All the compelling new dramas on TV in 2022

nicola walker and sean bean in marriage bbc drama 2022
All the compelling TV dramas coming in 2022BBC

There's little else we love more than relaxing on the sofa in front of the some gripping telly of an evening, so luckily for us we spoiled for choice with all the compelling TV dramas coming our way this year.

Upcoming highlights include BBC One's lavish adaptation of Great Expectations, with Olivia Colman playing the iconic Miss Havisham; Gemma Whelan returning as DS Sarah Collins for series two of ITV's crime drama The Tower, and Michelle Keegan starring in BBC One drama Ten Pound Poms, set in Australia post-World War II.

Whether you love dramas, thrillers or police procedurals, there's something for everyone.

Here's a look at some of the upcoming TV series set to launch later this year, from adaptations of popular novels to brand-new stories, featuring stellar acting talent...

Ten Pound Poms

Photo credit: BBC
Photo credit: BBC

Michelle Keegan will star in BBC's original drama series Ten Pound Poms, which follows a group of Brits as they leave dreary post-war Britain in 1956 to embark on a life-altering adventure in Australia.

Faye Marsey and Warren Brown join the cast alongside Australian actors Rob Collins (Mystery Road, Firebite), Leon Ford (Elvis, The Light Between Oceans), Declan Coyle (Long Black, Life of Jess), David Field (Shantaram, Preacher), Stephen Curry (Hounds of Love, The Castle), Hattie Hook (Savage River, Of An Age), Finn Treacy (The Portable Door, Young Rock) and Emma Hamilton.

BBC's synopsis reads: "For only a tenner, the group of expats have been promised a better house, better job prospects and a better quality of life by the sea in sun-soaked Australia. But life down under isn’t exactly the idyllic dream the new arrivals have been promised. Struggling with their new identity as immigrants, we follow their triumphs and pitfalls as they adapt to a new life in a new country far from Britain and familiarity.

"At the heart of the drama are Annie (Faye Marsay) and Terry Roberts (Warren Brown). They try to make the best of the situation for their family, but the poor living conditions at the migrant hostel and local attitudes towards immigrants test them in ways they couldn’t have imagined. They aren’t the only people at the hostel avoiding the truth.

"Kate (Michelle Keegan) is a young nurse who arrives without her fiancé and will do whatever it takes to try and rewrite her devastating past. Bill (Leon Ford) has lost his family business back home and is so desperate to prove he's living the Australian dream that he’ll stop at nothing in order to get a lifestyle he can't sustain. Teenager Stevie (Declan Coyle) comes from a troubled background and hopes to use this new adventure to escape his oppressive father. Meanwhile, Ron (Rob Collins), an Indigenous Australian war veteran, struggles with feeling like an outsider in his own country."

BAFTA-winning writer Danny Brocklehurst has created the six-parter. Filming in Australia is officially underway.

Ten Pound Poms will arrive on BBC One soon.

Champion

Photo credit: David M. Benett - Getty Images
Photo credit: David M. Benett - Getty Images

Candice Carty-Williams, author of the bestselling novel Queenie, will make her screenwriting debut with BBC One and Netflix's Champion.

The show tells the explosive story of what happens when fame collides with family.

Déja J Bowens joins the cast with her TV debut alongside Malcolm Kamulete (Top Boy, Ill Manors), music sensation Ray BLK (also her TV debut), Nadine Marshall (Sherwood, Small Axe), Ray Fearon (His Dark Materials, Beauty and the Beast) and Jo Martin (Doctor Who, Top Boy).

The musical drama also stars Kerim Hassan (Once Upon a Time in London), Adeyinka Akinrinade (Everything I Know About Love, Top Boy), Tom Forbes (Wolf Hall, Knightfall), Genesis Lynea (Shadow and Bone, Silent Witness), Karl Collins (Attack The Block, Hollyoaks), Francis Lovehall (Small Axe, Death on the Nile), Corey Weekes (Coronation Street, Doctors) and Rachel Adedeji (Dreaming Whilst Black, Hollyoaks).

