Dave, Really, Drama, Yesterday and Home are some of the most iconic channels on Freeview. What you may not know is that they’re all run by UKTV.
We’re all fans of the re-runs of classic shows – who doesn’t love a bit of back-to-back (classic) Top Gear over lunch?
This year, however, UKTV are really upping the ante when it comes to commissioning original shows and acquiring new shows.
You’ve probably already seen the likes of Taskmaster (now about to return for a third series), but there are a lot more shows you may not have heard about.
Here are some of the highlights coming this season to UKTV’s channels on Freeview.
Murdoch Mysteries – Saturday 17 September at 8pm on Drama
Dubbed ‘the Canadian Sherlock Holmes’, series 9 of Murdoch Mysteries begins on Drama. After a man dies in a ‘plane’ crash, Detective William Murdoch runs into his old nemesis James Pendrick, who it seems is behind the flying machine. The first in a whopping thirteen part series.
Unspun with Matt Forde – Wednesday 21 September at 10pm on Dave
In a time where we’re swamped with political news every day, there’s more than enough room for another panel show to pick its way through events. Enter Dave, and Unspun with Matt Forde.
Unspun continues with Episode 2 next Wednesday, taking us through the week’s topical news with guest panellists, interviews and reports from international comedians – which is a nice touch.
With his political background, Matt is a natural choice of host, and it’s refreshing to see a his take on this kind of show.
Dara Ó Briain’s Go 8 Bit – continues Monday 19 September at 10pm on Dave
Already creating a buzz, Dara Ó Briain’s Go 8 Bit is an unlikely fusion of gaming and comedy. Each week, Dara is joined by celebrities who battle it out on their favourite games, while resident gaming expert Ellie Gibson oversees the action.
From big-budget smash hits like Star Wars Battlefront, to trailblazers like Tetris, it’s got everything covered. Next week, Jason Manford and Ed Byrne battle it out on Fifa, and retro games Asteroids and Kororinpa are also in the mix.
Go 8 Bit dared to be different, and it seems to have paid off.
Red Dwarf XI – Thursday 22 September at 9pm on Dave
Red Dwarf was lovingly brought back to life by Dave in 2009, when they commissioned ‘Back to Earth’ – a three-part series, followed by a full series in 2012.
Now it’s back again – with a supersonic bang.
The original cast Chris Barrie (Rimmer), Craig Charles (Lister), Danny John-Jules (Cat), and Robert Llewellyn (Kryten) are joined by a whole host of guest stars for a rip-roaring series that promises to be as varied as ever, each episode having its own unique story and theme.
Dreams come true as Rimmer gets promoted to Officer, Cat falls in love with a female Cat and . . . well, no more spoilers – watch it for yourself!
Helicopter ER – Monday 26 September at 10pm on Really
This new series follows the Yorkshire Air Ambulance as it covers thousands of square miles saving lives.
The full time helicopter aircrew take you into the cockpit, where the team make life or death decisions to ensure patients get to hospital alive.
With a mix of heart-warming and heart-breaking stories, it promises to be a gripping watch.
Celebrity Storage Hunters – starts in October on Dave
The Christmas special was Dave’s most watched programme of the year, so it stands to reason that they’ve commissioned an entire series of Celebrity Storage Hunters.
We all know how it works: punters (now delightfully re-imagined as celebrities) bid on abandoned storage units trying to make as much cash as they can from reselling the contents. With the line-up of celebrities taking part in the opening series (Johnny Vegas, Jenny Éclair, Theo Paphitis and Janet Street Porter to name but a few), you can be sure sparks will fly.
Taskmaster – starts in October on Dave
The hit show returns for a third series on Dave, where host Greg Davies puts comedians through their paces with tricky tasks overseen by Alex Horne.
The comedians taking up the gauntlet this series are Al Murray, Dave Gorman, Paul Chowdhry, Rob Beckett and Sara Pascoe. As ever, the tasks range from the sublime to the ridiculous – but none too ridiculous to try (cue the comedy).
What’s the best way to surprise Alex Horne when he emerges from his shed after an hour cooped up inside? Well, we’re curious now . . .
In the meantime, enjoy this taster:
Zapped – starts in October on Dave
Imagine being transported into a parallel world full of ‘bizarre creatures, magical forces and psychopathic fairies’. That’s the reality for Paul (James Buckley, The Inbetweeners) in brand new fantasy comedy, Zapped.
With a host of wacky characters, a tyrannical ruler and (crucially) a pub, this quirky series follows protagonist Paul in his quest to get back home.
Dave Gorman: Modern Live is Goodish – starts in November on Dave
Dave Gorman’s hit show returns for a fourth series. With his unique blend of stand-up and documentary-comedy, Dave (the bloke not the channel) will continue to explore day-to-day things in his trademark way.
Hear about the new series in Dave’s own words here:
Cops UK: Bodycam Squad – starts in November on Really
Officers in the Staffordshire Police are now wearing cameras while on patrol, which makes for the premise of this new fly-on-the-shirt (we’re hoping that will catch on) documentary.
The series reflects on the challenges of combating crime with some fresh insights into policing.
Other things to look out for
Sunday 18 September
The entire series of South Pacific, a wildlife documentary exploring the extraordinary nature in South Pacific ocean and on isolated islands, airs on Yesterday this Sunday. Episode 1 starts at 4pm, and the series concludes at 10pm. The series is narrated by Benedict Cumberbatch.
All in all . . .
There is more than ever to watch on Freeview, and UKTV are pushing the boundaries with more original content across their four Freeview channels.
- Dave (channel 12)
- Really (channel 17)
- Yesterday (channel 19) and
- Drama (channel 20)
- Home (channel 25)
*Home is not currently available on UKTV Play.