With just a few days left of 2016, here are 17 shows that you have to look forward to in 2017, including the return of Sherlock, a brand new series of Inside No. 9 and Gary Barlow’s new BBC One Saturday night show, Let It Shine.
It’s also the year that several programmes move to new channels, The Trip To Spain moves to Sky Atlantic, The Great British Bake Off moves to Channel 4 and The Voice UK moves to ITV. But not all of those shows have made the list.
Before I continue, I must point out that some of these shows were on my 2016 list, but for one reason or another, the shows never surfaced. But fear not because 2017 is almost certain to be the year they do eventually air.
So, without further adieu, here are 17 shows to look forward to in 2017…
1. Babs | BBC One
Babs is a brand new 90-minute drama, written by Tony Jordan, which will tell the heart-warming story of Dame Barbara Windsor, the Cockney kid with a dazzling smile and talent to match. Jaime Winstone and Samantha Spiro will both play Barbara Windsor alongside two child actors.
Preparing to perform in the theatre one cold evening in 1993, Babs takes us on a journey of all the people and events that have shaped her life and career: taking us through fifty years from 1943 to 1993, she contemplates her lonely childhood and WW2 evacuation, her complicated relationship with her father, her doomed marriages, capturing the attention of Joan Littlewood and becoming the blonde bombshell in the Carry On films.
Babs, ever the consummate professional, never lets her fans down whatever her personal anguish and steps on the stage to rapturous applause. A finely woven script merging theatre and film, the story unravels, full of heart and heartbreak – with a touch of sauciness thrown in.
Babs will also star Nick Moran, Zoë Wanamaker and Leanne Best. Nick will play Barbara Windsor’s father, John Deeks, a good-looking, happy-go-lucky cockney with plenty of cheeky wit. John and Barbara shared the same raucous laugh – he has a zest for life and a sunny outlook which he instilled in Barbara, as well as confidence and self-belief.
Leanne will play Barbara’s mother, Rose Deeks. Rose was determined to better herself and worked hard to try to achieve it. She instilled this discipline and desire to aspire in her daughter from a young age. Rose worked as a dressmaker in the West End and had fallen for John’s jack-the-lad personality. However, frustrated with John’s lack of aspiration, the arguments ensued and Rose filed for divorce. Rose looked after and supported Barbara in all her endeavours.
Finally, Zoë will take on the role of legendary theatre director Joan Littlewood. Joan usually wore a cap half-obscuring an expressive face, with a perpetual cigarette protruding. She was infamous for breaking and recreating the rules, something a disciplined Barbara found herself clashing with.
2. Benidorm |ITV
Benidorm is expected to start early 2017 on ITV
Few comedies manage to reach nine, yes NINE series, but that’s exactly what ITV’s Benidorm has managed. Usually in an early January slot, Benidorm has been delayed slightly this year to make way for lots of new drama, but fear not as I’m told we don’t have too much longer to wait!
Exactly what happens in the ninth series of Benidorm, I’m not allowed to reveal just yet but earlier this year I visited the set of Benidorm and spoke to its cast so expect lots of interviews on the site very soon!
What we do know, and what I am allowed to say is that the favourites are back; Jake Canuso returns as Mateo, Sherrie Hewson returns as Joyce Temple Savage, Tony Maudsley returns as and the person you voted for as Best Actor In A Comedy in the 2016 I Talk Telly Awards, Johnny Vegas, is also returning as Geoff “The Oracle” Maltby.
Sadly, due to ill health, Tim Healy wasn’t able to record the second half of the series but far not because Les/Lesley will still appear in the opening 4 episodes of the series and the actor is said to be back in good health.
3. Catastrophe | Channel 4
2015 brought us not one, but two superb series of Catastrophe, yet 2016 brought us nothing and we had to wait until July before a third AND fourth series were confirmed, which means it feels like FOREVER since Rob and Sharon were last on our screens.
I fyou’ve somehow been living under a rock since the start of 2015, then skip past 2016, but do catch up with Catastrophe. Written by and starring Rob Delaney and Sharon Horgan, the series is a single camera comedy about an Irish woman and an American man who make a bloody mess as they struggle to fall in love in London.
In the second series, the stakes were even higher as we rejoined the now married Irish woman (Sharon) and American man (Rob) as they struggled to stay in love (and lust), while new challenges reared their ugly heads.
As if that wasn’t enough, they had to contend with Rob’s monstrous mother, played by the late Carrie Fisher and their crazy friends played by Ashley Jensen and Mark Bonnar, who seem hell-bent on ensuring that whatever new life-journey Rob and Sharon embark on will be anything but simple.
I can’t wait to see what the new series of Catastrophe has in store for Rob and Sharon, and I’m hoping we don’t have to wait too long to find out!