BBC says: "Rap sensation Bosco Champion is home from prison, and ready to dominate the music industry once more. But when his dutiful younger sister Vita’s own talent is discovered by Bosco’s rival, Bulla, she steps out of her brother's shadow to become a performer in her own right, setting the Champion siblings against one another and tearing apart the whole family in the process.

"A love letter to Black British music set in south London, Champion is a celebration of a sound that has long been the beating heart of our culture."

Candice Carty-Williams said in a statement: "Champion is a celebration of Black music and of a Black family, however fragmented that family might be, and I can’t wait for the world to see their story. Since I knew what music was, I’ve loved grime and UK rap and neo-soul, to the point of obsession, and to bring to BBC One and iPlayer in the U.K. and Netflix globally a series that gives these genres of music life and texture is my dream, as is working with some of the best producers and songwriters making music today to create original tracks for the show."

Champion will launch on BBC One and Netflix.

Nolly

Photo credit: Ben Blackall - ITV
Photo credit: Ben Blackall - ITV

Helena Bonham Carter stars as the late TV legend Noele in the three-part drama from It's a Sin's Russel T Davies.

Noele (or Nolly to her friends) was a legend in her own lifetime. As flame-haired widow Meg Richardson in the long-running soap opera Crossroads, she was one of the most famous people in Britain. Then in 1981, at the height of the show’s success and the peak of Nolly’s fame, she was axed without ceremony, without warning and with no explanation. With the boss’s words 'all good things must come to an end' ringing in her ears, Noele Gordon found herself thrown out of the show that was her life for over 18 years.

ITV says: "Nolly is a bold exploration of how the establishment turns on women who refuse to play by the rules, the women it cannot understand and the women it fears. And it is a love letter to a legend of television, and to the madcap soap she starred in, Nolly is an outrageously fun and wildly entertaining ride through Noele Gordon’s most tumultuous years, and a sharp, affectionate and heart-breaking portrait of a forgotten icon."

Augustus Prew (The Morning Show, The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power) joins the cast as Tony Adams, Nolly's Crossroads co-star, devoted friend, confidante, and her occasional chauffer.

Mark Gatiss (Sherlock, League of Gentleman, Doctor Who) joins as inimitable entertainer Larry Grayson, who also shared a close and enduring friendship with Gordon.

Nolly will air on ITVX and ITV soon.

Wilderness

Photo credit: Getty
Photo credit: Getty

Jenna Coleman will star opposite Oliver Jackson-Cohen in Prime Video's adaptation of B.E. Jones' novel of the same name, Wilderness.

The thriller follows British couple Liv (Coleman) and Will (Jackson-Cohen) who seem to have it all: a rock-solid marriage; a glamorous new life in New York thousands of miles from their provincial hometown; and still young enough to feel that their whole lives are ahead of them. Until Liv learns about Will’s affair.

Heartbreak is swiftly followed by another emotion: fury. Revenge is her only option, and when Will proposes a trip around America’s epic National Parks to give their relationship a fresh start, Liv knows just how to get it... Wilderness is a twisted love story, where a dream holiday and a supposedly 'happily-ever-after' quickly turns into a living nightmare.

Ashley Benson (Her Smell, Pretty Little Liars) has joined the cast of Wilderness as Cara, alongside Eric Balfour (Six Feet Under) as Garth, Claire Rushbrook (Sherwood) as Caryl, Marsha Stephanie Blake (Orange is the New Black) as Det. Rawlins and Morgana Van Peebles (Superstition) as Ash. Jonathan Keltz (Reign) also joins the cast as Det. Wiseman and Talia Balsam (Divorce) as Bonnie.

Wilderness will launch on Prime Video.

