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2024 CULTURE GUIDE

20 TV shows everyone will be talking about in 2024, from One Day to the return of The Traitors

There’ll be plenty to hunker down and get stuck into over the next 12 months, with a stack of hearty comedies, hair-raising thrillers, and even a star-studded Jilly Cooper bonkbuster in the mix. Ellie Harrison and Katie Rosseinsky take a look

Sunday 31 December 2023 15:44 GMT
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Left to right: ‘Mr & Mrs Smith’, ‘The Traitors’, ‘Stranger Things’, ‘One Day’ and ‘Mr Bates vs The Post Office’ are among 2024’s TV highlights
Left to right: ‘Mr & Mrs Smith’, ‘The Traitors’, ‘Stranger Things’, ‘One Day’ and ‘Mr Bates vs The Post Office’ are among 2024’s TV highlights (Amazon, BBC, Netflix, ITV)

The year 2024 is going to be quite the ride when it comes to what’s on television. We’ve got gun-slinging duo Donald Glover and Maya Erskine starring as married spies in the reboot of Mr & Mrs Smith, the movie where Brangelina was birthed. Then there’s the return of The Traitors, one of the biggest reality TV success stories of recent years, for a scheming second series. And an adaptation of Rachel Clarke’s poignant memoir Breathtaking, about working on the frontline of the Covid pandemic, is landing on our screens, no doubt with an emotional thud.

More bestsellers being brought to life are David Nicholls’ romance novel One Day, along with Heather Morris’s Holocaust story The Tattooist of Auschwitz and Jilly Cooper’s bonkbuster Rivals.

And there are comedies in the form of Big Boys series two, which reunites fans with uni students Jack and Danny, and Truelove, which revolves around a group of septuagenarians determined to die gracefully. Here’s what we’re most looking forward to over the next 12 months…

Mr & Mrs Smith

Amazon Prime, 2 February

Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie’s slick 2005 thriller about a married couple who both happen to be assassins is getting the TV reboot treatment. This time, multi-talented Atlanta star Donald Glover and PEN15’s Maya Erskine will play two spies paired up in an extremely high-stakes arranged marriage by their employers. Soon, they’re taking on dangerous missions while grappling with increasingly real feelings for one another – what could possibly go wrong? Katie Rosseinsky

The Gentlemen

Netflix, early 2024

Get ready for swag. For geezers. And possibly some sweeping and suspect stereotypes. Guy Ritchie is releasing The Gentlemen, a TV series set in the same universe as his 2019 movie. This time, White Lotus hunk Theo James leads the cast as Eddie Horniman, who inherits his father’s sizeable estate… only to discover it’s part of a weed empire. EH

The cast, including Theo James (second left), of Guy Ritchie’s ‘The Gentlemen’ (Christopher Rafael/Netflix)

One Day

Netflix, 8 February

Banish all memories of Anne Hathaway’s questionable Yorkshire accent from the 2011 film version. David Nicholls’s funny, moving bestseller, which dips into the lives of friends Emma and Dexter on the same July day for 20 years, is being made into a mini-series for Netflix, with This is Going to Hurt breakout star Ambika Mod and The White Lotus’s Leo Woodall in the lead roles. Told across 15 episodes, hopefully, there’ll be plenty of breathing space for all the nuanced ups and downs of the pair’s relationship. KR

Trigger Point

ITV, January

Jed Mercurio – who brought the world Line of Duty, acronyms and all – is back with a second series of this thriller following a bomb disposal squad (produced by Mercurio, written by Daniel Brierley). Vicky McClure returns, pulling some very serious facial expressions, in the lead role as Afghanistan veteran turned cop Lana Washington. Many fans were unimpressed with the rubbish twist at the end of series one, so this might be the show’s chance to redeem itself. EH

The New Look

Apple, 14 February

A costume drama in the purest sense, The New Look follows the rise of legendary couturier Christian Dior (Ben Mendelsohn) against the backdrop of the Second World War. It’ll chart his rivalry with Coco Chanel (Juliette Binoche) and explore his sister Catherine’s (Maisie Williams) stint as a French Resistance fighter, while also weaving in the stories of Dior’s fashionable contemporaries from Balmain to Balenciaga. Naturally, the dresses will be sumptuous. KR

Ben Mendelsohn as Christian Dior in ‘The New Look’ (Apple)

Mr Bates vs The Post Office

ITV, New Year’s Day

This four-parter, about one of the greatest miscarriages of justice in British legal history, stars Toby Jones as Alan Bates, the former subpostmaster who took the Post Office to the High Court after hundreds of his colleagues were wrongly accused of theft and fraud due to… wait for it… an IT error. Some public figures – including former cabinet minister Nadhim Zahawi – will cameo as themselves. Allegedly, the sacked politician’s presence on set raised a few eyebrows among the cast… EH

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Breathtaking

ITV, March

This three-part drama based on doctor and author Rachel Clarke’s memoir of working on the frontlines of the Covid pandemic promises to be painful but powerful viewing. It’s told through the eyes of Dr Abbey Henderson, a fictional acute care consultant played by Joanne Froggatt, capturing the fears and frustrations of fellow medical staff along with stories of patients. Clarke has adapted her book with Line of Duty creator Jed Mercurio and actor-writer Prasanna Puwanarajah, both former doctors. KR

House of the Dragon

Sky Atlantic, summer 2024

Our TV critic called the first run of House of the Dragon “bigger, bolder and bloodier” than Game of Thrones. Could this prequel series make the same scarlett splash when it returns in the summer? The trailer teases a fierce locking of horns between Rhaenyra Targaryen and Alicent Hightower, with Emma D’Arcy and Olivia Cooke returning to play the two nemeses. Others reprising their roles include Matt Smith, Eve Best and Steve Toussaint, with new cast including Tom Taylor, Clinton Liberty and Jamie Kenna. EH

