The post-festive period always seems a little less magical. Homes and high streets are packing away their Christmas decorations, credit card bills (for those must-have gifts) are dropping into letter boxes, and bathroom scales are providing proof of Christmas indulgences (yes, the third mince pie always tastes best).
But don’t despair! This January, there is a new exciting line up of boundary-pushing dramas coming to our screens, the kind that will keep you entertained and banish those pesky January Blues. And best of all? You can watch all of this on Freeview, without the need for an expensive monthly contract. Here are just some of the amazing TV dramas on offer.
Saturday 6 January at 9pm
The French crime drama is back for its sixth series – a sign that British audiences love its combination of gruesome murders and edgy characters. This season starts off with police captain Laure Berthaud returning early from maternity leave to identify a murdered male torso. The show also depicts the complex relationship between policing and the judiciary through steely Judge François Roban (who bears an uncanny resemblance to Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger) and the fiercely ambitious young lawyer, Joséphine Karlsson.
You can catch up on the first two episodes via BBC iPlayer.
Sunday 7 January at 8pm
If you thought Vera was all about incidents in church halls and the disappearance of livestock, think again. Although set in the breathtaking Northumberland countryside, Vera brings grisly murder to a rural setting. In this new series, DCI Vera Stanhope investigates the horrific circumstances behind charred remains found in an abattoir furnace. Brenda Blethyn is wonderful as always in her role as Vera.
Sunday 7 January at 9pm
Actor James Norton plays Alex Godman, a man who has spent a lifetime trying to avoid the shadow of his family’s criminal past. But when tragedy strikes, he has no choice but to dive headfirst into the world of international crime.
This big budget crime drama has already received rave reviews for its leap into the shadowy world of Mexican drug cartels, Indian drug lords and Balkan smugglers. This is a must-see for fans of the Night Manager.
Saturday 6 January at 9:35pm
Hard Sun is a pre-apocalyptic crime drama set in present-day London, from the BAFTA and Emmy-nominated creator of Luther, Neil Cross. Starring model-turned-actor Agyness Deyn (DI Renko) and Jim Sturgess (DCI Hicks), this new crime drama adds an inventive twist, with criminality on the rise and the end of the world fast approaching.
Next of Kin
Monday 8 January at 9pm
This thriller follows a multicultural family who is experiencing tragedy on both sides of the world: Mona, a London GP, sees her brother abducted in Pakistan, while her nephew is missing from college in London as tensions rise due to a terrorist attack. Starring The Good Wife actress Archie Panjabi and Pirates of the Caribbean star Jack Davenport, this contemporary thriller shouldn’t be missed.
Monday 8 January at 9pm
The forensic pathologists are back to solve another case in a new series – ‘Moment of Surrender’. Dr Nikki Alexander stumbles onto a crime scene while seeking support from fellow pathologist Sally Vaughan. A body is also found in a reservoir, leaving a 16-year-old mystery to be solved.
A staple of British crime drama, this new series will delight long-term fans and those taking their first steps into the world of forensic pathology.
Tuesday 9 January at 10pm
From the League of Gentlemen’s Steve Pemberton and Reece Shearsmith, Inside No.9 is a darkly comic anthology series. Each episode blends together an intriguing mystery with doses of dark humour. This week’s episode, ‘Bernie Clifton’s Dressing Room’, centres on the reunion of a double act who haven’t performed together in 30 years – not since that fateful night in Glasgow. Mysterious stuff indeed!
Wednesday 10 January at 9pm
Girlfriends is the latest drama from acclaimed writer Kay Mellor (Band of Gold and Fat Friends). It focuses on the challenges of being a modern woman of a certain age and features a brilliant cast, including Phyllis Logan, Miranda Richardson and Zoë Wanamaker as leads Linda, Sue and Gail. Not to mention a top-notch supporting cast, including Anthony Head and Mathew Lewis.
Thursday 11 January at 10pm
A wonderfully original comedy-drama about the life of a 16-year-old girl during the troubles in Northern Ireland. Set in the early 1990s, the show follows Erin Quinn through normal teenage problems, while living in a world of strict nuns and British Army checkpoints. Based on the experiences of Indian Summers and Being Human screenwriter Lisa McGee.
……as well as some great dramas on catch up services
Available on BBC iPlayer
Peaky Blinders is one the most talked about programmes on TV. The gritty gangster drama is set in 1919, just after World War I, and tells the story of a notorious gang led by Tommy Shelby (played by the fantastic Cillian Murphy).
Head over to BBC iPlayer to binge-watch this epic drama.
The End of the ****ing World
Available on All 4
Originally a comic series by Charles S. Forsman, this dark comedy doesn’t pull any punches. It centres on teenagers, James (who is pretty sure he is a sociopath), and Alyssa, the cool and angst-filled new girl at school. Together, they go on a road trip to find Alyssa’s real father – although James has his own motivations and thinks Alyssa would be an ideal murder victim.
If you feel like watching something a little bit different, the full series can be viewed on All 4.