Ridley

Photo credit: MATT SQUIRE - ITV
Photo credit: MATT SQUIRE - ITV

Line of Duty's Adrian Dunbar is back in uniform in ITV's crime drama Ridley, playing a retired detective working in a consultancy role, who resumes his partnership with his former protégée, DI Carol Farman, played by Bronagh Waugh (Unforgotten, The Fall), who is now in charge of investigations.

Written and created by Vera creator Paul Matthew Thompson, the cast also includes Terence Maynard (Time, Coronation Street) as DCI Paul Goodwin, George Bukhari (Years and Years, The A Word) as DC Darren Lakhan, Georgie Glen (The Crown, Call the Midwife) as pathologist Dr Wendy Newstone. The regular cast also includes Bhavna Limbachia (Citizen Khan, Coronation Street), Aidan McArdle (The Trial of Christine Keeler, The Fall) and Julie Graham (Shetland, Penance).

Adrian said in a statement: "Ridley has begun shooting and we really couldn’t be off to a better start. Despite the wintry weather, everything from cast and crew right down to the catering is excellent. Bronagh Waugh has stepped into her character’s shoes seamlessly and we have been joined by some great actors with more to come."

Ridley will air on ITV soon.

Maternal

Photo credit: Anthony Harvey - Getty Images
Photo credit: Anthony Harvey - Getty Images

ITV's medical drama Maternal centres on three female doctors returning to post-pandemic frontline medicine after maternity leave and having to heroically balance the intense demands of the NHS and motherhood.

The six-part drama will bring together leading actresses Parminder Nagra (DI Ray, Blacklist), Lara Pulver (The Split, The Alienist) and Lisa McGrillis (King Gary, Mum).

Maternal explores working motherhood with wit, warmth and humour and offers a unique perspective on our beloved, overstretched NHS, and the people who hold it together. Sometimes.

The series is written by Jacqui Honess-Martin, who said in a statement: "I am thrilled to bring this funny, warm and quietly political story to ITV.

"It’s been humbling to have the opportunity to hear the stories of so many brave and brilliant female doctors working in the NHS over the past two years and I know the incredible team working on this show will do them proud."

The drama will be directed by the prolific BAFTA nominated director James Griffiths, who has set up countless hit US series including Black-ish, Episodes and A Million Little Things.

Maternal will air on ITV later this year.

The Hunt for Raoul Moat

Photo credit: Ian Gavan - Getty Images
Photo credit: Ian Gavan - Getty Images

ITV has announced the start of filming for true crime drama The Hunt for Raoul Moat starring Lee Inglby. The series will explore the human tragedies that lay behind Britain’s biggest manhunt, told through the eyes of those who sought to bring a violent killer to justice.

The drama focuses on the innocent victims of Moat's crimes - Christopher Brown, Samantha Stobbart and PC David Rathband; the police officers who put themselves in the firing line in their quest to apprehend Moat; and the local journalist who sought to tell Moat’s real story in a landscape of sensationalist reporting and social media provocation.

Lee Ingleby (Criminal UK, The A Word, Inspector George Gently) plays Neil Adamson, a senior Northumbria Police Officer leading the race against time to apprehend Moat.

Sonya Cassidy (The Man Who Fell to Earth, The Last Kingdom, Lodge 49) plays local journalist Diane Barnwell, Vineeta Rishi (Vera, Collateral, Three Girls) as Nisha Roberts, Sally Messham (Artemis Fowl, Doc Martin, Our Ladies) as Samantha Stobbart, Matt Stokoe (Cursed, Jamestown, Bodyguard) as Raoul Moat and Josef Davis (Young Wallander, Chernobyl, Silent Witness) as Christopher Brown.

The Hunt for Raoul Moat will air on ITV.

