120+ New & Returning British TV Shows in 2021 (& Perhaps 2022)

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The end of 2020 and the beginning of 2021 have been a bit of a slow time in British TV. The pandemic has changed everything, and television production is no exception. The good news is that there are TONS of new British TV shows planned for 2021 and beyond, even if it does take a little longer than usual to get them out to the world.

Aside from the actual lockdowns, it takes more time and money to film safely with social distancing. Some shows have had to be rewritten to reduce contact or place more scenes outdoors. When lockdown restrictions eased and filming was again permitted, many productions found themselves with scheduling nightmares as productions that wouldn't have normally overlapped all tried to get back up and going at once.

In some cases, actors and crew members got sick. Some, like Bobby Ball (The Cockfields, Not Going Out), even died after contracting COVID. 

All that is to say that until this thing is over, dates and production schedules are very much subject to change. We'd love to be able to tell you exactly when all the new 2021 British TV Shows are coming out, but the unfortunate truth is that until they're filmed, edited, and ready to air, nobody can be sure.

So, with that disclaimer aside, let's get on with the new British TV shows for 2021 (and probably some for 2022). Not all the returning shows have been aired in the US or Canada, but if there's one you like that isn't streaming, you can always try ordering the DVD set from Amazon UK. You'll just need a region-free DVD player to watch it (available for $30-50 on eBay or Amazon)

New & Returning British TV Shows for 2021

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Ackley Bridge returns with a new format in series 4

ACKLEY BRIDGE, SERIES 4

Network: Channel 4

Date: Likely 2021

Originally slated for a 2020 release, this one was delayed by the pandemic. The new fourth series will return with some major cast changes and a new format. Instead of hour-long episodes, it will now feature 10 half-hour episodes.

The dramedy follows the activities and relationships at a multicultural school in a fictional Yorkshire mill town.

 

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A DISCOVERY OF WITCHES, SERIES 2

Network: Sky & Sundance Now

Date: 9 January 2021

Originally scheduled for a late 2020 release, filming was disrupted due to the pandemic. Series 2 will arrive in January with new cast members Steven Cree (Outlander) and James Purefoy (The Following) making appearances.

In Series 2, Diana and Matthew will head to Elizabethan London in search of “England’s most powerful witch” and a book that promises immortality.

 

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After Life. Ricky Gervais and Penelope Wilton.

AFTER LIFE, SERIES 3

Network: Netflix

Date: Likely later in 2021

This Ricky Gervais-penned sitcom surprised more than a few people with the depth and sensitivity it brought to the story of a man grieving his late wife. After two successful seasons, Gervais announced the upcoming season three will be the last. He posted a script draft on Instagram back in late September, so while we know it’s coming, it’s still too early for a date.

  • Stream it on Netflix

 

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Agatha Raisin is expected to bring new episodes in 2021 or possibly 2022

AGATHA RAISIN, SERIES 4

Network: Acorn TV

Date: 2021

Star Mathew Horne (who plays Roy Silver) shared that series four production was about to start when the lockdown disrupted production of this Acorn TV Original series.

So far, the series has adapted 16 of the existing Agatha Raisin novels for a total of 16 episodes. There are 31 novels in total, the latest one finished with the help of Rod Green after M.C. Beaton’s passing earlier this year. There’s been no announcement about which of the novels will feature in series four.

 

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Alex Rider premiered in late 2020, and has been confirmed for a second season

ALEX RIDER, SERIES 2

Network: ITV

Date: Likely late 2021/early 2022

Based on the popular young adult novels by Anthony Horowitz (Foyle’s War), this series follows a young man whose reluctant guardian has been secretly training him as a spy.

Series 2 is scheduled to start filming in Bristol in January 2021. It’s expected to last 22 weeks, followed by post-production – meaning that if all goes according to schedule, we can probably expect to see a new series by late 2021 or early 2022.

 

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All Creatures Great & Small (2020)

ALL CREATURES GREAT & SMALL, SERIES 2

Network: Channel 5, PBS

Date: Likely late 2021

Though the first series won’t make it across the pond until January 2021, this Yorkshire-based veterinary tale has already been renewed for a second set of episodes.

