September has arrived, and with it comes must-watch British TV premieres, plus lots more titles (some new-ish, some not) added to the major streaming services.
Crashing: Series 1
Series writer Phoebe Waller-Bridge (Fleabag, see below) stars in this ensemble comedy about six 20-somethings living together as property guardians in a disused hospital to get cheap rent. Costarring Jonathan Bailey (Broadchurch), Adrian Scarborough (Blunt Talk), Damien Molony (Suspects), Louise Ford (The Windsors), Julie Dray (Cradle to Grave), and Amit Shah (Jekyll & Hyde), Crashing premieres in the US on Thursday, 1 September 2016, exclusively on Netflix.
Australia’s #1 drama series follows the recently-widowed George Turner (Erik Thomson, Packed to the Rafters) and the new life he throws himself and his two teen-aged children into after he quits his job as a popular 800-word columnist for a top-selling Sydney newspaper. What’s more, he impulsively buys a house in a remote New Zealand seaside town via the internet. Now if only the colorful and inquisitive Kiwi locals would let George’s dream of a fresh start go according to plan. 800 Words: Season 1 premieres in the US on Monday, 5 September 2016, exclusively on Acorn TV. (Photo © South Pacific Pictures, courtesy of Acorn TV)
Based on a true incident in Winston Churchill’s life, and adapted from Jonathan Smith’s acclaimed 2015 novel, The Churchill Secret: KBO, this feature-length drama stars Michael Gambon (Harry Potter) as the British statesman in his most difficult hour: following a debilitating stroke that he seeks to keep hidden from the world. It costars Romola Garai (The Hour), Lindsay Duncan (The Honourable Woman), Bill Paterson (Fleabag), Matthew Macfadyen (Ripper Street), Tara Fitzgerald (Game of Thrones), Rachel Stirling (Capital), Daisy Lewis (Downton Abbey), and Alex Jennings (Silk). Churchill’s Secret premieres in the US on Sunday, 11 September 2016, at 8 PM ET, on PBS. (Check your local listings.) (Photo © Robert Viglasky/Daybreak Pictures and MASTERPIECE)
Love. Death. Unbridled ambition. It’s the stuff that makes Simla go round. And in the second (and final) season of this rich, gorgeous drama, set during the final days of British Raj, new characters join the mix. They include the Maharajah of Amritpur (Art Malik, Arthur & George) and his English mistress, Sirene (Rachel Griffiths, Six Feet Under); Alice’s estranged husband, Charlie Havistock (Blake Ritson, Upstairs Downstairs); and Ralph’s rival, Lord Hawthorne (James Fleet, Partners in Crime). Indian Summers: Series 2 premieres in the US on Sunday, 11 September 2016, at 10 PM ET, on PBS. (Check your local listings.) (Photo courtesy of New Pictures for Channel 4 and MASTERPIECE in association with All3Media International)
Philip Jackson (Agatha Christie’s Poirot), Alison Steadman (Gavin & Stacey), Stephanie Beacham (Coronation Street), Russ Abbot (Last of the Summer Wine), Paula Wilcox (Upstart Crow), and James Smith (The Thick of It) star in this sitcom about the ups and downs of three late-middle-aged pensioner (or soon-to-be retiree) couples living in “Norfolk’s only West facing resort,” aka Thurnemouth. Boomers: Series 1 premieres in the US on Monday, 12 September 2016, on Acorn TV. (Photo © Hat Trick Productions, courtesy of Acorn TV)
Based on Joseph Conrad’s timeless novel about terror, espionage, and betrayal, this psychological thriller is set in 1886 London, where Anton Verloc (Toby Jones, Detectorists) runs a seedy sex shop in Soho… and spies on anarchists for the Russian embassy, unbeknownst to his wife Winnie (Vicky McClure, Line of Duty). Verloc’s next mission: blow up the Greenwich Observatory and make it look like a terrorist attack, or have his identity as a spy exposed. The miniseries co-stars Tom Goodman-Hill (Humans), Stephen Graham (Boardwalk Empire), and Ian Hart (The Last Kingdom). The Secret Agent premieres in the US exclusively on Acorn TV, which will screen the three episodes on Monday-Wednesday, 12-14 September 2016.
