliver and Loki actress Sasha Lane star as student Frances and her friend Bobbi, two performers of spoken word poetry who find their lives complicated by journalist Melissa, who wants to help boost their profile.
The Curse (Channel 4)
We’re heading back to the early 1980s for this London-set crime comedy that sees a band of hapless crooks — including Steve Stamp, Allan Mustafa, Hugo Chegwin (People Just Do Nothing) — get unwittingly involved in one of the biggest gold heists in history in this fictionalised yarn loosely inspired by real-life events.
Read more: The most controversial TV moments of 2021
Writer and star Tom Davis reunites with his Murder in Successville and King Gary creative partner James De Frond for this caper about a naïve gang biting off more than they can possibly chew.
Harry Potter 20th anniversary: Return to Hogwarts (Sky Max/Showcase)
It’s been 20 years since the release of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, so to mark the occasion, stars Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint, as well as director Chris Columbus will be among those celebrating at the Warner Bros Studio London. The retrospective – set to be screened on New Year’s Day - has already received sizeable press attention because writer JK Rowling has not been invited along to mark the occasion.
The Ipcress File (ITV)
Peaky Blinders actor Joe Cole has taken on the role that turned Michael Caine Icon into a screen icon: bespectacled espionage operative Harry Palmer. Set against the backdrop of Cold War Europe, the six-part thriller adapted from the book by Len Deighton, finds the law catching up with corrupt British army sergeant Palmer and convincing him to become a spy in order to avoid a jail sentence. But the case to which he’s assigned brings danger with it.
Untitled The Lord of the Rings series (Amazon Prime Video)
Amazon Studios’ forthcoming series brings the heroic legends of the fabled Second Age of Middle-earth's history to screens for the very first time. This epic drama is set thousands of years before the events of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, and stars Morfydd Clark as Galadriel. It's rumoured to be the most expensive TV show ever made, so expectations are sky high for this expansion of the beloved fantasy series.
The Love Box in Your Living Room (BBC)
The centenary of the BBC will be marked with a number of bespoke programmes, among them this romp through 100 years of the corporation’s history by comedians Paul Whitehouse and Harry Enfield. Also in production: Konnie Huq celebrating the best of Children’s Programming and an examination by David Dimbleby on the impact of the BBC on people’ lives, as well as special episodes of Strictly, Doctor Who and Top Gear.
Moon Knight/She Hulk/Ms. Marvel (Disney+)
After a stellar first year run for Marvel Studios' Disney+ shows, which included WandaVision, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, What If, and Hawkeye, the MCU has three more series confirmed for 2022 so far. Moon Knight boasts Oscar Isaac as a complex vigilante who suffers from dissociative identity disorder. She-Hulk introduces Tatiana Maslany as She-Hulk/Jennifer Walters, a lawyer who specialises in superhuman-oriented legal cases, while Ms Marvel introduces Kamala Khan—a 16-year-old Pakistani American from Jersey City.
No Return (ITV)
Themes of parental guilt and consent come up for examination in this Sheridan Smith-starring drama that finds an unassuming family caught up in a living nightmare while holidaying in Turkey. Smith plays Kathy, whose son Noah accepts a seemingly innocent invitation to a beach party. But when the boy is arrested, the Brits abroad find themselves battling an expensive and alien legal system, as well as mounting media coverage.
Obi-Wan Kenobi (Disney+)
The latest expansion to the Star Wars franchise will see Ewan McGregor return to the role of the Jedi Master for a new series that takes place a decade on from the events of Revenge of the Sith. We last saw Kenobi endure a stark defeat: the corruption of Anakin Skywalker who turned into merciless Sith Lord Darth Vader. And, yes, Hayden Christensen is also returning to play the evil man in the mask.
Pam and Tommy (Disney+)
This American biographical drama of the outrageous untold story of the world’s first viral video – the sex tape of Mötley Crüe drummer Tommy Lee and Pamela Anderson played by Sebastian Stan and Lily James - promises to be an outrageous viewing experience.
Based on Sex Pistols guitarist Steve Jones’ 2018 memoir, Lonely Boy: Tales from a Sex Pistol, this new limited series from Danny Boyle presents a fascinating new perspective on one of rock’s greatest ever stories.
Reacher (Amazon Prime Video)
Tom Cruise brought writer Lee Child’s hero to life in two movies, but there weren’t many who considered the actor to be what they’d envisaged Jack Reacher to be like when reading the books. Now, in what’s likely to be a more accurate dramatisation, the hulking Alan Ritchson is to play the former military police investigator in a new series based on Child’s first Reacher thriller The Killing Floor, which is set to commence on 4 February.
The Reckoning (BBC)
How did the sexual abuse perpetrated by Jimmy Savile manage to stay hidden until after the broadcaster’s death? Writer Jeff Pope – who previously penned true-crime dramas The Moorside and Appropriate Adult - gets to grips with this emotive issue in a project that BBC drama boss Piers Wenger says will tell this hideous story with “the utmost respect”. Steve Coogan is to play Savile as he rises to fame through the dance halls of northern England.
After months of online chatter, the series being touted as Stars in Their Eyes for a new generation is finally confirmed for 2022 on ITV. The concept sees members of the public transformed into music icons such as Ariana Grande and Michael Buble. But rather than performing solo, they’ll have to sing as part of a trio and impress such judges as Sheridan Smith and Beverley Knight if they’re to win a £50,0000 prize pot. Olly Murs hosts.
This Is Going to Hurt (BBC)
Adam Kay’s memoir about his experiences during medical training became a word-of-mouth hit following its publication in 2017. Now, actor Ben Whishaw is to bring those struggles on the NHS frontline to life in a seven-part adaptation that Kay is hoping will make BBC1 viewers “laugh, cry and vomit”. Expect the pressures to mount as the screen version of Adam tries to rise through the ranks of the hospital hierarchy.
The Tourist (BBC)
Jamie Dornan will ensure that January gets off to a mysterious start when he stars as The Man, a Brit who finds himself run off the road by a tanker in the Australian outback, only to then wake in hospital with no memory of who he is. The six-part series has been created by Harry and Jack Williams, a pair who know a thing or two about leftfield surprises, having previously been the brains behind The Missing and Baptiste.
Trigger Point (ITV)
ITV is already hyping this high-octane thriller with a vengeance – and who can blame them? After all, it has big links to Line of Duty (Jed Mercurio is an executive producer and Vicky McClure one of its stars), while the concept itself appears explosive, focused as it is on the work of the Metropolitan Police Bomb Disposal Squad. Also featuring in the tense six-parter are Adrian Lester, Warren Brown and Kerry Godliman.
Warwick Davis returns in this new series inspired by the classic Lucasfilm fantasy film. The supporting cast included Ruby Cruz (Mare of Easttown), Erin Kellyman (The Falcon and The Winter Soldier), Ellie Bamber (The Serpent), Tony Revolori (Spider-Man: No Way Home), Amar Chadha Patel (The Third Day) and Dempsey Bryk (The Birch).