Seven TV shows to look forward to in 2018
PUBLISHED: 00:00 28 December 2017
Christmas is so 2017. Let’s look forward to 2018 and see what the small screen has in store for us. TV Editor Stacia Briggs looks ahead to a new year on the box with a host of delights from Vanity Fair to A Very English Scandal.
Vanity Fair, ITV: Just how many shows are prefaced by the words ‘filling the Downton Abbey-sized hole in the TV schedules’? Lots, let me tell you. Vanity Fair is a splendid bodice, bonnet and breeches romp which was originally published in serial form from January 1847 to June 1848 and is set in Regency England during the Napoleonic wars. It also includes a character called George Osborne, who comes to a sticky end. No comment. The classic 19th-century English novel by William Makepeace Thackeray is being adapted for a new seven-part drama, with Bates Motel actress Olivia Cooke as the heroine Becky Sharp, who attempts to claw her way out of poverty and climb the ladder of English society.
The Generation Game, BBC One: Didn’t it do well – this bastion of British TV brilliance will be helmed by ex-Bake Off duo Mel Giedroyc and Sue Perkins when it returns. Undergoing a revival, the programme will include many features familiar to fans of previous series as pairs of contestants from different generations of families take on tasks in the hope of securing a chance to win prizes from the show’s famous conveyor belt. Look out for the cuddly toy. Good game, good game.
A Very English Scandal, BBC One: Hugh Grant will be the latest film star to make the leap to the small screen when he plays the late Jeremy Thorpe in a three-part mini-series A Very English Scandal. Grant will take the role of the former Liberal Party leader in the series, penned by Bafta-winning Doctor Who scribe Russell T Davies and directed by the Oscar-nominated Stephen Frears, which portrays the political and sex scandal that ended Thorpe’s career.
Dancing On Ice, ITV: In I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here, the peril is perceived rather than real: eating a kangaroo’s nether regions might make you feel queasy but it isn’t going to kill you, hurling yourself over icy on a pair of flimsy blades while wearing an Elvis-in-the-latter-years sequin jumpsuit just might. Personally, I find it frightening enough to walk along an icy pavement, let alone skate, so the intrepid contestants instantly have my respect. Back from retirement, DOI is back as are hosts Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield. One contestant has already crashed out with a broken ankle (Monty Panesar) so the carnage has already begun. Also skittering around will be Bake Off champion Candice Brown, Love Island winner Kem Cetinay, Hollyoaks star Stephanie Waring and athlete Perri Shakes-Drayton get their skates on. Ice dancers Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean judge. Expect Bolero. And for anyone that complains they never recognise celebrities on shows such as this, I definitely recognise the two in the clip here - I think I’ve seen them on one of David Attenborough’s shows.
Patrick Melrose, Sky Atlantic: Benedict Cumberbatch has won his dream role (he said so in 2013) of Patrick Melrose, a playboy who, ahem, self-medicated in order to block out memories from his past. We’ve all done it (my poison is Parma Violets). This new joint venture by Sky Atlantic and Showtime is a five-part series based on Edward St Aubyn’s acclaimed series of semi-autobiographical novels. Each episode of the period drama will tell the story of Melrose’s hectic life – it’s set in the south of France in the 1960s, New York in the 1980s and the UK in the early 2000s, so it covers the air miles, too.
The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story, BBC Two: Following in the footsteps of its wildly popular predecessor, The People v OJ Simpson (remember Travolta as Robert Shapiro? As stilted as the stilt room in a circus workshop), this second outing in the American Crime Story anthology series is likely to captivate audiences across the world. Point Break star Edgar Ramirez plays Gianni Versace in the 10-part series, which documents the murder of the late fashion designer in the summer of 1997. Penelope Cruz plays Versace’s sister Donatella, while singer Ricky Martin is Versace’s long-time partner Antonio D’Amico, and Glee’s Darren Criss stars as serial killer Andrew Cunanan, who shot the designer on the steps of his mansion in Miami.
All Together Now, BBC One: Another year, another new singing TV show to fill our Saturday nights. The BBC is introducing its new effort in 2018, but the show has a twist: it does away with the standard talent show judging panel and instead will see singers perform in front of a very discerning audience called The 100, a collection of opinionated musical experts. If the performer, either a group or a solo singer, manages to impress, members of The 100 will get up to sing along. The more members of the audience who are prompted to get up to take part, the higher the contestant’s score. Comic Rob Beckett will host the six-part prime time series, with ex-Spice Girl Geri Horner on hand as the overseer of The 100. It sounds a bit gladatorial…