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Autumn TV Preview 2021 — all the top TV shows coming soon

Autumn TV Preview 2021 - image shows Martin Compston in Vigil, coming to BBC1 in August.
(Image credit: BBC / World Productions)

Here's our Autumn TV preview for 2021! 

There really is something for everyone coming later this year. If you're a fan of tense dramas, you'll be well-served by highly-anticipated thrillers like Vigil, Hollington Drive or Angela Black, whereas comedy fans can look forward to Stephen Merchant's The Offenders (starring Christopher Walken) to the return of Code 404 and Hitmen. 

There's bound to be magic on the ballroom as Strictly Come Dancing is set to return, and a whole host of celebrities will also be shipped off to Wales for a second year running when I'm A Celebrity... returns, too.

Here's the full 2021 autumn TV preview so you can see what's coming up later this year!

Angela Black

Joanne Froggatt teams up with Liar creators Harry and Jack Williams once more for this six-part "Hitchcockian thriller". She takes on the titular role of a suburban housewife who is trapped in an abusive marriage. Then a mysterious private investigator, Ed (Samuel Adewunmi), reveals her husband Oliver’s (Michiel Huisman) darkest secrets… 

Drama

ITV

Vigil

From the makers of Line of Duty and Bodyguard, this six-part conspiracy thriller sees Suranne Jones play DCI Amy Silva, who clashes with the Navy and the Security Services when she investigates a death on a nuclear submarine. The star-spangled cast list also includes Martin Compston and Shaun Evans.  

Drama

BBC1

The Larkins

Over 30 years after ITV’s beloved adaptation of The Darling Buds of May, no one is more "perfick" than Bradley Walsh to play mischievous patriarch Pop Larkin – the role made famous by Sir David Jason – in this much-anticipated reworking of H E Bates’ popular novels.

Penned by Simon Nye (The Durrells), the six-parter is set in 1950s Kent and sees Joanna Scanlan as Pop’s other half Ma and Sabrina Bartlett as their daughter Mariette, who bewitches tax inspector Charley (Tok Stephen). 

Comedy Drama

ITV

Help

Set during the pandemic, this hard-hitting story sees Jodie Comer play Sarah, who works in a fictional Liverpool care home where she bonds with patient Tony (Stephen Graham), who has early-onset Alzheimer’s Disease. 

Written by Jack Thorne (His Dark Materials), the one-off sees Sarah and her colleagues battling to protect their residents from COVID-19, but Sarah soon reaches breaking point...

Drama

Channel 4

The Holiday

Autumn TV Preview 2021 - The Holiday

Jill Halfpenny stars as a woman whose husband has cheated on her. (Image credit: Mark Cassar / ViacomCBS / Chalkboard TV Prodictions; )

Based on TM Logan’s bestselling novel, this four-part thriller sees Jill Halfpenny play Kate, who is enjoying a much-needed holiday in the Mediterranean. However, her life is turned upside down when she discovers her husband Sean (Owen McDonnell) has been sleeping with one of her four best friends, who are on the break with her – but which of them is it?  

Drama

Channel 5

All Creatures Great and Small Season 2 

The heart-warming new take on James Herriot’s beloved stories about a dedicated Yorkshire vet was one of 2020’s TV highlights, so we’re thrilled it’s back for a second six-part run, set again in the 1930s.

As the doors re-open at the Skeldale House veterinary practice, James (Nicholas Ralph), and his caring colleagues tackle a host of taxing cases, but will he finally win the heart of spirited farmer’s daughter Helen (Rachel Shenton)?

Drama

Channel 5

Showtrial

From the producers of Line of Duty and starring Sinéad Keenan and Sharon D Clarke, this five-part legal drama follows the daughter of a rich property developer who is accused of conspiring to murder a fellow university student.  

Drama

BBC1

The Tournament

Alex Scott hosts this brand-new daytime quiz which sees eight contestants compete in a series of fast-paced battles in an attempt to eliminate their opponents. 

Game Show

BBC1

The Long Call

Based on a bestselling novel by Shetland and Vera creator Ann Cleeves, this four-parter sees Ben Aldridge play  Devonshire cop DI Matthew Venn, who is tasked with investigating after a body is discovered on the beach…  

Drama

ITV

The Offenders

Autumn TV Preview 2021 - The Offenders cast

Seven strangers unite to protect one of their own from one of Bristol's hardest gangs in The Offenders. (Image credit: BBC/Big Talk/Four Eyes)

Stephen Merchant created and stars in this six-part comic thriller about seven strangers (including Eleanor Tomlinson and Christopher Walken) carrying out community service in Bristol. 