Phoebe Waller-Bridge (The Café) stars in this Amazon Original comedy series as Fleabag, a young woman attempting to navigate modern life in London while coming to terms with a recent tragedy. Adapted from her Edinburgh Fringe First Award-winning play of the same name, the six-parter costars Bill Paterson (Law & Order: UK), Olivia Colman (Broadchurch), Brett Gelman (The Inbetweeners), Hugh Skinner (W1A), and Hugh Dennis (Outnumbered). Fleabag premieres in the US on Friday, 16 September 2016, on Amazon Prime Video.
This made-for-TV movie takes a fresh look at the abdication crisis of 1936 through dramatized monologues by the two women at its heart: the Queen Mother (Emma Davies, Emmerdale) and Wallis Simpson (Gina McKee, The Forsyte Saga), as they look back at the dramatic events that led to Edward VIII’s decision to give up the throne. Royal Wives at War premieres in the US on Sunday, 18 September 2016, at 8 PM ET, on PBS. (Check your local listings.) (Photo courtesy of Monika Kupper © BBC 2016)
You gotta love behind-the-scenes specials, and for fans of the updated Poldark series, the hit period drama based on Winston Graham‘s “Poldark” novels, this one is a treat. Featuring interviews with the writer, directors, and actors, as well as on-location footage in beautiful Cornwall, viewers get to see how the cast and crew re-create the magic of the original TV series for today’s audience. Poldark Revealed premieres Sunday, 18 September 2016, at 9 PM ET, on PBS. (Check your local listings.) (Photo courtesy of Mammoth Screen Limited 2015)
Based on John Lanchester’s bestselling novel, this keenly-observed social drama follows the interconnected lives of residents on the fictional Pepys Road in London. One day each household receives a postcard with the message “We want what you have” from an anonymous sender, which kicks off the mystery of who wants what and the interweaving stories that reveal lives filled with love and loss, fear and greed, fortune and envy, and ultimately family and home. Starring Toby Jones (The Secret Agent), Gemma Jones (Marvellous), Adeel Akhtar (River), Rachael Stirling (Detectorists), and Wunmi Mosaku (Vera), amongst others, Capital begins streaming in the US, exclusively on Acorn TV, starting Monday, 19 September 2016.
With its plot taken from Warleggan, the fourth volume of Winston Graham’s “Poldark” novels, Season 2 opens soon after the dramatic events of the Season 1 finale. Ross (Aidan Turner) stands accused of murder and “wrecking” — luring a cargo ship to the rocks for plunder. Hostile witnesses have been bribed, the judge is unsympathetic, and Ross seems headed for the gallows. Joining the cast are Gabriella Wilde (Endless Love) as flirtatious young heiress Caroline Penvenen, and John Nettles (Midsomer Murders) as her rich uncle Ray. Poldark: Series 2 premieres in the US with a two-hour opener on Sunday, 25 September 2016, at 8 PM ET, on PBS. The show moves into its regular 9 PM time slot on 2 October 2016. (Check your local listings.) (Photo courtesy of Robert Viglasky/Mammoth Screen for MASTERPIECE)
The best-selling mystery novel of all time gets the star treatment in this adaptation of Agatha Christie’s best-selling story, which centers on ten people invited to a remote island home, only to be killed off one by one. It features Aidan Turner (Poldark), Maeve Dermody (Serangoon Road), Charles Dance (Game of Thrones), Toby Stephens (Black Sails), Sam Neill (The Tudors), Burn Gorman (Torchwood), Anna Maxwell Martin (Midwinter of the Spirit), Miranda Richardson (Mapp & Lucia), Noah Taylor (Peaky Blinders), and Douglas Booth (Great Expectations). Note that this isn’t the edited, two-part version that aired on Lifetime in March 2016; rather, it is the original UK version of And Then There Were None, which begins streaming in the US, exclusively on Acorn TV, starting Monday, 26 September 2016.
