June used to be the start of summer rerun season, but these days it’s another month of British TV premieres, from returning favorites to brand new series.
Cleverman (Australia/New Zealand)
The Dreamtime of Aboriginal mythology comes to life in this new six-part drama, in which a minority group, endowed with extraordinary physical traits, is the target of a xenophobic society. Despite his struggle with his own power and the responsibility he now has as the Cleverman, it is up to young Koen West (Hunter Page-Lochard) to unite a world divided. (For further details, read this article.) Starring Iain Glen (Game of Thrones), Cleverman premieres TODAY, Wednesday, 1 June 2016, at 10 PM ET, on SundanceTV. (Photo courtesy of SundanceTV.)
This is not your run-of-the-mill police procedural. Starring Fay Ripley (Cold Feet), Damien Molony (Ripper Street), and Clare-Hope Ashitey (Doctor Foster), Suspects is an unscripted drama that is filmed from an eyewitness perspective and features (mostly) improvised dialogue to deliver an immersive, authentic look at criminal investigations. Series 5, which adds Lenora Crichlow (Being Human), James Murray (Primeval), and Perry Fitzpatrick (This Is England ’90) to the cast, is currently in production. The eight episodes of Series 3 & 4 premiere Monday, 6 June 2016, exclusively on Acorn TV. (Photo courtesy of Acorn TV.)
Get ready to be entertained, uplifted, inspired by this brilliant, music-filled, must-watch biopic about the late, great Cilla Black. Penned by Oscar® nominee Jeff Pope (Philomena) and starring Sheridan Smith (Black Work) in an NTA Awards-winning role, the three-part drama follows the Liverpudlian singer’s rise to fame and fortune and life as Britain’s sweetheart on radio and TV. (For further details, read this article.) A BAFTA TV Awards Best Mini-Series nominee, Cilla premieres Monday, 13 June 2016, exclusively on Acorn TV. (Photo courtesy of Acorn TV.)
The (squawking) lovebirds, Freddie (Ian McKellen) and Stuart (Derek Jacobi), along with their friends Violet (Frances de la Tour), Ash (Iwan Rheon), Penelope (Marcia Warren), and Mason (Philip Voss), are back for one last hurrah as this hit comedy comes to a close. Titled “A Year,” this special episode charts a year in the lives of the now married gents, as they enjoy their inheritance and a birthday. Vicious: The Finale premieres Sunday, 19 June 2016, at 8 PM ET, on PBS. (Check your local listings. Photo courtesy of Gary Moyes / © Brown Eyed Boy Ltd 2016.)
Set in 1967, Series 3 of this hit Brit mystery/crime drama finds Morse (Shaun Evans) out of prison and unsure about his future, Thursday (Roger Allam) out of hospital but with a bullet lodged in his body, and others bidding Oxford adieu. The four feature-length episodes include (more) references to Inspector Morse, as well as to Inspector Lewis. (For further details, read this article.) Series 4 is currently in production. Endeavour: Series 3 premieres Sunday, 19 June 2016, at 9 PM ET, on PBS Masterpiece Mystery. (Check your local listings. Photo Courtesy of © Mammoth Screen / MASTERPIECE / ITV Studios.)
The Channel Tunnel between England and France is the scene of a gruesome discovery. Investigating the crime are British detective Karl Roebuck (2014 International Emmy® Award winner Stephen Dillane, Game of Thrones) and French detective Elise Wassermann (Clémence Poésy, Harry Potter), who develop an uneasy partnership in tracking down what turns out to be a serial killer wreaking havoc in both countries. (For further details, read this article.) The first series of The Tunnel premieres Sunday, 19 June 2016, at 10:30 PM ET, on PBS.
This brilliant and hilarious comedy reminds me of Outnumbered, albeit without the dad character and with raunchier humor. Set in the present day, the series is based loosely on the childhoods of the writers, noted British author Caitlin Moran (How to be a Woman) and her sister Caroline, in Wolverhampton. Rebekah Staton (Spy) plays Della Garry, the unconventional, acerbic mum of six children, whose father, Grampy (Philip Jackson, Agatha Christie’s Poirot), is the antithesis of Inspector Japp. The six-episodes of Raised by Wolves: Series 1 premiere Monday, 20 June 2016, exclusively on Acorn TV. (Photo courtesy of Acorn TV.)