Malpractice

Photo credit: Samir Hussein - Getty Images
Photo credit: Samir Hussein - Getty Images

Medical thriller Malpractice follows battle-hardened doctor Dr Lucinda Edwards, played by Niamh Algar, who we meet towards the end of a nightmare shift. After the death of an opioid overdose victim, Edith Owusu, and despite the support of her medical supervisor, Dr Leo Harris (James Purefoy), Edith's grieving father Sir Anthony Owusu (Brian Bovell) demands an enquiry into Lucinda’s actions on the fateful night.

ITV says: "Leading the medical investigation are Dr Norma Callahan played by Helen Behan (Holding, The Virtues) and Lucinda’s former colleague, Dr George Adjei, played by Jordan Kouamé (Megalomania). While George feels this was an unavoidable tragedy, Norma is suspicious of Lucinda's behaviour and decisions in the lead up to Edith’s death.

"As the pressure of the investigation intensifies, Lucinda’s relationship with husband Tom, played by Lorne MacFadyen (Pistol, Vigil) starts to fracture, and her confident professional exterior begins to crack. Is Lucinda hiding something?"

Through the cat and mouse thriller of the medical investigation, Malpractice tells the story of a damaged doctor caught up in a dangerous conspiracy.

Malpractice arrives on ITV later this year.

Great Expectations

Photo credit: Miya Mizuno - BBC
Photo credit: Miya Mizuno - BBC

Oscar winner Olivia Colman will star as Miss Havisham in Peaky Blinder creator Steven Knight's adaptation of the classic Dickens novel for BBC One.

The stellar cast will also feature Fionn Whitehead as Pip, alongside Ashley Thomas, Johnny Harris, Shalom Brune-Franklin, Hayley Squires, Owen McDonnell, Trystan Gravelle and Matt Berry.
Great Expectations
is the coming-of-age story of an orphan nicknamed Pip. Dickens first released it in a series of weekly chapters beginning in December 1860 before it was subsequently published as a novel.

Great Expectations will air on BBC One later this year.

You & Me

Photo credit: ITV
Photo credit: ITV

Harry Lawtey, Jessica Barden and Sophia Brown star in ITV's contemporary romantic comedy You and Me, set in London.

ITV says: "Lawtey (Industry, The Pale Blue Eye) plays Ben, a young northerner in London who finds his life changed forever when catastrophe strikes on the happiest day of his life. Jessica Barden (The End of the F***ing World, Pieces of Her, Far From The Madding Crowd) plays Emma, a rising theatre star who hides tragedy behind her success. And Sophia Brown (The Witcher: Blood Origin, Giri/Haji and Borderland) plays Jess, a young woman whose life takes an unexpected turn when she’s running for a bus… "

You & Me is a quintessentially modern love story shot through with the twists, turns and surprises of a gripping thriller. It explores what it means to find love, what it means to lose love, and what it takes to try and love once again.

Julie Hesmondhalgh, Andi Osho, Lily Newmark and Janie Dee also star in the series.

You & Me will premiere on ITV’s new, free streaming service ITVX before arriving on ITV.

The Gold

Photo credit: BBC/Lou Boileau
Photo credit: BBC/Lou Boileau

Downton Abbey's Hugh Bonneville and Dominic Cooper star in BBC's major crime drama Gold, inspired by the iconic true story of the Brink's-Mat robbery - aka the 'crime of the Century', and the decades-long chain of events that followed.

BBC's synopsis reads: "On the 26th November 1983, six armed men broke into the Brink’s-Mat security depot near London’s Heathrow Airport, and inadvertently stumbled across gold bullion worth £26m. What started as 'a typical Old Kent Road armed robbery' according to detectives at the time, became a seminal event in British criminal history, remarkable not only for the scale of the theft, at the time the biggest in world history, but for its wider legacy.

"The disposal of the bullion caused the birth of large-scale international money laundering, provided the dirty money that helped fuel the London Docklands property boom, united blue and white collar criminals and left controversy and murder in its wake.

"Inspired by extensive research and interviews with some of those involved in the events, The Gold is a pulsating dramatisation which takes a journey into a 1980s world awash with cheap money and loosened morals to tell this extraordinary and epic story for the first time in its entirety."