4. Chewing Gum | E4
Chewing Gum returns 12th January on E4
For a relatively low key sitcom on E4, Chewing Gum became the breakout comedy of 2015 and turned writer and star Michaela Coel into a household name.
Not only that, but Michaela went on to win two BAFTA Awards (Best Female Performance in a Comedy Programme and Breakthrough Talent), as well as a Royal Television Society award for Breakthrough and Comedy Performance.
At the end of the first series, we saw Tracey and Connor leaving the Pensbourne Estate, dressed only in their pants and walking into the sunset and the unknown. Both had been thrown out of home, Cynthia’s wedding day ended in disaster, Connor lost his job, and their lives were all in a bit of a mess. Things weren’t looking great.
In the opening episode of the news series, Tracey’s return to the Pensbourne Estate doesn’t quite go as she would have liked. Best friend Candice isn’t happy to see her and mum Joy won’t let her in. But at least she’s back at work at Deepak’s Delectables.
Tracey discovers ex-boyfriend Connor’s got a new relationship, and ropes Ola into helping her convince Connor she has moved on. Connor meanwhile tells a few lies of his own in order to get Tracey to talk about what actually happened between them.
5. Cold Feet | ITV
Cold Feet is expected to return Autumn 2017 on ITV
Many wanted it to happen for years, but equally when the announcement was made that Cold Feet would be returning after 13 years, many thought it wouldn’t work. Boy did they prove them wrong.
The return of Cold Feet to our screens was one of the best revivals, comebacks (call it what you will), that television has ever seen. The original cast were all back, (some with a bit more hair), and you could see that playing these characters came naturally to them.
The new series picked back up 13 years on and explored the relationship between Adam and his son, Pete’s depression and ended with a surprise return from Ramona, who turned up with Karen and David’s son Josh who reveals to his parents that he’s gay.
Quite where Mike Bullen will take the next series, no one knows but if it’s half as good as series six then it’s going to be pretty incredible.
6. Doctor Foster | BBC One
Doctor Foster is expected to return Autumn 2017 on BBC One
Doctor Foster was the highest rating new drama of 2015, reaching 10.1 million viewers for THAT finale and the second series started filming September 2016 meaning it’s likely to air Autumn 2017.
The new five-part series will tell the next exhilarating chapter in Gemma’s story, who once again will be played by the superb Suranne Jones.
All we know about the second series is what Mike Bartlett, writer and creator of Doctor Foster, said in the press release for the series two announcement:
“I’ve been astounded by the response to Doctor Foster. So I’m thrilled that alongside Drama Republic and the phenomenal Suranne Jones, we’re now going to tell the next chapter in Gemma’s story. Her life in Parminster may look better on the surface, but as she will discover to her cost, every action has its consequences eventually. No one comes through hell unscathed.”
To which Suranne herself added:
“After discussions with Drama Republic and the wonderful Mike Bartlett I am thrilled to announce we will all be reunited to tell Gemma’s next chapter, and I can’t wait for the audience who invested in these characters to find out what explosive twists and turns Mike has in store. Now we can look into what happens to a woman after divorce, when deceit and revenge have taken their toll. What a gift of a part and a dream to work with Mike again!”
Either way, I can’t wait for the new series of Doctor Foster which if this list was in the order of the shows I’m most excited, would be somewhere near the top.
7. Inside No. 9 | BBC Two
Inside No. 9 is expected to return early 2017 on BBC Two
Following the 2016 Christmas special, a third series of BBC Two comedy Inside No 9 is expected early 2017.
Once again, a star-studded cast will join creators Reece Shearsmith and Steve Pemberton in more stand-alone comedy drama, each one set in a different location with a completely new style, tone and characters.
New settings include a restaurant after closing time, an art gallery and even the doors of some very ordinary-seeming houses reveal some of the best and most intriguing stories, because once you’re inside No. 9, anything can happen.
Sone of the stars this year making guest appearances are; Felicity Kendal (Rosemary And Thyme), Fiona Shaw (True Blood), Jason Watkins (The Lost Honour Of Christopher Jefferies), Keeley Hawes (Line Of Duty), Mathew Baynton (The Wrong Mans), Philip Glenister (Life On Mars), Sarah Hadland (Miranda), Tamzin Outhwaite (New Tricks), Javone Prince (The Javone Prince Show), Montserrat Lombard (Ashes To Ashes), Morgana Robinson (Morgana Robinson’s The Agency) and Alexandra Roach (No Offence).
8. Let It Shine | BBC One
Let It Shine starts Saturday 7th January at 7pm on BBC One
Having lost The Voice UK, BBC One were quick to announce a brand new Saturday night entertainment show Let It Shine. Over eight weeks of competition, the series will search for five talented boys that will form a band to perform the songs of Take That in a brand new stage show touring the UK next year.
The judges are Gary Barlow, Dannii Minogue and Martin Kemp, and the series will be presented by Graham Norton and Mel Giedroyc.