This new, five-part thriller follows Ivy Moxam (Jodie Comer, My Mad Fat Diary) from the day she escapes the cellar where she’d been held captive for 13 years. But returning to her family doesn’t bring Ivy peace or a sense of safety, as her captor has evaded capture, the police begin to suspect that all is not what it seems, and more danger awaits her. Costarring Richard Rankin (The Crimson Field), Valerie Kane (The Fall), Natasha Little (Breathless), and Stuart Graham (The Fall), Thirteen premieres Thursday, 23 June 2016, at 10 PM ET, on BBC America. (Photo © BBC)
A Golden Globes Best Miniseries nominee, this six-part drama follows the rise to success of a black jazz band in 1930s London. Then tragedy strikes and sets off a chain of events that threatens the band’s survival. The top-notch cast includes Oscar nominee Chiwetel Ejiofor (12 Years a Slave), Matthew Goode (Downton Abbey), Joanna Vanderham (The Paradise), Wunmi Mosaku (Vera), Angel Coulby (Merlin), Jenna Coleman (Victoria), and Jacqueline Bisset (Day for Night), amongst others. Dancing on the Edge has its free, over-the-air, broadcast TV premiere on Sunday, 26 June 2016, at 8 PM ET, on PBS. (Check your local listings.)
This very funny show returns with famous Brits sharing the struggle against the endless capacity for social awkwardness that comes with being British. Originating from a Twitter account (then a book) and narrated by Julie Walters, these four new episodes feature contributions from James Cordon (The Late Late Show), David Tennant (Broadchurch), Catherine Tate (Doctor Who), and Rebecca Front (Doctor Thorne). Series 2 of Very British Problems premieres Monday, 27 June 2016, exclusively on Acorn TV. (Photo courtesy of Acorn TV)
Dark and deliberately paced, Series 1 of this popular Welsh noir detective drama debuts on US broadcast telly while Series 3 is in production. It stars Richard Harrington (Poldark) as DCI Tom Mathias, a damaged, brooding detective who investigates crimes committed in tight-knit communities in and around the town of Aberystwyth. Hinterland: Series 1 begins airing on or after Thursday, 30 June 2016, on the public TV stations listed below. Check your local listings or contact the station that serves your area for broadcast dates and times. For carriage information, contact American Public Television.
NON-PREMIERE PROGRAMS ADDED TO STREAMING SERVICES
Based on the biography of King Edward VII by Philip Magnus, this thirteen-part Primetime Emmy® and BAFTA Awards-winning drama stars Timothy West (EastEnders) as the eponymous monarch. The eldest son of Queen Victoria (Annette Crosbie, One Foot in the Grave) and Prince Albert (Robert Hardy, Harry Potter) waited nearly 60 years to become king, reigned for only nine, and changed the British monarchy forever. Edward the King begins streaming Monday, 6 June 2016, on Acorn TV.
Written by Allan Cubitt (The Fall), this mystery miniseries stars Helen Mirren (Prime Suspect) as Maggie Sheridan, a former blues singer who turns amateur sleuth to solve the mysteries of the murder of a childhood friend’s father and the theft of a valuable painting, both of which occurred at the victim’s Dublin estate, where Maggie’s been living. Costarring Iain Glen (Jack Taylor), Franco Nero (Django Unchained), and Michael Maloney and Lesley Manville (who also played husband and wife in River), Painted Lady begins streaming Monday, 6 June 2016, on Acorn TV.
The Secret Life of Books: Series 1
In this six-part series the presenters revisit authors’ original manuscripts and diaries to reveal new insights about classic literature. Examining Great Expectations, Shakespeare’s First Folio, Mrs. Dalloway, The Mabinogion, Jane Eyre, and Frankenstein are screenwriter Tony Jordan (Life on Mars), actor Simon Russell Beale (The Hollow Crown), authors Alexandra Harris (Virginia Woolf) and Cerys Matthews (Tales from the Deep), journalist and novelist Bidisha (Too Fast to Live), and author and anatomist Alice Roberts (The Incredible Human Journey), respectively. The Secret Life of Books: Series 1 begins streaming Monday, 13 June 2016, on Acorn TV.
Where the Heart Is: Series 5
Lesley Dunlop (Emmerdale) and Thomas Craig (Murdoch Mysteries) star in the fifth series of this long-running British drama, which finds the staff of the Skelthwaite Health Center grappling with personal and professional dilemmas, including teen pregnancy and infidelity. The sixteen episodes of Where the Heart Is: Series 5 begin streaming Monday, 13 June 2016, on Acorn TV.
Romola Garai (Churchill’s Secret) stars in this multiple award-winning, two-part biopic about the eponymous young Cornish woman who fought for her dignity, freedom, and justice in the 18th century. An act of theft lands Mary in the Botany Bay penal colony, from which she, her husband Will (Alex O’Loughlin, Hawaii Five-O), their two children, and other prisoners escape, only to be found in Timor and returned to England to stand trial. Costarring Jack Davenport (Breathless) and Sam Neill (And Then There Were None), The Incredible Journey of Mary Bryant begins streaming Monday, 20 June 2016, on Acorn TV.
