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BBC shares details on eight ‘genre-busting’ new dramas channel has lined up for winter

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The BBC has shared new details about the eight ‘genre-busting’ new dramas the channel has lined up for the winter period in a bid to draw viewers in for the festive period. 

The likes of The Crown’s Claire Foy, The Fall’s Jamie Dornan and Sherlock’s Martin Freeman have been brought on board to host a slew of new shows that will air later in the year.

BBC bosses are no doubt hoping that the new shows will help boost the channel, which has been in crisis in recent months as they face a challenge persuading people to sign up to pay the license fee. 

In August it was revealed in the corporation’s annual report that a million households had stopped paying the charge over the past two years.  The pandemic led to a 700,000 decline in licenses purchased in the last financial year. 

A surge in popularity with streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime has also contributed to the steady decline in viewers – as those watching on-demand shows do not need a TV licence. 

The BBC have also found themselves under fire amid concerns over the broadcaster’s ‘perceived bias’. 

The broadcaster received 462,255 complaints in the year 2020 to 2021 which it said ‘was an increase of 93,878 on last year,’ according to its own annual report. 

Now, the broadcaster will be hoping to win back viewers with the winter line-up, with Drama boss Piers Wenger announcing during a press event on Monday: ‘These dramas don’t sit comfortably within those genres we feel very familiar with.  

‘Distinctive British content is at the very heart of what we do. What we feel excited about is pushing against the conventions of genre.

‘They may be the way the streaming platforms organise their menus – but that doesn’t mean we have to stick to them.’

The BBC have had a stellar year producing drama thus far, with Vigil the UK televisions most watched new drama launch in three years; Line of Duty’s finale getting 16.9 million and Time averaging 11.6 million viewers throughout the series.  

A VERY BRITISH SCANDAL – STARRING CLAIRE FOY   

Exciting: The BBC has shared new details about the eight 'genre-busting' new dramas the channel has lined up for the winter period with Claire Foy set to star (Foy pictured in new series A Very British Scandal)

Exciting: The BBC has shared new details about the eight ‘genre-busting’ new dramas the channel has lined up for the winter period with Claire Foy set to star (Foy pictured in new series A Very British Scandal)

Written by Sarah Phelps (The Pale Horse; Dublin Murders), A Very British Scandal focuses on the divorce of the Duke (Paul Bettany) and Duchess of Argyll (Claire Foy), one of the most notorious, extraordinary and brutal legal cases of the 20th century.

Famed for her charisma, beauty and style, Margaret, Duchess of Argyll, dominated the front pages as a divorce featuring accusations of forgery, theft, violence, drug-taking, secret recording, bribery and an explicit polaroid picture – all played out in the white-hot glare of the 1960s media.

A Very British Scandal turns this scandal inside out in order to explore the social and political climate of post-war Britain, looking at attitudes towards women, and asking whether institutional misogyny was widespread at the time. 

As her contemporaries, the press, and the judiciary sought to vilify her, Margaret kept her head held high with bravery and resilience, refusing to go quietly as she was betrayed by her friends and publicly shamed by a society that revelled in her fall from grace.

The drama consists of three hour-long episodes. 

THE TOURIST – STARRING JAMIE DORNAN 

New role: Jamie Dornan stars in thriller/comedy The Tourist, which sees the actor wake up in the Australian Outback with no recollection as to why he was chased into the desert

New role: Jamie Dornan stars in thriller/comedy The Tourist, which sees the actor wake up in the Australian Outback with no recollection as to why he was chased into the desert

Six-part thriller The Tourist comes from from Emmy-winning production company Two Brothers Pictures (Baptiste, The Missing, Fleabag), and was created and written by acclaimed writers Harry and Jack Williams.

Jamie Dornan stars as a British man who finds himself in the glowing red heart of the Australian outback, being pursued by a vast tank truck trying to drive him off the road. 

An epic cat and mouse chase unfolds and the man later wakes in hospital, hurt, but somehow alive. Except he has no idea who he is. With merciless figures from his past pursuing him, The Man’s search for answers propels him through the vast and unforgiving outback. 

THE RESPONDER – STARRING MARTIN FREEMAN  

Back on BBC: Viewers can see Martin Freeman in The Responder, in which the Sherlock star will play an urgent response police officer who is having a breakdown' (pictured on Sherlock)

Back on BBC: Viewers can see Martin Freeman in The Responder, in which the Sherlock star will play an urgent response police officer who is having a breakdown’ (pictured on Sherlock)

The Responder stars Martin Freeman (The Hobbit; Sherlock; Breeders; Fargo) as Chris, a crisis-stricken, morally compromised, unconventional urgent response officer tackling a series of night shifts on the beat in Liverpool.

Whilst trying to keep his head above water both personally and professionally, Chris is forced to take on a new rookie partner Rachel (Adelayo Adedayo). Both soon discover that survival in this high pressure, relentless, night-time world will depend on them either helping or destroying each other.

The Responder holds a mirror up to the emotional extremes of life on the front line of British policing – sometimes darkly funny, sometimes painfully tragic, always challenging.

The five-part 60 minute dramas were written by Tony Schumacher, his first original series for television. 

THIS IS GOING TO HURT – STARRING BEN WHISHAW   

Based on a book: Bond's Ben Whishaw stars as doctor Adam Kay in This Is Going To Hurt. Actress Harriet Walker will portray Adam's mother and the seven-part show follows junior doctor Adam

Based on a book: Bond’s Ben Whishaw stars as doctor Adam Kay in This Is Going To Hurt. Actress Harriet Walker will portray Adam’s mother and the seven-part show follows junior doctor Adam

Finally, Bond’s Ben Whishaw stars as doctor Adam Kay in This Is Going To Hurt. Actress Harriet Walker will portray Adam’s mother and the seven-part show follows junior doctor Adam.

