The Mayans turned out to be wrong, and the world should keep on turning long enough for TV to continue into 2013. But without the Olympics/Paralympics boost, BBC1 and Channel4 will be searching high and low for ratings, while ITV’s flagship ‘The X Factor’ is showing signs of wear and tear. For Channel 5, it’s ‘Big Brother’ plus not a lot, so all the major channels are casting their nets wide in search for hits. Here are some of the shows we’re looking forward to in 2013…
‘Doctor Who’ celebrates its 50th anniversary in November, so look out for a special Mark Gatiss drama about the people who invented the show, ‘An Adventure In Space And Time’. The series itself starts in April, with highlights including mum-and-daughter actresses Diana Rigg and Rachael Stirling starring side-by-side. Matt Smith is on board for the series and 2013 Christmas Special, but beyond that – who knows?
There is talk that Simon Cowell will return to prop up ‘The X Factor’; his Syco company will produce a cookery talent show for ITV in February, ‘Food Glorious Food’.
Among those looking to crack the vital Saturday night gameshow-entertainment market are Clare Balding with a ‘Krypton Factor’-style challenge series ‘Britain’s Brightest’ on BBC1; and Nick Knowles with ‘Break The Safe’ on the same channel. Fans of maximum-cheesy quizzes will be delighted by the February ITV return of ‘Catchphrase’, with Stephen Mulhern in the Roy Walker role. Miranda Hart hosts bonkers panel game ‘Britain’s Favourite’ in which celebs debate the relative merits of totally unconnected personalities who share a first name – i.e. who’s better, Steven Gerrard or Stephen Hawking? David Walliams and Frank Skinner host ‘I Love My Country’ where celebrities compete to prove their knowledge of Britain. Coming to ITV1 in January, celebs including Eddie The Eagle and Joey Essex compete in ‘Splash’ – which is basically Strictly Come Diving – with Tom Daley as an expert judge and Gabby Logan hosting with Vernon Kay.
Three successful TV figures of 2012 are branching out a bit. Hilary Devey has a crack at her own Apprentice- type show in ‘The Intern’ while ‘Hilary Devey’s Dole Office’ takes it upon itself to show the unemployed how tough things were 60 years ago. 2012’s breakout TV star goes solo with ‘Paul Hollywood’s Bread’ on BBC1. And ‘Downton Abbey’s’ creator pokes around some of his favourite mansions in ‘Julian Fellowes’ Historical Houses’ on ITV in January.
‘Downton Abbey’ itself is back for a fourth series in the Autumn, while ‘Sherlock’ will return around the same time, as will ‘Waterloo Road’, whose cast is joined by ‘This Life’ favourite Daniella Nardini. EastEnder Lacey Turner will star in one-off drama ‘Our Girl’ in March, about a young army recruit who is sent to Afghanistan. Talking of soap actresses, Tracie Bennett (‘Coronation Street’) joins the cast of ‘Scott And Bailey’ for a Spring renewal, as does Nicola Walker (‘Last Tango in Halifax’).
The Doctor’s new companion Jenna Louise Coleman stars alongside Angel Coulby (Guinevere in ‘Merlin’) and Chiwetel Ejiofor in ‘Dancing On The Edge’, a five-part drama about black jazz musicians in the 1930s, while former Timelord David Tennant plays alongside Emily Watson in three-part drama ‘The Politician’s Husband’ on BBC2 in May. The brilliant Jeremy Piven (‘Entourage’) plays the title character in period department store drama ‘Mr Selfridge’, in which he’s joined by former Corrie favourite Katherine Kelly.
‘The Village’ is an epic drama series for the BBC about a century in the life of a village, with Maxine Peake and John Simm. ITV dip into the popular supernatural/ghost pond with February’s ‘Lightfields’, which is set in Suffolk and features Dakota Blue Richards, Jill Halfpenny and Kris Marshall.
Agatha Christie fans are in for a treat this May with three new episodes of 'Miss Marple' (Robert Webb, Hermione Norris and Warren Brown feature); and then five new episodes of ‘Poirot’ starting in August, including the detective’s last case.
Music shows to look out for are ‘Kylie: 25 Years In Music Special’ on ITV that is tipped to feature a reunion with Jason and January’s ‘The Big Reunion’ on ITV2 with Five, Atomic Kitten, Honeyz, 911, B*Witched, Liberty X doing an omni-comeback gig. All four judges are back for ‘The Voice’ in April.
Ricky Gervais’ controversial comedy ‘Derek’ gets a full series early in the year on Channel 4, while James Corden stars in ‘The Wrong Mans’ on BBC2 as a Regular Joe who gets caught up in a crime. Sarah Hadland (‘Miranda’) and Russell Tovey (‘Him & Her’) are in ‘The Job Lot’, a sitcom set in West Midlands job centre. ‘Heading Out’ is a Sue Perkins sitcom about a lesbian vet featuring Dawn French and June Brown. And sitcom legend Caroline Aherne has created her first new comedy series for nine years: ‘The Security Men’ on ITV will feature Bobby Ball and Brendan O’Carroll.
So that’s our pick of shows to look out for in 2013, although of course new programmes are being commissioned all the time – we look forward to telling you about them and discussing them with you in the new Year.