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These Are All The Best New Dramas Coming To Screens In 2021

These Are All The Best New Dramas Coming To Screens In 2021

Let's face it - we spent a lot of 2020 in front of the TV (for obvious reasons).

And luckily for us, it was a stellar year for us to get settled in front of the small screen, with unmissable dramas such as Quiz, Normal People and Industry keeping us hooked over the long lockdown periods.

But while there were initially filming delays and concerns as to whether any high-quality dramas will be able to resume due to the coronavirus crisis, ingenious 'bubble' solutions have ensured that productions have kept filming - and the sheer quality of some of the shows premiering in 2021 means next year is set to be another excellent year for television.

From a new crime drama straight from the team behind Line of Duty, to a second Sally Rooney adaption, to that Lily James drama, here's everything we can look forward to bingeing next year.


The Serpent

The Serpent kicks off the New Year with true crime (Credit: BBC)
The Serpent kicks off the New Year with true crime (Credit: BBC)

Expect high production values from this joint endeavour from BBC One and Netflix, which is based on the true story of how international serial killer Charles Sobhraj (nicknamed "The Serpent" and "The Bikini Killer") was captured and put on trial in 1976.

French actor Tahar Rahim, who has starred in Netflix's The Eddy, will play serial killer Charles, while Victoria and Doctor Who star Jenna Coleman will feature as the Serpent's frequent conspirator Marie-Andree Leclerc.


The synopsis teases: "Posing as a gem dealer, Sobhraj and his girlfriend Marie-Andrée Leclerc travelled across Thailand, Nepal and India in 1975 and 1976, carrying out a spree of crimes on the Asian 'Hippie Trail' and becoming the chief suspects in a series of murders of young Western travellers."

You're going to be hooked.

Release date: New Year's Day, BBC One

It's A Sin

It's A Sin launches in the New Year (Credit: Channel 4)
It's A Sin launches in the New Year (Credit: Channel 4)

Formerly known as Boys (and renamed due to the popularity of the Amazon Prime series of the same moniker), It's A Sin is the latest five-part drama from Years and Years writer Russell T Davies.

Based on Davies' own life experiences, the series follows three 18-year-old men who head off to London in 1981 full of hope, dreams and ambitions - but find themselves in the heart of AIDS epidemic.

The synopsis by Channel 4 reads: "Year by year, episode by episode, their lives change, as the mystery of a new virus starts as a rumour, then a threat, then a terror, and then something that binds them together in the fight.


"It's the story of their friends, lovers and families too, especially Jill, the girl who loves them and helps them, and galvanises them in the battles to come. Together they will endure the horror of the epidemic, the pain of rejection and the prejudices that gay men faced throughout the decade."

Pop singer Olly Alexander has been cast as Ritchie, Omari Douglas plays his friend Roscoe, and Callum Scott Howells completes the trio as Colin.

Keeley Hawes, Stephen Fry and Neil Patrick Harris will also feature in roles to be confirmed.

Release date: January 2021


This Is Going To Hurt

Ben Whishaw stars as the doctor (Credit: PA Images)
Ben Whishaw stars as the doctor (Credit: PA Images)

The 2017 book by comedy writer Adam Kay is a frank, funny but unflinching look at life as a junior doctor in the NHS, and is comprised from Adam's diary entries while he worked in obstetrics and gynaecology.

The diaries were an award-winning multi-million selling success, and are now set to be adapted into a must-see television event for BBC Two.

Paddington star Ben Whishaw has been cast as Adam, which will depict life on and off the hospital ward with frank and often shocking honesty.

Speaking about the new series, Whishaw said: "I am proud to join this exciting adaptation of Adam Kay's terrific book This Is Going To Hurt based on his experiences working in the NHS. It's an honest, hilarious, heart-breaking look at the great institution and the army of unsung heroes who work there under the most stressful conditions.

"The COVID-19 crisis has now shed even more light on their great work and underlines the necessity to support the NHS and its workers."

Release date: Early 2021


Vigil is from the makers of Line of Duty (Credit: BBC)
Vigil is from the makers of Line of Duty (Credit: BBC)

From the producers of Line of Duty and BAFTA-nominated writer of The Crown Tom Edge, it's safe to say Vigil will be one of the year's must-see dramas.

Set in Scotland, the series follows the disappearance of a fishing trawler and a death on board at Trident Nuclear submarine - with the conflict leading to a conspiracy that threatens the very heart of Britain's nuclear deterrent.

A number of British acting heavyweights, including Doctor Foster's Suranne Jones, Downton Abbey Rose Leslie and Line of Duty's Martin Compston all playing key roles.

Release date: Early 2021

The Pursuit Of Love

Lily James' new drama has already raised eyebrows (Credit: BBC)
Lily James' new drama has already raised eyebrows (Credit: BBC)

The three-part drama, based on Nancy Mitford's classic novel, has already set tongues wagging months before airing.