The series is a remake of the classic British TV series from the 1970s and 80s, and both are based on the books of British veterinarian Alf Wight (aka James Herriot).

 

ALMA’S NOT NORMAL

Network: BBC Two

Date: Likely 2021

After a successful pilot in early 2020, this Sophie Willan comedy is coming back with a full series. Based on her own tumultuous childhood, the series follows Willan as Alma, a woman trying to get her life back on track after a breakup. Siobhan Finneran (Downton Abbey) will play Alma’s dysfunctional mother Lin, while Lorraine Ashbourne (Peak Practice) will play her Grandma Joan.

 

ANNE BOLEYN

Network: Channel 5

Date: Likely late 2021/22

This controversial Channel 5 historical drama casts Black British actress Jodie Turner-Smith (Queen & Slim) as Anne Boleyn, the doomed second wife of King Henry VIII. It reimagines the later part of her life as a three-part feminist psychological thriller rather than a more traditional-style period drama.

 

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New in 2021: David Tennant stars in Around the World in 80 Days

AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 DAYS

Production: BBC

Date: 2021

David Tennant (Des) will star in this upcoming adaptation of the classic Jules Verne novel. The series will play out over eight hour-long episodes, telling the story of Phileas Fogg and his valet Passepartout as they attempt to circumnavigate the globe in just 80 days. French actor Ibrahim Koma (Mother is Wrong) will play Passepartout.

 

THE BABY

Network: Sky Atlantic, HBO

Date: Likely late 2021 or 2022

This dark comedy follows 38-year-old Natasha after she unexpectedly finds herself with a baby. Suddenly, everything good in her life implodes. She can no longer do what she wants, when she wants – and worse still, the baby seems to have violent and controlling powers over her.

The series is set to be filmed in the UK in 2021.

 

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Tchéky Karyo returns to his role as Julien Baptiste

BAPTISTE, SERIES 2

Network: BBC One

Date: Likely 2021

This spinoff from The Missing sees Tchéky Karyo back in the role of detective Julien Baptiste. Series 2 began filming in Budapest in February 2020, but we’ve not seen any announcements about how it was affected by the pandemic or when we can expect a premiere date.

We do know that Fiona Shaw (Killing Eve) will join the cast as British Ambassador Emma Chambers in Series 2.

 

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The Bay arrives on BritBox on January 20th in 2021

THE BAY, SERIES 2

Network: ITV

Date: January 20th on BritBox (US)

Billed as the new Broadchurch, this series premiered to a great deal of interest in 2019. It was quickly renewed for a second series, and we’ll soon be seeing Morven Christie and her Morecambe colleagues back for a new mystery.

Given everything that happened in series 1, there are certainly a lot of directions they could take it in. 

 

BEFORE WE DIE

Network: Channel 4

Date: 2020

Lesley Sharp (Scott & Bailey) will star in this British adaptation of the hit Swedish crime drama. She’ll play detective Hannah Laing, a woman who becomes conflicted when she realises her son is an undercover informant in a murder investigation.

Patrick Gibson (The Tudors) will play her son Christian, while Vincent Regan (Wallander) will star as Billy Murdoch, another investigator in Hannah’s unit. Filming will take place over autumn and winter of 2020.

 

BEHIND HER EYES

Network: Netflix

Date: Late 2020, early 2021

Based on Sarah Pinborough’s 2017 novel of the same name, this psychological thriller follows a single mother, Louise (Simona Brown), who begins an affair with her new boss, David (Tom Bateman). Things get strange when she also starts to become friends with his wife Adele (Eve Hewson). Soon, an unusual love triangle morphs into a dangerous web of secrets and lies.

 

THE BIRTH OF DANIEL F HARRIS

Network: Channel 4

Date: Likely late 2020

This eight-episode drama tells the story of a young man whose grief-stricken father took him away to a remote area as a baby, raising him on old movies and Benny Goodman records.

After 18 years of hearing about the dangers of the outside world, he must leave home and face reality. Now, he has to come to terms with a world he never knew existed, and perhaps even find out who killed his mother all those years before.