The cast also includes Jack Lowden (Small Axe: Mangrove, Slow Horses), Charlotte Spencer (The Duke, Cinderella), Tom Cullen (Becoming Elizabeth, Black Mirror), Emun Elliott (Guilt, Old), Sean Harris (Southcliffe, Mission: Impossible), Ellora Torchia (Ali and Ava, Midsommar) and Stefanie Martini (Prime Suspect, The Last Kingdom).

The Gold will air on BBC One soon.

The Tower II: Death Message

Photo credit: Future Publishing - Getty Images
Photo credit: Future Publishing - Getty Images

Gentleman Jack's Gemma Whelan returns as DS Sarah Collins in The Tower II: Death Message, based on Kate London's acclaimed second novel, which will be adapted by screenwriter Patrick Harbinson.

Starring alongside Whelan is Tahirah Sharif, who was recently BAFTA-nominated for her role as PC Lizzie Adama, alongside Emmett J Scanlan as DI Kieran Shaw and Jimmy Akingbola as DC Steve Bradshaw.

Commented Polly Hill: “It’s a real thrill to be recommissioning The Tower with an excellent cast and script from Patrick Harbinson and the team at Mammoth Screen. The characters, brilliantly created by novelist Kate London, certainly resonated with our audience who are keen to learn what happens next.”

The Tower II will air on ITV soon.

The Following Events Are Based On A Pack Of Lies

Photo credit: BBC
Photo credit: BBC

The BBC has confirmed filming has begun on the five-part unconventional thriller, The Following Events Are Based On A Pack Of Lies, the first original series from sibling writing duo Penelope and Ginny Skinner.

This is the story of two very different women (Alice Newman and Cheryl Harker) and the conman (Dr Rob Chance) they have in common; a dark, funny, and unpredictable thriller about three remarkable characters trapped in a tangled triangle of complexly layered half-truths and lies of epic proportions.

Marianne Jean-Baptiste (In Fabric, Boxing Day), Alistair Petrie (Sex Education, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, The Night Manager) and Rebekah Staton (Raised by Wolves, Home) lead the cast as Cheryl, Rob and Alice respectively.

The cast also includes Romola Garai (The Hour, Emma, Atonement), Derek Jacobi (Last Tango in Halifax, The Crown, Gladiator), Julian Barratt (The Mighty Boosh, Mindhorn, Nathan Barley), Karl Johnson (Hot Fuzz, Lark Rise to Candleford) and Ellie Haddington (Enola Holmes, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them).

The Following Events Are Based On A Pack Of Lies will air on BBC One.

Marriage

Photo credit: BBC
Photo credit: BBC

The BBC has released the first teaser trailer for Sean Bean and Nicola Walker's intimate drama, Marriage. They play a married couple in the series written and directed by Stefan Golaszewski.

BBC's synopsis reads: "Marriage sees married couple Ian (Bean) and Emma (Walker) negotiate the ups and downs of their 30-year marriage. We see them dealing with the insecurities, the ambiguities, the hopes and the fears that are part of all marriages, as the drama explores the risks and the gifts of a long-term intimate relationship. Sometimes funny, sometimes moving, always revealing."

The cast also includes James Bolam (New Tricks, The Likely Lads) as Gerry, Emma's father, Henry Lloyd-Hughes (The Inbetweeners, Ragdoll) as Jamie, Emma's boss and Chantelle Alle (We Are Lady Parts, Mood) as Jessica, Ian and Emma’s daughter.

Marriage will air on BBC One soon.

Inside Man

Photo credit: BBC
Photo credit: BBC

David Tennant leads a star-studded cast including Stanley Tucci and It's a Sin's Lydia West in BBC One thriller Inside Man from writer Steven Moffatt.

The series will follow a prisoner on death row in the United States (played by Stanley Tucci), a vicar in a quiet English town (David Tennant) and a maths teacher trapped in a cellar, whose lives intersect in a most unexpected way.