The 1st of September is the release date for the British TV programs shown below. The actual premiere dates will vary from market to market, so check your local listings or contact the public TV station that serves your area for details about air dates and times. For information about carriage, contact American Public Television.
Britain’s Outlaws: Highwaymen, Pirates and Rogues
In this three-part series, historian, TV presenter, and author Dr. Sam Willis (pictured) travels Britain’s open roads, high seas, and city streets to give viewers a chronological portrait of the changing nature of crime in 17th- and 18th-century Britain. Using expert interviews and archival material, he demonstrates that highwaymen, pirates, and rogues were rarely outcasts from the fringes of society, but rather products of their time whose criminal activities were often shaped by powerful national events. The stations listed below are confirmed for airing Britain’s Outlaws: Highwaymen, Pirates and Rogues.
Genius of the Ancient World
Historian and broadcaster Bettany Hughes (pictured), author of Helen of Troy, amongst other nonfiction titles, hosts this three-part documentary about three giants of ancient philosophy who lived within 100 years of each other between the 6th and 5th century B.C.: the Buddha, Socrates, and Confucius. Through her travels to India, Greece, and China, she reveals how each of them “embodied a shift from a reliance on the supernatural to explain humankind’s place in the cosmos, to one where rational thought offered new, exciting possibilities.” (Source: Bettany Hughes) The stations listed below are confirmed for airing Genius of the Ancient World.
The Last Dukes
This fascinating, hour-long documentary features interviews and insights about dukedoms past and present from some of the men and women of the 24 non-royal ducal estates that remain in Britain today. They include Lady Rosemary Spencer-Churchill, aunt of the current Duke of Marlborough, who was brought up in Blenheim Palace with 36 servants; the Duke of Atholl, who until 2012 was a rural South African sign-maker named Bruce Murray; the Scottish Duke of Montrose (pictured), one of the few dukes remaining in House of Lords; and the Duchess of Rutland, whose business savvy has kept the family seat of Belvoir Castle in good repair. The complete list of public TV stations airing The Last Dukes is here.
Series 3 of this addictive drama (available for binge-watching on Acorn TV) opens with George (Brett Climo) fighting for his life after being shot at point-blank range… with only René (Benjamin Winspear) and Regina (Jenni Baird) as witnesses. Meanwhile, Sarah (Marta Dusseldorp, pictured) deals with an unexpected pregnancy, Anna (Abby Earl) and Gino’s (Aldo Mignone) honeymoon period comes to an abrupt end, Elizabeth (Noni Hazlehurst) navigates a new life (and a new suitor) in the city, Olivia (Arianwen Parkes-Lockwood) and James (David Berry) both begin extramarital affairs, and Regina’s desire to be with George reaches a dangerous level. (Ooh!) The complete list of public TV stations airing A Place to Call Home: Series 3 is here.
Algorithms have become central to our daily lives, but most of us are unaware of their extraordinary reach and impact and role as the driving force behind our digital world. Enter charismatic Oxford University Professor Marcus du Sautoy (pictured), who demonstrates in some very cool ways how algorithms can be used to calculate the exact number of tiles needed to cover a floor, to win at seemingly complex games of choice, to break codes, and more. The complete list of public TV stations airing The Secret Rules of Modern Living: Algorithms is here.
Suffragettes Forever! The Story of Women and Power
Hosted by historian, radio and TV presenter, author, and professor Amanda Vickery (pictured), this series examines the struggle for women’s rights in Britain and puts the battle for the vote in its true historical context. She reveals that the Edwardian suffragettes who won the vote were part of a suffrage campaign that began in the 18th century, and shows how bloody revolutionary movements, working class radicals, love-struck philosophers, campaigners in the sex industry, and even the humble bicycle all played a part in tackling social injustice — a fight that continues to this day. The complete list of public TV stations airing Suffragettes Forever! The Story of Women and Power is here.