 

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James Nesbitt stars in Bloodlands

BLOODLANDS

Network: BBC One, Acorn TV

Date: Early 2021

James Nesbitt (Cold Feet) stars as detective Tom Brannick in this drama about a police detective in Northern Ireland who makes a connection between a car pulled out of Strangford Lough and a cold case of personal significance.

Other stars include Lisa Dwan (Top Boy), Michael Smiley (Luther, Dead Still), and Ian McElhinney (Derry Girls).

 

BLOODS

Network: Sky

Date: 2021

Set in South London, this comedy follows a mis-matched pair of paramedics and their colleagues. Loner Maleek (Samson Kayo, Famalam) works with overly-friendly divorcee Wendy (Jane Horrocks, Absolutely Fabulous), and while it doesn’t initially look like a promising partnership, they soon become close.

 

BRAIN IN GEAR

Network: BBC Two

Date: Likely 2021

After the success of their BAFTA-nominated 2019 short, this comedy has been picked up for a full series. It’s described as “a flat-share comedy where the nightmare tenants…are the voices in your head.” Gbemisola Ikumelo (Famalam) will star.

 

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Brassic returns for another season in 2021

BRASSIC, SERIES 3

Network: Sky UK, Hulu

Date: 2021

After two successful seasons, this working-class northern English comedy was quickly renewed for a third set of episodes. The series follows Vinnie O’Neill and his friends as they commit small-time crimes and wonder whether there might be a better life for them outside their small town.

Filming began in October 2020, but there are no details on an exact premiere date.

 

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Breeders returns in 2021

BREEDERS, SERIES 2

Network: Sky One, FX, Hulu

Date: 2021

Martin Freeman (Sherlock) and Daisy Haggard (Episodes) star in this sitcom about two parents struggling with their new roles as keepers of small humans. The series is described as exploring the paradox between loving your children so much you’d die for them, yet frequently wanting to kill them.

 

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Britannia returns in 2021

BRITANNIA, SERIES 3

Network: Sky, Epix

Date: Likely late 2021/22

This historical fantasy offers up an imaginative version of Britain in the year AD 43, showing us a land ruled by druids and powerful women. When the Romans arrive, it kicks off all sorts of battle and sorcery as the two groups fight for control of the land.

In September, the Britannia Twitter account announced they were back on set filming series 3.  Sophie Okonedo (Ratched) will be joining the case in the upcoming series in the role of Hemple, wife of Roman General Aulus (played by David Morrissey).

 

BUFFERING

Network: ITV2

Date: Likely 2021

Comedian Iain Stirling will star in this six-episode coming of age comedy that he wrote with fellow comedian Steve Bugeja.  Relatively few details are available about the content, but the series began shooting in London in 2020.

 

call the midwife cyril
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Call the Midwife returns in 2021

CALL THE MIDWIFE, SERIES 10

Network: BBC One

Date: 2021

After pandemic-related delays, this period drama will return soon with both a 2020 Christmas special and an upcoming tenth series. The Christmas special brings us up to December 1965, and we’ll see the ladies at Nonnatus House experiencing a Christmas where nothing seems to go right.

Series 10 will be set in 1966, and while few details have been released, it seems fairly certain we’ll hear something about England’s World Cup win that year. That was also the year of the Aberfan disaster in Wales, along with a bit of UK-US friction over Vietnam. It’ll be one year prior to the legalisation of abortion and homosexuality, so there’s a good chance we’ll see storylines heading in those directions, too.

  • Catch up with Seasons 1-9 on Netflix

 

CANNES CONFIDENTIAL

Network: Acorn TV

Date: 2021

This Acorn TV Original series blends comedy, romance, mystery, and crime along the Cote d’Azur. Written by Midsomer Murders and Van der Valk writer Chris Murray, the series will be the first English-language procedural to be produced and set in the region since the 1970s classic The Persuaders.

 

CHIVALRY

Network: Channel 4

Date: Likely 2021

This six-episode comedy series pairs a “woke” writer/director, Bobby (Sarah Solemani, Barry), with a successful film producer and ladies man who has a taste for young women (Steve Coogan, Alan Partridge). She’s been promised funding for her feminist Biblical biopic if she can rescue his sexually problematic thriller.