Mary & George

Sky Atlantic, March

Julianne Moore is heading back to the Jacobean era to tell the audacious true story of Mary Villiers. A tenacious minor aristo, Mary encouraged her handsome son George (played by Red, White & Royal Blue’s Nicholas Galitzine, no stranger to an on-screen royal romance) to seduce King James I. Once he was firmly established as the monarch’s favourite, the pair’s political influence and social status grew and grew. Brace yourselves for scandal and intrigue – and what a treat to see Moore on the small screen, too. KR

The Artful Dodger

Disney, 17 January

Thomas Brodie-Sangster (the cute kid in Love Actually! Feather Boy! Chess genius in The Queen’s Gambit!) was surely born to play a Dickens character, with his boyish energy and general sort of whippet-ness. In this spinoff of Oliver Twist, he plays the Artful Dodger alongside David Thewlis’s Fagin. This time, the action’s far from smoggy London, with the pickpockets up to no good in 1850s Australia. EH

Thomas Brodie-Sangster in ‘Oliver Twist’ spinoff ‘The Artful Dodger’ (Disney)

The Traitors, series 2

BBC One, 3 January

Let the backstabbing begin. One of the biggest reality TV success stories of recent years is returning for a second series, with Claudia Winkleman on presenting slash extravagant-knitwear-wearing duties once again. Another group of 22 contestants will be thrown together in a Scottish castle, where they’ll try to win up to £120,000 in a series of weird and wonderful tasks – while attempting to work out which of them are “traitors” aiming to pinch the jackpot for themselves. KR

Masters of the Air

Apple, 26 January

Hollywood heavyweights Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks are behind this drama following the true story of an American bomber group during the Second World War. Oscar nominee Austin Butler leads the cast, with other names from Callum Turner and Barry Keoghan to Ncuti Gatwa in the mix. It looks expensive and cinematic, with action hopping from the bucolic fields and villages of southeast England to the barren bleakness of a German prisoner-of-war camp. EH

Big Boys, series 2

Channel 4, early 2024

The first series of Jack Rooke’s Channel 4 comedy was a real gem, deftly tackling big topics with a side helping of vintage X Factor references. So thank goodness it’s back for round two very soon. This time they’re no longer freshers, but Jack (Dylan Llewellyn), his best pal Danny (Jon Pointing) and the rest of the gang are still dealing with the typical student dramas of sex, drugs and essay deadlines, while also confronting those weightier issues such as grief and mental health. KR

The Tourist, series 2

BBC One, New Year’s Day

Remember Jamie Dornan getting very dusty indeed and losing his marbles in the Australian outback last January? Well, 12 months have gone by, and his alpha male amnesiac is back. He spent much of the first series trying to figure out who he was (a man called Elliot Stanley, apparently), and why people were trying to kill him, and by the time the finale came, he’d figured out he was no angel. We can expect plenty more action and speeding trucks in series two. EH

3 Body Problem

Netflix, 21 March

Game of Thrones showrunners David Benioff and DB Weiss’s next act? An adaptation of The Three Body Problem, an ambitious sci-fi epic by Liu Cixin hailed as the 21st-century answer to The War of the Worlds. Astrophysicist Ye Wenjie witnesses her father’s murder during the Chinese Cultural Revolution; later, she is recruited to join a top-secret military project attempting to make contact with aliens. A decision she makes in the Sixties has major repercussions for scientists in the present day. KR

The Tattooist of Auschwitz

Sky Atlantic, early 2024

Heather Morris’s shattering Holocaust novel was an international bestseller when it hit shelves in 2018. Now, it’s been adapted into a TV series, starring Harvey Keitel and Jonah Hauer-King as the younger and older versions of Lale Sokolov, a Jewish prisoner in the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp given the job of tattooing identification numbers on fellow prisoners’ arms. EH

Rivals

Disney, 2024

Sex! Money! Eighties hairdos! The TV adaptation of Jilly Cooper’s bonkbuster promises to be an absolute hoot. Its stacked cast features the likes of David Tennant, Aidan Turner, Danny Dyer, Claire Rushbrook and Emily Atack, with Alex Hassell playing legendary cad and Olympic horse rider Rupert Campbell-Black. According to Disney, the show will “bring a 2020s lens to the 1980s” – but let’s face it, we’ll probably be tuning in for the shagging and the show jumping, not the nuance. KR

Truelove

Channel 4, 3 January

With a core cast of septuagenarians (Lindsay Duncan, Clarke Peters, Sue Johnston), this intriguing drama is promising to break the mould for older characters on screen. It follows a crew of old pals who make a pact one night when they’re a few wines down: to help each other die when the time is right, rather than suffer a slow and undignified decline. Expect dark humour, philosophising and twists and turns. EH

The cast, including Lindsay Duncan and Sue Johnston, of ‘Truelove’ (Channel 4)

Stranger Things, series 5

Netflix, summer 2024

Prepare to return to Hawkins, Indiana, for one last time, as Millie Bobby Brown and her fellow cast of former child stars, who now look a bit too old to be in high school, bid farewell to Netflix’s juggernaut. Will Eleven and the gang be able to see off the villainous Vecna (Jamie Campbell Bower) for good? And will the Duffer Brothers be able to tie up their wildly successful sci-fi saga in a way that satisfies the show’s legions of fans? KR

Eric

Netflix, early 2024

Benedict Cumberbatch is front and centre in this thriller set in Eighties New York. We suspect it will be an emotional ride (it’s from writer Abi Morgan, who brought us tearjerker The Split). It follows a father’s (Cumberbatch) desperate search when his nine-year-old son disappears one morning on the way to school. The story of a man spiralling. EH

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