Ross Kemp (EastEnders) stars as DC Jack Mowbray in this taut, two-season serial about one police team’s search for a multiple murderer, whose killings appear to be random. As the number of victims grows, so does the police manpower and tensions on the team, while their suffering morale begins to plummet. Worse yet for Mowbray is the effect on his marriage and family, who are now in danger themselves. The highly binge-watchable twelve episodes of Without Motive: Series 1 & 2 begin streaming Monday, 20 June 2016, on Acorn TV.
The Ascent of Woman
Written and presented by historian and author Dr. Amanda Foreman (The Duchess), this four-part documentary charts the role of women in society from the dawn of civilization to the modern day. As shown through its stories, women have made and changed human history starting from 10,000 B.C., with the history of women veering between the extremes of freedom and oppression, inclusion and exclusion. The Ascent of Woman begins streaming Monday, June 27, 2016, on Acorn TV.
Based on the novel by J.B. Priestley, this seven-part miniseries stars Oscar® winner Colin Firth (The King’s Speech) as Richard Herncastle, a young man who joins his uncle’s traveling stage act to see more of the world. While the troupe’s singers, dancers, acrobats, jugglers, and comedians tour Britain, Herncastle embarks upon a series of love affairs as World War I is about to explode. Costarring John Castle (Lillie) and featuring Oscar® winner Laurence Olivier (Hamlet) in his penultimate screen role, Lost Empires begins streaming Monday, 27 June 2016, on Acorn TV.
This five-part miniseries is based on the true story of Mrs. Charmian Biggs (played by Sheridan Smith, who won the 2013 BAFTA TV Best Actress Award for her portrayal), the naïve wife of Ronnie Biggs (Daniel Mays, Line of Duty). He was one of the men who stole millions in cash from a Royal Mail train on 8 August 1963 — a crime better known as the Great Train Robbery. Written by Jeff Pope (The Widower), Mrs Biggs begins streaming Monday, 27 June 2016, on Acorn TV.
(All photos courtesy of Acorn TV)
In one of the best final seasons of any British TV series in recent memory, we said goodbye to the Crawleys, the Bates, and everyone else upstairs and downstairs at and beyond Lord Grantham’s estate. Thanks to streaming, we get to visit them again and again. And for those of you who are members of Amazon Prime US (or the monthly Prime Video), you can stream Downton Abbey: Season 6 at no charge (beyond the subscription fee) on Amazon Prime Video starting Monday, 6 June 2016.
Set in 1788 New South Wales, this seriously intense, disturbing, and compelling historical drama follows the lives of the convicts and officers (some real, others fictional) who populate Britain’s first penal colony in Australia. The landscape is beautiful, but life here is harsh and brutal. Even for those who find love, there is no happily ever after. (For further details, read this article.) Starring MyAnna Buring (Ripper Street), Russell Tovey (Him & Her), and Julian Rhind-Tutt (The Hour), Banished begins streaming Tuesday, 28 June 2016, on Hulu.
With production on Series 5 nearing completion, Series 4 of this popular crime drama, which debuted in the US on public TV stations, is about to go streaming. Its three stories find DCI Alan Banks (Stephen Tompkinson), DS Annie Cabbot (Andrea Lowe), and DI Helen Morton (Caroline Catz) investigating murders while also dealing with a death in the family, a reunion with a lover, and the breakdown of a relationship. (For further details, read this article.) DCI Banks: Series 4 begins streaming Tuesday, 28 June 2016, on Hulu.
Narrated by acclaimed naturalist and documentarian Sir David Attenborough, this six-episode series follows animals in their natural habitat through various stages of life, as they attempt to overcome the challenges of life and survival and take steps to create the next generation. Shot in ultra-hi-definition (4K), and featuring many animal stories that have been filmed for the first time, Life Story begins streaming Monday, 20 June 2016, on Netflix.
This special companion episode to Life Story takes viewers behind the scenes of various shoots during the massive production of the series. The Life Story team spent 1900 days filming in 29 countries across six continents. They traveled a total of 1,850,798 miles — the equivalent of circling the globe 78 times — and recorded 1800 hours of footage, which amounts to 300 terabytes of data or 64,000 DVDs. The Making of Life Story begins streaming Monday, 20 June 2016, on Netflix. (Photo © BBC)
For updates about June 2016 program offerings, see the British TV Viewing Guide.