(All photos in this section courtesy of American Public Television.)
NON-PREMIERE PROGRAMS ADDED TO STREAMING SERVICES
In Regency England, George “Beau” Brummell’s (James Purefoy, The Following) simple, clean, masculine style wins him the Prince Regent’s (Hugh Bonneville, Downton Abbey) friendship and shoots him into high society. But in defiance of the prince, Brummell also befriends the politically and sexually adventurous poet Lord Byron (Matthew Rhys, The Americans), leading to his downfall. Beau Brummel: This Charming Man begins streaming Friday, 9 September 2016, on Acorn TV.
From Oscar®-nominated writer Tony Roche (In the Loop) and starring Darren Boyd (The Delivery Man, see below), Charles Edwards (Arthur & George), Tom Fisher (The Last Enemy), and Stephen Fry (Kingdom), this fantastical docudrama recreates the controversy surrounding the 1979 Monty Python film Life of Brian (about the life of Jesus), which opened to widespread accusations of blasphemy. Matters came to a head when Michael Palin and John Cleese agreed to take part in a BBC talk show about their film with a Church of England bishop and a staunchly Catholic broadcaster. The ensuing TV debate put the Pythons in their most absurd role yet: the voice of reason. Holy Flying Circus begins streaming Friday, 16 September 2016, on Acorn TV.
Darren Boyd (Fortitude) stars in this comedy as Matthew Bunting, a 30-ish former policeman whose search for something more meaningful in his life takes him into an altogether different profession: midwifery. Now he’s a newly-qualified midwife and the first male midwife at the Easthill Park Maternity Unit. Costarring Fay Ripley (Suspects) and Aisling Bea (Trivia), The Delivery Man begins streaming Monday, 19 September 2016, on Acorn TV.
In November and December of 1888, Vincent Van Gogh and Paul Gauguin shared a home called the Yellow House in southern France, where the out-of-luck painters abandoned all responsibilities to commit themselves fully to their craft. Starring John Simm (Life on Mars) as Van Gogh and John Lynch (The Fall) as Gauguin, this moving drama brings to light the ordinary lives of two extraordinary men to illuminate a critical moment in the story of modern art. The Yellow House begins streaming Friday, 23 September 2016, on Acorn TV.
Created and written by Stewart Harcourt (Agatha Raisin), and first aired in the US on PBS Mystery!, this four-episode crime drama stars Robert Lindsay (My Family) as Chief Inspector Michael Jericho, a respected, uncompromising, and forward-thinking Scotland Yard detective investigating high-profile murders in 1958 London. Jericho of Scotland Yard begins streaming Monday, 26 September 2016, on Acorn TV.
The Yorkshire Vet: Series 1
Currently in its third series in the UK, US viewers can now get a glimpse of the true story behind the classic BBC drama All Creatures Great and Small, inspired by the books of Alf Wight (pen name James Herriot). Narrated by Christopher Timothy, star of All Creatures Great and Small, this documentary series follows the staff at Wight’s original practice in Thirsk, North Yorkshire, including Peter Wright, Alf’s former trainee and the current head of practice. The Yorkshire Vet: Series 1 begins streaming Monday, 26 September 2016, on Acorn TV.
In this cleverly-inspired twist on Shakespeare’s Hamlet, the two eponymous minor characters from the play take center stage. Completely unaware that their lives are scripted and they cannot deviate from the fate the Bard gave them, Rosencrantz (Gary Oldman, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy) and Guildenstern (Tim Roth, Lie to Me) are rightfully confused about the events occurring on stage in Hamlet. Costarring Richard Dreyfuss and Iain Glen, Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead begins streaming Friday, 30 September 2016, on Acorn TV.