Let It Shine will welcome guest judges in each stage of the competition. In this first week and throughout the auditions, the judges are joined by Amber Riley, star of hit TV show Glee and currently leading lady in the West End musical Dreamgirls and singer Lulu will join the judges for the second stage of the competition.
During the auditions the boys have just one performance to impress our judges. They will all sing, and some will dance and others will play instruments. But have they got what it takes to get through to the next round, where the lucky ones will get to perform in groups alongside hugely popular music acts?
As well as those who have applied to be on the show, Gary has gone out across the UK to find talented contestants who have been secretly nominated by their friends and families. Gary surprises them and personally invites them to audition in front of the Let It Shine judges.
First look pics from the brand new series coming soon as well as my review of the new series.
9. The Moorside | BBC One
The Moorside is expected early 2017 on BBC One
Sheridan Smith will star in The Moorside, a two-part drama for BBC One about the public response to the disappearance of Yorkshire schoolgirl Shannon Matthews which looks at the story from the point of view of the community.
She’ll play Julie, chair of the Moorside residents and tenants association and prominent in the desperate search to find Shannon Matthews.
Sian Brooke will play friend and neighbour Natalie, Siobhan Finneran will be play Christine Freeman, and Gemma Whelan will play Karen Matthews. The drama will give a fresh perspective on a front page story we all remember, focusing not on the crime itself but on the community that lived through it.
It will reveal how a group of women brought their community together in their attempt to find a child who disappeared in their midst. The focus of the drama is on the spirit and determination of the women at the forefront of the campaign and the impact on them when the truth about Shannon’s disappearance was finally revealed.
10. Motherland | BBC Two
Following a successful pilot, which received critical acclaim and consolidated to 2 million, Motherland will be returning to BBC Two in 2017 for a full series.
Written by Graham Linehan (Count Arthur Strong), Sharon Horgan (Catastrophe), Helen Linehan and Holly Walsh (Dead Boss), Motherland is a show all about navigating the trials and traumas of motherhood, looking at the competitive and unromantic sides of parenting – not the cute and acceptable public face of motherhood.
In the on-air pilot, we met the ‘Alpha Mums’ headed by Amanda (Lucy Punch) who is very much the Queen Bee: everything in her life is organised, clean and sparkly, even the kitchen cork board is a statement of success!
At the other end of the spectrum we met Liz (Diane Morgan) who’s totally chaotic and feels the kids should enjoy free expression. Somewhere in the middle was Julia, played by Anna Maxwell-Martin, who, when in the pilot forgot that it was the school holidays and began to realise that her organisational skills were nowhere near the level of the ‘Alpha Mums’.
Also in the mix is stay-at-home dad Kevin (Paul Ready), who rather than fighting against that, is embracing it with gusto, much to the irritation of the other mothers.
11. Peter Kay’s Car Share | BBC One
Very little is known about the second series of Peter Kay’s Car Share, other than it’s definitely happening.
When it launched in 2015, it premiered on BBC iPlayer in its entirety and became the comedy highlight of the year, winning several awards and put Peter Kay firmly back on the radar for those who love British comedy.
The chemistry between Kay and his co-star Sian Gibson was a joy to watch as John and Kayleigh, an assistant manager and a promotions rep.
The series follows what happens when two Supermarket employees are forced into a car share scheme that sees them commute together to and from work.
With Kayleigh moving away at the end of Series 2 I’m keeping everything crossed that she somehow finds her way back to sharing a car with John!
12. Redwater | BBC One
Redwater is expected Spring 2017 on BBC One
Missing Kat and Alfie in EastEnders? Well fear not, because in 2017 they’ll be back on our screens, but not in EastEnders, in their brand new six-part primetime series for BBC One called Redwater.
Redwater is a tiny, picturesque Irish harbour village, a quiet rural idyll by the sea where the Kelly and Dolan families have lived for generations. When Kat and Alfie Moon arrive in search of Kat’s long-lost son, Kat’s quest for the truth uncovers secrets that the village of Redwater would rather were left buried at sea.
Joining Jessie Wallace and Shane Richie will be an ensemble cast of some of Ireland’s best talent including Fionnula Flanagan (Lost), Maria Doyle Kennedy (Orphan Black), Ian McElhinney (Game Of Thrones), Angeline Ball (Shameless) Peter Campion (Brooklyn) and Stanley Townsend (The Hollow Crown).
They will be joined by Oisin Stack, Stephen Hogan, Susan Ateh, Ian Toner and Ebony O’Toole-Acheampong and the series will be directed by multi-award winning Danish director Jesper Nielsen (Borgen, Through A Glass Darkly) and written by EastEnders’ alumni including Life On Mars creator Matthew Graham, Julie Dixon, Lauren Klee and Matthew Barry.