The mini-series follows cousins and best pals Linda and Fanny (played by Lily James and Emily Mortimer) travel across Europe in order to bag themselves husbands.

Their fierce friendship is put to the test when Fanny "settles for a steady life and Linda decides to follow her heart, to increasingly wild and outrageous places."

The Pursuit of Love saw a huge surge of interest when leading lady Lily James was caught being intimate with her fellow co-star Dominic West (who plays her father in the series) in paparazzi shots in Italy - despite Dominic already being married.

However, Dominic has since denied the photos signalled the end of his marriage.

Andrew 'Fleabag's Hot Priest' Scott will also star in the series, as the eccentric Lord Merlin.

Release date: Early 2021

Firefly Lane

The new Netflix drama sees some big names attached (Credit: Netflix)
The new Netflix drama sees some big names attached (Credit: Netflix)

The hotly anticipated series is based upon Kristin Hannah's New York Times bestselling novel, which tells the story of two unlikely best friends and the ups and downs of their relationship over a 30 year period.

Katherine Heigl stars as Tully Hart, "the cool girl" at school who firms a strong bond with the introverted Kate Mularkey (Sarah Chalke). Their friendship is constant over time, but they find themselves facing tragedy in the present.

Release Date: February 3rd 2021

Inventing Anna

Anna Delvey's crime will become a Netflix TV series
Anna Delvey's crime will become a Netflix TV series

It was the story that stunned the showbiz world in 2018 - a Russian con-artist tricked the cream of the New York arts scene into thinking she was a German heiress, with Anna Delvey five year façade frauding friends out of thousands of dollars.

With her escapades landing her a stay in American prison, Netflix quickly snapped up the rights to Anna's (real name Anna Sorokina) intriguing story, based on Jessica Pressler's New York Magazine article 'How Anna Delvey tricked New York's party people'.

Written by Scandal's Shona Rhimes, the 10 part series follows a journalist (Veep's Anna Chlumsky) as she investigates the Instagram-legend German heiress, played by Ozark's Julia Garner.

For those less familiar with the story, Anna moved to New York City in 2013 and pretended she had over €60 million tied up on offshore accounts - and asked friends to cover her expenses, often pretending she'd lost her wallet.

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According to court documents, she would present forged bank statements and deposit faulty cheques, withdrawing the money before they bounced.

She was eventually arrested in 2017 and two years later, a judge sentenced her to 4-12 years in prison for defrauding restaurants, private jet companies, banks and hotels out of over $200,000.

If you're obsessed with Anna's story as we are, you can read her prison diaries here.

Release date: Early 2021

The Pembrokeshire Murders

Luke Evans stars as a detective in The Pembrokeshire Murders (Credit: ITV)
Luke Evans stars as a detective in The Pembrokeshire Murders (Credit: ITV)

Viewers have loved true crime throughout 2020, with ITV's hugely chilling Des being one of this year's most-watched dramas this year.

Starring former Welsh-boyo turned Hollywood star Luke Evans, the series will dramatise the 2006 reinvestigation into two unsolved double murders: the 'Scoveston Manor murder' of siblings Richard and Helen Thomas in 1985, and the 'Pembrokeshire Coastal Path murder' of Peter and Gwenda Dixon in 1989.

Evans will play the newly promoted Detective Superintendent Steve Wilkins, who employs forensic methods to see if they can track their perp.

Viewers may remember the case gaining significant media attention when it was revealed that the suspect had previously appeared on classic gameshow Bullseye in 1989.

Filming started in January 2020, so we can expect the show to air at the start of 2021.

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Release date: Early 2021

Behind Her Eyes

The new Netflix drama is set to be your latest binge (Credit: Netflix)
The new Netflix drama is set to be your latest binge (Credit: Netflix)

Based on Sarah Pinborough's best-selling 2017 novel of the same name, the six-part psychological thriller is set to be your new Netflix obsession.

The story follows Louise, a single mother who takes a part-time job in a psychiatrist's office and starts having an affair with her new boss, David.

But things become even more complicated when Louise strikes up a friendship with David's wife, Adele.

Simona Brown stars as Louise (Kiss Me First), while Tom Bateman plays David (Beecham House) with The Luminaries' Eve Hewson playing Adele.

Netflix has teased: "What starts as an unconventional love triangle soon becomes a dark, psychological tale of suspense and twisted revelations, as Louise finds herself caught in a dangerous web of secrets where nothing and no one is what they seem."

The series is scheduled for the first quarter of 2021 - keep your weekends free.

Release date: Spring 2021

The Irregulars

A new Sherlock drama is on the way (Credit: BBC)
A new Sherlock drama is on the way (Credit: BBC)

One for the Sherlock fans out there, this new period drama sees a brand new take on Arthur Conan Doyle's beloved detective. Based on three of Conan Doyle's books, the Irregulars focuses on the little-known (and vastly underrated) Baker Street Irregulars, three street urchin Holmes deployed as intelligence agents.