(Photos: Beau Brummel: This Charming Man and Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead courtesy of Acorn TV; The Delivery Man courtesy of Amazon.com; The Yellow House courtesy of Channel 4; Jericho of Scotland Yard courtesy of PBS; and The Yorkshire Vet courtesy of Channel 5.)
In “The Internet Is Coming,” the special episode that brings this International Emmy and BAFTA Awards-winning comedy to a close, Roy (Chris O’Dowd) and Jen (Katherine Parkinson) become internet sensations, but not in a good way. So it’s Moss (Richard Ayoade) to the rescue, which, as with his life, doesn’t go as well as he thought it would. The IT Crowd: Series 5 begins streaming Thursday, 1 September 2016, on Amazon Video.
Recurring characters Missy (Michelle Gomez), Osgood (Ingrid Oliver), and Kate Lethbridge-Stewart (Jemma Redgrave), plus guest star Maisie Williams (Game of Thrones), feature in Season 9, the first one to include multiple two-part stories since Season 6 and the last one to costar Jenna Coleman as companion Clara to Peter Capaldi’s Time Lord. Doctor Who: Series 9 begins streaming Monday, 5 September 2016, on Amazon Prime Video.
Two-time Emmy and Golden Globe nominee John Mahoney (Frasier), who guest-starred in the final series of Foyle’s War, hosts this inside look at the hugely popular detective series that starred Michael Kitchen and Honeysuckle Weeks. The special reveals details about the creation of Foyle’s War, the decision to set it during World War II, the research that went into each episode, and the casting of Michael Kitchen as DCS Foyle. Foyle’s War Revisited begins streaming Monday, 5 September 2016, on Amazon Video.
Hosted by Academy Awards nominee and Golden Globes winner Stanley Tucci, Being Poirot is a tribute to Hercule Poirot by David Suchet, the actor who, over the course of 25 years, portrayed the iconic character in 70 films that make up the entirety of Agatha Christie‘s Poirot canon. For further details about this special, read “David Suchet on Being Poirot.” Being Poirot begins streaming Tuesday, 6 September 2016, on Amazon Video.
Set in London and filmed à la cinéma vérité, this crime drama features dialogue mostly improvised by cast members (who learned storyline details) to give viewers a heightened sense of authenticity. Starring Fay Ripley (Cold Feet), Damien Molony (Being Human), and Clare-Hope Ashitey (Doctor Foster), Suspects: Series 1-2 begins streaming Monday, 12 September 2016, on Amazon Video.
If you haven’t seen the second season of this award-winning mystery series from Down Under on your public TV station, now you can stream it. Craig McLachlan reprises his role as Dr. Lucien Blake, a GP driven to solve murder mysteries with his knowledge of medicine and human nature but whose political incorrectness doesn’t do him any favors with his superiors. The Doctor Blake Mysteries: Series 2 begins streaming Tuesday, 13 September 2016, on Amazon Video.
The hilarity continues in Season 2 of this award-winning comedy starring SCTV alums Eugene Levy (American Pie) and Catherine O’Hara (Beetlejuice). Having lived in the small town of Schitt’s Creek since losing nearly everything, the Rose family is starting to feel more at home and doing what they can to rebuild their lives here. This doesn’t mean things go swimmingly with the locals, though. Schitt’s Creek: Season 2 begins streaming Friday, 5 September 2016, on both Amazon Video and Amazon Prime Video.
(All photos in this section courtesy of Amazon.com.)
Before Charlie Brooker took on the dark side of technology in Black Mirror, he did a reality show-zombie apocalypse dramedy mashup in Dead Set. Eviction night on the set of (a fictionalized version of) Big Brother UK finds the housemates and production crew clueless about zombies running amok outside the set and studio… until the walking dead get inside and start turning folks, including host Davina McCall, into reanimated corpses. Dead Set begins streaming Thursday, 1 September 2016, on Netflix.
The IT Crowd: Series 5
See the description under the Amazon section above. The IT Crowd: Series 5 begins streaming Thursday, 1 September 2016, on Netflix.