Ben Irving, Commissioning Editor for BBC Drama, said in a statement: "Steven Moffat has created another brilliantly original and darkly playful series in Inside Man and it’s no surprise that it has attracted such an extraordinary cast. This will be a ‘must-watch’ when it lands on BBC One and iPlayer next year."

Inside Man will air on BBC One soon.

Maryland

Photo credit: Getty
Photo credit: Getty

Gentleman Jack's Suranne Jones is both co-writer and star of Maryland, a relationship drama about two sisters who have grown apart over the years, but through tragic events learn to love and respect one another all over again.

The three-parter will centre on the relationship between the sisters, who have been driven apart by complex family dynamics, becoming estranged and wrapped up in their own lives.

Jones said in a statement: "Maryland delves into family dynamics and the way in which we ‘label’ each other, sometimes never letting ourselves or our siblings break free from those roles. We look at how we grow apart from one another and how sometimes we don't really know anything about the people we call our own.

"I love how complex sibling relationships can be and I’m thrilled we get to do it over 3 wonderful hours and not as a ‘side story’. Maryland is an uncomfortable, funny and sometimes difficult story with two sisters at its heart and we can’t wait to take our audience along for the ride."

Jones will co-create the series with Anne-Marie O’Connor.

Maryland will air on ITV.

Best Interests

Help writer Jack Thorne has created another devastating and thought-provoking fictional drama called Best Interests for BBC One.

The four-part family drama will star Sharon Horgan and Michael Sheen as married couple Nicci and Andrew, who have two daughters – Katie played by Alison Oliver (Conversation with Friends) and Marnie played by Niamh Moriarty.

The BBC says: "Marnie has a life-threatening condition. The doctors believe it is in her best interests to be allowed to die, but her loving family disagree. And so begins a fight that will take them through every stage of a legal process, as they struggle to contemplate this huge decision. Who decides? And in whose best interests will it be? This is a story of a family driven apart by having to make choices no parent would ever want to make."

The cast also includes Noma Dumezweni (The Undoing) as Samantha, Chizzy Akudolu (Holby City) as Mercy, Des McAleer (Hope Street) as Eddie, Mat Fraser (His Dark Materials) as Greg, Gary Beadle (Grantchester) as Frank, Jack Morris (Strike) as Tom, Pippa Haywood (Bodyguard) as Judge Spottiswood, Shane Zaza (Happy Valley) as Fred, Lucian Msamati (Gangs of London) as Derek and Lisa McGrillis (Mum) as Brenda.

Best Interests will air on BBC One.

Wolf

BBC has confirmed a new crime thriller called Wolf, starring Ukweli Roach and adapted from Mo Hayder's acclaimed Jack Caffery novels.

BBC says: "DI Jack Caffery is a young man searching for himself. Obsessed with the neighbour he believes murdered his ten year-old brother in the nineties, Jack finds himself trying to right the wrongs of others, but at what cost?

"In an isolated house in Monmouthshire, the wealthy Anchor-Ferrers family find themselves the victims of a psychopath’s cruel games, trapped and terrorised. When the two narratives collide, it’s a thrilling, nail-biting and deeply disturbing race against time."

The cast also includes Sacha Dhawan (Doctor Who, Marvel’s Iron Fist) as Honey, Iwan Rheon (Game of Thrones, Riviera) as Molina, mismatched professionals forced together on a job; Sian Reese-Williams (Hidden, Line of Duty) as DI Maia Lincoln, a woman with a case to prove; Juliet Stevenson (Out Of Her Mind, Bend It Like Beckham) as Matilda Anchor-Ferrers, an intelligent yet neurotic housewife and Owen Teale (Line of Duty, Game of Thrones) as Oliver Anchor-Ferrers, Matilda’s wealthy and well-connected husband.

Wolf will air on BBC One soon.

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