Comedy Drama

BBC1

Mary Berry: Love to Cook

This six-parter sees the Queen of Cakes search out kindred spirits with their own remarkable foodie passions.  

Cookery Show

BBC1

Stephen

A follow-up to the 1999 factual drama The Murder of Stephen Lawrence, this three-parter centres on events from 2006 onwards – 13 years after Stephen’s death in a racially motivated attack. Steve Coogan is DCI Clive Driscoll, who led the investigation that resulted in two murder convictions.  

Drama

ITV

Landscapers

Olivia Colman stars in this four-part true-crime story about Susan and Christopher Edwards, who murdered Susan’s parents but evaded justice for 15 years. 

Drama

Sky Atlantic

The Tower

Gemma Whelan plays Detective Sergeant Sarah Collins in this three-parter based on former Met Police Officer Kate London’s Metropolitan series of novels.  

Drama

ITV

The Pet Show

Dermot O’Leary and Joanna Page celebrate the nation’s love of animals in this weekly series which sees celebs introducing us to their beloved pets.  

Entertainment 

ITV

Wolfe

Babou Ceesay plays brilliant but flawed forensic pathologist professor Wolfe Kineth in this  six-part crime drama from Shameless creator Paul Abbott. 

Drama

Sky One

Moneybags

Craig Charles is at the helm of this "fast-paced, high-stakes" quiz, which sees contestants face questions, with the answers on moneybags that pass along a conveyor belt in front of them.  

Game Show

Channel 4

The North Water

Based on the novel by Ian McGuire, this four-part thriller is set in Hull and the Arctic during the late 1850s and sees disgraced ex-army surgeon (Jack O’Connell) join dangerous harpooner (Colin Farrell) on a whaling expedition.  

Drama

BBC1

Black to Front

On one day this September, Channel 4’s entire programming schedule will be fronted by Black talent, starting with The Big Breakfast.

Entertainment

Channel 4

The Reluctant Madame Blanc

Created by and starring Sally Lindsay, this six-part thriller sees grieving antiques dealer Jean White head to the South of France to find answers after her husband’s death. 

Drama

Channel 5

Hollington Drive

Hollington Drive

The Hollington Drive cast. (Image credit: ITV)

This much-anticipated four-part thriller sees The Bletchley Circle stars Anna Maxwell Martin and Rachael Stirling play sisters Theresa and Helen. One evening, their families gather for a barbecue, but, as their children head out to play, a neighbour’s son goes missing, tearing everyone’s lives apart... 

Drama

ITV

Prue's Great Garden Plot

Prue Leith swaps cakes for compost in this four-parter that follows The Great British Bake Off judge and her husband John as they downsize to a modern barn they’ve designed together. 

Lifestyle

Channel 4

Dalgliesh

Bertie Carvel takes on the role of PD James’ enigmatic cop, Inspector Adam Dalgliesh, in three two-part cases. The fictional detective has been on our screens many times before, most famously portrayed for 15 years by Roy Marsden in a series of adaptations on ITV.

The new series opens in the mid-1970s and follows Dalgliesh’s career to the present day as he solves unusual murders and unearths buried secrets. 

Drama

ITV

The Trick

After his brilliant turns in The Lost Honour of Christopher Jefferies and as PM Harold Wilson in The Crown, Jason Watkins adds another real-life character to his CV in this factual drama about climate change scientist Phil Jones.

The one-off, which also stars Life’s Victoria Hamilton as Phil’s supportive wife Ruth, examines how, in 2009, Phil’s investigations into the impact of global warming were targeted by hackers, in what was dubbed the ‘Climategate’ scandal.

Drama

BBC1

Ridley Road

A chilling, rarely seen side of the 1960s is brought to life in Him & Her star Sarah Solemani’s four-part adaptation of Jo Bloom’s novel.

Newcomer Aggi O’Casey is Jewish hairdresser Vivien, who finds herself going undercover within a disquieting fascist movement. The starry cast list includes Eddie Marsan and Rory Kinnear, along with ex-EastEnders favourites Tamzin Outhwaite, Tracy-Ann Oberman and Danny Hatchard. 

