While the festive season may be best known for its decadent dinners and fun-filled gatherings, it’s also a time for cosy nights in snuggled around the television. This time of year is when some of the best new TV shows are released, from the glitz and glamour of the long-awaited Sex and the City reboot or the BBC’s must-watch Boxing Day offering, A Very British Scandal. Here are the new TV shows The Glossary team will be watching this Christmas and New Year.
Best New TV Shows To See This Christmas & New Year
After months of feverish speculation and hundreds of furtive photographs capturing what Sarah Jessica Parker has been wearing during filming – feather fascinator hats! Vintage Jean Paul Gaultier suits! Manolo Blahnik heels! – the much-discussed Sex and the City reboot is finally here. While it may be missing a key character in the form of Kim Cattrall’s Samantha and early episodes have divided opinion, it’s a must-watch for any fan of the original, if only for the stand-out fashion moments. Picking up where the spin-off films left off with Carrie, Charlotte and Miranda, the show explores the complicated reality of life, friendship and dating in your 50s – with more than a few surprises thrown in for good measure.
Airing every Thursday on Sky Comedy
The prolific Mark Gatiss, best known as the man behind Sherlock and Dracula, returns to the BBC with this festive ghost story. Adapted from a spooky tale by M.R. James first published in 1904, the half-hour drama is set in the 1920s and stars a moustachioed Rory Kinnear as Edward Williams, a curator at a university art museum who receives an engraving of an eerie country house. Inevitably, all is not as it seems and Edward starts to find himself haunted by the events of his past, leaving his sanity on the line. Starring Francis Barber as Mrs Ambrigail, Nikesh Patel as Nisbet and Robert Bathurst as Garwood, the creepy mystery guarantees a chill in the air this Christmas.
Airing on BBC Two on Christmas Eve
Following her star-making turn as the Queen in the first two seasons of The Crown, Clare Foy is back to tackle another member of the British aristocracy – the gloriously scandalous Duchess of Argyll. Written by Sarah Phelps, the woman behind the BBC’s recent hit Agatha Christie adaptations, it follows the Duke and Duchess’s acrimonious break-up (with the Duke being played with haughty froideur by Paul Bettany) and the fallout after an explicit Polaroid picture depicting the now infamous ‘headless man’ ended up in the press. Just like its precursor series A Very English Scandal, which focused on the trial of the disgraced politician Jeremy Thorpe and starred Hugh Grant and Ben Whishaw, it’s sure to make compelling viewing.
Airing on BBC One on Boxing Day
David Tennant takes on the role of the eccentric gentleman-turned-adventurer Phileas Fogg in this cheery adaptation of Jules Verne’s classic novel. Designed as an entertaining romp for the whole family, the eight-part series follows Fogg and his valet Passepartout (played by Ibrahim Koma) as they try to circumnavigate the globe in 80 days in a bid to win a lucrative wager. They are joined by journalist Abigail ‘Fix’ Fortescue (Leonie Benesch), who’s come along to chronicle the thrilling adventure. A second series has already been commissioned, which suggests the BBC big wigs are expecting this to be a mammoth hit.
Airing on BBC One on Boxing Day
After the success of previous Harlan Coben adaptations, including The Stranger and Safe, Netflix has turned once again to the crime writing big hitter for their latest release, Stay Close. It stars Cush Jumbo (who’s just finished a stint playing Hamlet at the Young Vic), Richard Armitage and James Nesbitt as a trio connected by a dark, long-buried secret. Look out for Eddie Izzard, who has a cameo role as a small-town lawyer. Full of addictive twists and turns that will make you want to finish the whole series in one sitting, it poses the question: how much can you ever really know someone?
Airing on Netflix on New Year’s Eve
This high-octane thriller stars Jamie Dornan as the nameless hero of the show, a man who suffers from amnesia and wakes up in the middle of the Australian Outback with absolutely no memory of who he is. Penned by the creators of Baptiste and The Missing, the drama is full of shocking, surprising and brutal turns, with a hefty dose of off-beat black comedy thrown in for good measure. With shady figures from his past pursuing him, Dornan’s character starts to uncover the mystery of who he was, while also trying to discover who he is now. But will he be able to unlock the secrets of his identity before his enemies catch up with him?
Airing on BBC One on New Year’s Day