 Based on Adam Kay’s award-winning international multi-million selling memoir of the same name, it tells the unvarnished truth of life as a doctor working in obstetrics and gynaecology.  

The series sees Adam clinging to his personal life as he is increasingly overwhelmed by stresses at work: the 97-hour weeks, the life and death decisions, and all the while knowing the hospital parking meter is earning more than him. 

The series is hotly anticipated after the book sold 2.5 million copies. 

CHLOE – STARRING ERIN DOHERTY   

Another star from The Crown, Erin Doherty (centre) has been signed on for new drama Chloe, and stars alongside (L-R) Poppy Gilbert, Jack Farthing, Pippa Bennett-Warner and Billy Howle

Another star from The Crown, Erin Doherty (centre) has been signed on for new drama Chloe, and stars alongside (L-R) Poppy Gilbert, Jack Farthing, Pippa Bennett-Warner and Billy Howle

Another star from The Crown, Erin Doherty, has been signed on for new drama Chloe, and stars alongside Billy Howle (The Serpent), Pippa Bennett-Warner (Gangs of London) and Jack Farthing (Poldark) in the series, which explores obsession, deceit, identity and grief. 

Doherty leads the series as Becky, a young woman working as a temp and still living with her mum who develops an unhealthy obsession with the picture-perfect life Chloe (Poppy Gilbert) projects via her Instagram account.

When Chloe dies unexpectedly, Becky assumes a new identity and engineers a ‘chance meeting’ with Chloe’s best friend, Livia (Bennett-Warner) to discover what happened to her.

Through her new alter-ego Sasha, Becky has the chance to transform herself into a popular ‘somebody’ with a far more exciting and addictive life than the ‘nobody’ she was before. As she infiltrates Chloe’s close-knit friends, her new life begins to obscure reality and threatens to trap Becky completely in the dangerous game she is playing.   

THE GIRL BEFORE – STARRING GUGU MBATHA-RAW  

One to watch: The Girl Before tells the story of Jane (Jessica Plummer), who gets the chance to move into a beautiful, ultra-minimalist house designed by an enigmatic architect (David Oyelowo)

One to watch: The Girl Before tells the story of Jane (Jessica Plummer), who gets the chance to move into a beautiful, ultra-minimalist house designed by an enigmatic architect (David Oyelowo)

Created, written and exec produced by JP Delaney, the limited four-part series The Girl Before is adapted from Delaney’s own best-selling novel of the same title.  

The Girl Before tells the story of Jane (Jessica Plummer), who gets the chance to move into a beautiful, ultra-minimalist house designed by an enigmatic architect (David Oyelowo). There’s just one catch: occupants have to abide by his list of exacting rules. 

Jane starts to feel the house changing her in unexpected ways, but when she makes the shocking discovery about her predecessor, she’s forced to confront unnerving similarities. As the two women’s timelines interweave, Jane begins to question if her fate will be the same as the girl before…

Marissa Lestrade (White Stork; Deep State 2) co-wrote episodes of the series and Emmy nominated Lisa Brühlmann (Killing Eve; Servant; Blue My Mind) directed. 

CONVERSATIONS WITH FRIENDS – STARRING JOE ALWYN  

Back at work: Following the huge success of the Normal People, the BBC have adapted another one of Sally Rooney's novels, Conversations With Friends, starring Joe Alwyn and Alison Oliver (pictured together on set)

Back at work: Following the huge success of the Normal People, the BBC have adapted another one of Sally Rooney’s novels, Conversations With Friends, starring Joe Alwyn and Alison Oliver (pictured together on set) 

Following the huge success of the Normal People, the drama series based on Sally Rooney’s 2018 novel, Hulu and the BBC teamed up again to adapt the author’s 2017 debut, Conversations With Friends. 

A 12-part series of half hour episodes has been helmed by Irish director Lenny Abrahamson, who also directed Normal People.

Alison Oliver, an emerging talent from Lir Academy (whose graduates include Normal People’s Paul Mescal) plays Frances, Sasha Lane (American Honey, The Miseducation Of Cameron Post) will star as Bobbi, Taylor Swift’s boyfriend Joe Alwyn (The Favourite, A Christmas Carol) as Nick and Jemima Kirke (Sex Education, Girls) as Melissa, in this unique series that is both a complex coming of age drama and a very modern love story.  

SUPERHOE – STARRING NICOLE LECKY 

Stage to screen: Based on Nicôle Lecky’s one woman Royal Court show, Superhoe follows 24 year old Sasha Clayton (Lecky) who dreams of being a singer and rapper, but spends most of her time in her bedroom smoking marijuana

Stage to screen: Based on Nicôle Lecky’s one woman Royal Court show, Superhoe follows 24 year old Sasha Clayton (Lecky) who dreams of being a singer and rapper, but spends most of her time in her bedroom smoking marijuana

Based on Nicôle Lecky’s one woman Royal Court show, Superhoe follows 24 year old Sasha Clayton (Lecky) who dreams of being a singer and rapper, but spends most of her time in her bedroom smoking marijuana and stalking her ex-boyfriend on Instagram. 

When she is kicked out of her family home, Sasha is forced to fend for herself by sofa surfing and eventually moves in with the enigmatic party-girl Carly. 

Carly introduces her to a glamorous world of social media influencing and partying, and what seems like an easy way to make money through cam work and sex work. But as the gap between her online presence and real life continues to grow, Sasha finds herself struggling to escape a world that is more complex and darker than she could have imagined.  



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