Drama

BBC1

Vera

Brenda Blethyn is back in DCI Vera Stanhope’s famous mac and hat as the ever-popular crime drama returns for an 11th series. There are six new episodes, with two set to air this year and four planned for 2022. 

Kenny Doughty reprises his role as fan favourite Detective Sergeant Aiden Healy, and the first case revolves around the death of a seemingly-beloved builder… 

Drama

ITV

The Teacher

Autumn 2021 TV Preview - The Teacher

Sheridan Smith takes on another challenging role in The Teacher. (Image credit: Galgóczi Németh Kristóf / Chalkboard TV)

Sheridan Smith takes on one of her most challenging roles to date in this four-part psychological thriller. She plays teacher Jenna, whose life falls apart when she is accused of  a drunken sexual encounter with a student (Samuel Bottomley). 

When a dark event in her past returns to haunt her, can she finally uncover the truth? Ex-Emmerdale star Kelvin Fletcher also stars. 

Drama

Channel 5

Shetland

After two years away, Douglas Henshall and Alison O’Donnell return as leading man DI Jimmy Perez and fan favourite DS Alison ‘Tosh’ McIntosh in a sixth series of the gritty crime drama. 

Drama

BBC1

Strictly Come Dancing 2021

Hosts Tess Daly and Claudia Winkleman welcome us back to the ballroom for series 19, with pro dancer Anton Du Beke replacing Bruno Tonioli on the judging panel. 

McFly musician Tom Fletcher, Peep Show actor Robert Webb and former Coronation Street star Katie McGlynn and EastEnders actor Rose Ayling-Ellis are among the celebrity line-up this year!

Entertainment

BBC1 

Silent Witness Season 24

The forensic drama returns for a 24th series, with Jason Wong joining as super-confident pathologist Adam Yuen, who causes a stir for Dr Nikki Alexander (Emilia Fox). 

Drama

BBC1

A Question of Sport

It’s all change on the quiz show as Paddy McGuinness takes over hosting duties, with sports pundits Sam Quek and Ugo Monye as the new team captains. 

Entertainment

BBC1

Manhunt II: The Night Stalker

Martin Clunes reprises his role as real-life cop DCI Colin Sutton, who this time is leading an investigation to find a serial rapist. 

Drama

ITV

Endeavour Season 8

Series eight of the classy Oxford-set detective drama opens in 1971, and finds DS Endeavour Morse (Shaun Evans) and DCI Fred Thursday (Roger Allam) on the case after a star football player receives a death threat.  

Drama

ITV

Mastermind

BBC news journalist Clive Myrie becomes the fifth host of the ever-popular quiz, as he takes the helm from John Humphrys.  

Entertainment

BBC1

The Great British Bake Off

It’s back to the white tent of baking dreams as judges Paul Hollywood and Prue Leith welcome a fresh batch of hopefuls for series 12.  

Cookery Show

Channel 4

I'm A Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here! 2021

As always details are under wraps, but Ant and Dec’s hit show is set to return for a 21st series later this year. The latest season will also be filmed in Wales, so a brand new bunch of celebrities will be shipped to Gwrych Castle for the second time later this year!

Brassic

Joe Gilgun’s semi-autobiographical series following the escapades of a group of mates living in the fictional northern town of Hawley returns for a third outing. 

Comedy

Sky One 

Guilt

The second series picks up the action two years after brothers Max (Mark Bonnar) and Jake (Jamie Sives) faced the consequences of their guilt after accidentally killing an old man. 

Drama

BBC2

Taskmaster Season 12

Alan Davies and Victoria Coren Mitchell are among the contenders as Greg Davies and Alex Horne’s tournament returns for a 12th outing.  

Comedy

Channel 4

Code 404 Season 2

Code 404 Season 2 stars Daniel Mays and Stephen Graham

Robotic copper DI John Major (Daniel Mays) is back in action with his partner-in-crime Roy Carver (Stephen Graham) this year. (Image credit: Sky)

Daniel Mays and Stephen Graham are back as DI John Major and his police partner Carver for a second series of action-packed adventures, set in the near future. 

Comedy

Sky One

Grantchester Season 6

The sixth series of the popular period crime drama opens in 1958 with Rev Will Davenport (Tom Brittney) and DI Geordie Keating (Robson Green) investigating a death at a holiday camp.   

Drama

ITV

Hitmen Season 2

Sue Perkins and Mel Giedroyc are back as mates and misfit contract killers Fran and Jamie in a second series of the sitcom.  

Comedy

Sky One