13. Sherlock | BBC One
Sherlock returns New Year’s Day at 8:30pm on BBC One
Starting 2017 off in style is the brand new series of Sherlock on New Year’s Day.
Benedict Cumberbatch returns as Sherlock Holmes, with Martin Freeman as John Watson, Mark Gatiss as Mycroft, Rupert Graves as Inspector Lestrade, Una Stubbs as Mrs Hudson, Amanda Abbington as Mary Watson, Louise Brealey as Molly Hooper and Toby Jones joins as Culverton Smith.
What we know so far is that the series will be three parts; The Six Thatchers, The Lying Detective and The Final Problem.
In the first episode, Sherlock waits to see where Moriarty will make his posthumous move. One mysterious case in particular baffles Scotland Yard, but Sherlock is more interested in a seemingly-trivial detail.
Why is someone destroying images of the late Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher? Is there a madman on the loose? Or is there a much darker purpose at work? Something with its roots deep in Mary Watson’s past.
14. Taskmaster | Dave
Taskmaster is expected to return Spring 2017 on Dave
Following not one, but two successful series in 2016, the brilliant Taskmaster will be returning to Dave for a fourth series. Lined up to take part are Hugh Dennis, Joe Lycett, Lolly Adefope, Mel Giedroyc and Noel Fielding.
Taskmaster Greg Davies and his loyal assistant Alex Horne are both back and will judge five new unwitting personalities as they compete against each other with creativity, cunning and genius in a series of stupefying tasks.
The first series was won by Josh Widdicombe, the second by Katherine Ryan and the most recent comedian to take home the Taskmaster crown was Rob Beckett. But who out of Hugh, Joe, Lolly, Mel and Noel will become the new Taskmaster champion? You’ll have to watch to find out!
15. Tina And Bobby | ITV
Tina And Bobby starts Friday 13th January at 9pm on ITV
Michelle Keegan is returning to our screens after the success of Our Girl to play original WAG Tina Moore, in Tina And Bobby, a new three-part drama for ITV about the life of footballer Bobby Moore.
The mini series will the story of the England and West Ham legend’s life with his childhood sweetheart, Tina Dean, from their humble beginnings to the dizzy heights of superstardom. When England won the World Cup in July 1966 Bobby Moore became a national hero. Swept up by the media frenzy and the nation’s adoration, he and wife Tina were the original ‘golden’ couple.
Based on Tina Moore’s memoir, Bobby Moore: By The Person Who Knew Him Best, Tina And Bobby is an epic love story about an ordinary girl from Essex who fell head over heels in love with an ordinary boy, who just happened to be an extraordinarily talented footballer.
A typist for the Prudential, Tina first met Bobby aged 15 when she ‘played hookey from school to go to the Ilford Palais with her cousin Jenny’. Film star handsome and coolness personified, Bobby was only 17 himself and, though an exciting emerging talent, had yet to make a first team appearance.
Unpretentious Tina had a loving upbringing in the modest semi-detached home of her resilient mother Betty. Typically down to earth, Bobby had experienced the same nurturing relationship with his parents Big Bob and Doss, who were always to feature prominently in his life.
Tina was to marry Bobby on 30 June 1962 with former West Ham and Manchester United full back Noel Cantwell as Bobby’s Best Man and flamboyant football manager Malcolm Allison and the West Ham team in the congregation.
See first look pictures from the series here and you can read my interview with Michelle Keegan soon!
16. The Trip To Spain | Sky Atlantic
The Trip To Spain is expected start early 2017 on Sky Atlantic
Whilst The Trip and The Trip To Italy were very much BBC Two series, Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon’s brilliant series is getting a third series, but on Sky Atlantic.
They’ll soon be back bringing the laughs while tucking into tasty dishes in six stunning Spanish locales, from Cantabria, to the Basque region, Aragon, Rioja, Castile-La Mancha and Andalusia.
The new series will see Steve and Rob’s fictionalised characters back on their culinary quest as they head off on a road trip from the North Atlantic to the Mediterranean coast for a fresh helping of gastronomic adventures.
The Trip To Spain promises to be a journey of food, fun and frivolity and, of course, plenty of impersonations!
17. The Voice UK | ITV
The Voice returns Saturday 7th January at 8pm on ITV
2016 saw the BBC lose two of its biggest television shows, The Great British Bake Off and The Voice UK, which in 2017 makes the move to ITV.
With Will.i.am the only coach to make the move that left three empty rotating chairs which have been filled by Jennifer Hudson, Gavin Rossdale and Sir Tom Jones who returns to the show after being ungracefully sacked from the show after series three.
Emma Willis has also moved across to ITV to remain as the show’s main host, leaving Marvin Humes behind who has been replaced (sort of) by Cold Feet star Ceallach Spellman who takes charge of all the interactions at home via social media in the V Room.
First look pics from the brand new series coming soon!