 

THE CLEANER

Network: BBC One

Date: Likely 2021

Based on the hit German series Der Tatortreiniger (aka Crime Scene Cleaner, on MHz Choice at time of print), this English adaptation will star Greg Davies (The Inbetweeners) as a quirky specialist cleaner of crime scenes. As Paul “Wicky” Wickstead, he’ll work for Shropshire-based cleaning contractor Laussen to remove the gruesome messes left behind by criminals.

 

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Cobra returns in 2021

COBRA, SERIES 2

Network: Sky One

Date: Likely 2021

Robert Carlyle (Hamish Macbeth) stars in this political thriller in which the UK Prime Minister attempts to restore order after a major disaster. Series 2 will see Carlyle return to play the PM alongside Victoria Hamilton as Chief of Staff Anna Marshall. It’s also expected that David Haig and Richard Dormer will reprise their roles as Home Secretary and Director of the Civil Contingencies Secretariat.

Sky has revealed that the new series will see the PM rebuilding the country after a solar storm – until an assassination threatens the peace he’s restored.

 

THE COCKFIELDS, SERIES 2

Network: Gold

Date: Likely 2021

This oddball family sitcom was renewed for a second series back in summer 2020, but sadly, star Bobby Ball passed away from COVID-19 complications in October. The talented comedian appeared set to reprise his role with filming to begin in August, but between his passing and ongoing changes in pandemic-related restrictions, it’s uncertain where this one stands.

In the initial series, we saw Simon (Joe Wilkinson, Rovers) bringing his girlfriend Donna back home to the Isle of Wight to meet his overbearing family.

 

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Code 404 returns in 2021

CODE 404, SERIES 2

Network: Sky One

Date: Likely 2021

The first series of this comedy begins when a talented but dead operative is brought back to life under an experimental programme. Stars Stephen Graham and Daniel Mays (both of Line of Duty) will both return for the second outing.

 

THE CURSE

Network: Channel 4

Date: Likely 2021

Set in the 1980s, this crime dramedy is based on the true story of a gang who pulls off a robbery, only to get more than they bargained for. The series comes to us from the People Just Do Nothing team, with Steve Stamp, Allan Mustafa, and Hugo Chegwin all involved.

 

DALGLIESH

Network: Acorn TV

Date: 2021

Based on the Dalgliesh novels of P.D. James, this Acorn TV Original series will star Bertie Carvel as the iconic poetry-writing detective. The upcoming series will adapt three of the Dalgliesh novels: Shroud for a Nightingale, The Black Tower, and A Taste for Death.

Production begins in Northern Ireland in December, and the series is expected to premiere sometime in 2021.

 

DANNY BOY

Network: BBC Two

Date: 2021

Toby Jones (Detectorists) and Anthony Boyle (Ordeal by Innocence) are set to star in this new drama about Brian Wood, a real-life soldier accused of war crimes in Iraq. Jones will play human rights lawyer Phil Shiner, the man who went up against him in the legal battle. The feature-length drama takes a look at the fine line between war and war crimes.

Filming began in autumn 2020.

 

DEATH COMES AS THE END

Network: BBC One

Date: 2021

This upcoming three-part mystery is based on the 1944 Agatha Christie novel of the same name, and follows an intriguing murder set in Ancient Egypt. Set in Thebes in 2000 BC, it was Christie’s only novel not set in the 20th century, and it’s one of just a handful never before seen on screen.

In the novel, we see an Egyptian family’s peaceful life disturbed when the father, Imhotep, returns home with a new concubine. She creates problems within the family, and deaths aren’t far behind.

Originally slated for Christmas 2019, updates have been scarce and 2021 is looking probable.

 

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Ralf Little in Death in Paradise

DEATH IN PARADISE, SERIES 10

Network: BBC One

Date: Early 2021, no US date yet

This tropical island whodunnit brings us a 10th season in early 2021, and they also announced that the series would be renewed for Series 11 and 12. Ralf Little entered the series in Season 9 as DI Neville Parker, but he may not be long for Saint Marie. In an interview, he indicated that he'll be back  next year, but he's not officially signed on for both of the renewed seasons. Whether they'll keep him around or not is anyone's guess.

 

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