By Watership Down writer Tom Bidwell, the series follows the premise that the Irregulars were the true genius behind Holmes' detective work, with drug-addled Holmes taking the credit for their work.

The Inbetweeners' Mark Donovan star Henry Lloyd-Hughes plays Holmes, while Line of Duty's Royce Pierreson will play right-hand man Watson.

Speaking about the project, Tom explained: "Netflix are incredibly supportive for our vision for the show and it's allowing us to be very ambitious with the way we're telling our stories."

Release Date: Mid 2021

My Name Is Lizzie

Niamh Algar stars in the gritty Channel 4 drama (Credit: PA Images)
Niamh Algar stars in the gritty Channel 4 drama (Credit: PA Images)

The Channel 4 drama tells the true story around the controversial investigation into the murder of 23-year-old Rachel Nickell - who was stabbed over 40 times and sexually assaulted in a park in 1992.

In a bid to catch the person responsible, a female police officer is sent to go undercover under the codename Lizzie James - and is tasked to become sexual bait for the killer.

The makers of the programme have been given access to previously unheard audio, video and written materials to create the series, which looks set to be an intense and harrowing watch.

'Lizzie' will be played by rising star Niamh Algar, who you may recognise from Shane Meadow's The Virtues and BBC Two's MotherFatherSon.

The synopsis reads: "Five months on from the crime and The Met Police are still no closer to capturing the man they're convinced is responsible.

"First identified through a BBC Crimewatch appeal, the evidence is stacked against Colin Stagg.

"The media feed a national obsession, covering every detail of the case and demanding justice.

"The police are determined to catch the man who, in their eyes, is guilty before he kills again.

"In desperation, the relatively young Detective Inspector leading the case, engages the nation's most famous criminal profiler to devise a bold undercover operation which will see an attractive, young female officer start a relationship with Colin Stagg.

"Growing up under Thatcher's reign, with second-wave feminism 'Lizzie James' is determined to rise through the ranks.

"But the early '90s has brought with it an inevitable backlash in the shape of 'Lad Culture', obliterating any feminist gains and putting women firmly back in their place.

"Hugely ambitious, 'Lizzie' has found a way to stand out by becoming one of very few female undercover officers deployed in covert operations."

Release date: 2021 TBC

Conversations With Friends

The makers of Normal People are taking on another of Sally Rooney's books (Credit: BBC)
The makers of Normal People are taking on another of Sally Rooney's books (Credit: BBC)

Fans who devoured Normal People in one sitting earlier this year (and became obsessed with Paul Mescal in the process) will be similarly enthralled by Conversations With Friends, Normal People author Sally Rooney's debut novel which has been adapted.

Conversations With Friends follows two college student and former couple Frances and Bobbi as they navigate life in Dublin. The pair quickly form a complicated entanglement with older married couple Nick and Melissa, with their menage-a-quatre leading the four of them to live a beautiful gilded life which shines a light on tarnished vulnerabilities.

Release date: Late 2021

Gossip Girl

The cast of the Gossip Girl reboot filming (Credit: Shutterstock)
The cast of the Gossip Girl reboot filming (Credit: Shutterstock)

After 12 years away, we're returning to the Upper East Side for more sex, secrets and scandal in the reboot of Gossip Girl.

The 10-part series, set to debut on new streaming service HBO Max, will see a brand new set of privileged teens navigate the New York social scene.

The official summary of the show reads: "Eight years after the original website went dark, a new generation of New York private school teens are introduced to the social surveillance of Gossip Girl. The prestige series will address just how much social media-and the landscape of New York itself-has changed in the intervening years."

Screenwriter Joshua Safran told The Hollywood Reporter: "It's just a new look at this particular society in New York, the idea being that society changes constantly.

"So how has this world changed, how has social media and its effect changed? All of those things allow us to look at the world 12 years on as opposed to just redoing the story."

Emily Alyn Lind will lead as Audrey, who is set to be our brand new Serena in the revived series.

Audrey is described as having just come out of a long-term relationship "and is beginning to wonder what more could be out there", according to Deadline.

Whitney Peak, Eli Brown, Johnathan Fernandez, and Jason Gotay will all also star, while original cast member Kristen Bell will return as narrator.

We can't wait! Roll on 2021.

Featured Image Credit: HBO Max

Topics: Entertainment News, BBC, TV News, TV & Film, TV Entertainment, Netflix, ITV, Channel 4

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Kimberley Bond

Kim is a journalist at Tyla, and has previously worked at the Evening Standard, Radio Times as well as several national newspapers. A showbiz obsessive and a television fanatic, Kim is particularly interested in celebrity gossip, A-list events and the latest releases on either the big or small screen. Contact her at [email protected]