This award-winning Aussie dramedy stars Asher Keddie (Underbelly) as Nina Proudman, a single, 30-something obstetrician struggling to navigate her way through an increasingly complicated family, work, and personal life. Peppered with flashbacks, animation, and fantasy sequences (not unlike Ally McBeal), Offspring begins streaming Thursday, 1 September 2016, on Netflix.
Very British Problems: Series 1-2
Based on the bestselling book Very British Problems by Rob Temple, and narrated by Julie Walters (Indian Summers), this series features some of Britain’s most famous faces sharing their endless struggles with the social awkwardness that comes with being British. Hilarious contributions come from actors James Corden (The Late Late Show), Stephen Mangan (Episodes), and Nigel Havers (Chariots of Fire) in Series 1, and David Tennant (Broadchurch), Catherine Tate (Doctor Who), and Rebecca Front (Doctor Thorne) in Series 2. Very British Problems: Series 1-2 begins streaming Thursday, 1 September 2016, on Netflix.
Also streaming on Netflix starting the 1st of September are loads of docudramas, documentaries, and reality series, including these titles from the BBC’s collection of World War I and II-themed programs: Auschwitz: Blueprints of Genocide, Auschwitz: The Nazis and the Final Solution, The Battle of Britain: The Real Story, Churchill’s First World War, D-Day, Death Camp Treblinka: Survivor Stories, The First World War from Above, Goering’s Last Secret, Great Raids of World War II, Hiroshima, The Last Nazis, Nuremburg: Nazis on Trial, Our World War, and The World’s War: Forgotten Soldiers of the Empire.
Additional titles include: Emergency Down Under, Egypt, End Day, Filthy Cities, Generation Earth, Hardliners (Australia), How to Grow a Planet, The Magic of Houdini, The Man Who Killed Richard III, The Spy Who Went Into the Cold, True Crime (Australia/New Zealand), Supervolcano, The Wheelchair President, and Witches: A Century of Murder.
The Dreamtime of Aboriginal mythology comes to life in this drama, in which a minority group 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: Series 1 begins streaming Monday, 5 September 2016, on Netflix.
A serial killer is murdering people across London and it’s not Alice Morgan. Rather, this one is a cannibal who’s eating victims’ body parts from one crime scene to the next. If this isn’t enough to cut short DCI John Luther’s (Idris Elba) self-imposed leave of absence and bring him back to the bullpen, then what is? Alice Morgan. Featuring Darren Boyd (Spy) and Rose Leslie (Game of Thrones), Luther: Series 4 begins streaming Saturday, 17 September 2016, on Netflix.
That this was the final season came as a shock for fans of this horror series featuring some of Gothic literature’s most renowned characters. Before the end credits roll for the last time, though, get a load of Broadway legend Patti LuPone as a therapist trying to help Vanessa Ives (Eva Green) and Wes Studi (The Last of the Mohicans) as a mysterious Native American man with old ties to Ethan Chandler (Josh Hartnett) and new ones to Sir Malcom (Timothy Dalton). Penny Dreadful: Season 3 begins streaming Saturday, 17 September 2016, on Netflix.
Set in 1961, the fifth season of one of the most popular series on both sides of the pond finds numerous babies born with birth defects in Poplar, which has Dr. Turner (Stephen McGann) searching for the cause. Meanwhile, the nurses and nuns of Nonnatus House experience more trials and/or tribulations in their professional and personal lives… including a death that shatters their world. Call the Midwife: Series 5 begins streaming Monday, 19 September 2016, on Netflix.
Based on the crime novels The White Lioness and The Troubled Man by the late, great Swedish author Henning Mankell, the final season of this BAFTA TV Awards-winning mystery series finds the brilliant and brooding police inspector Kurt Wallander (Sir Kenneth Branagh) investigating cases in South Africa and his native Sweden, all while an illness begins to overtake him. For further details, read this article. Wallander: Series 4 begins streaming Thursday, 22 September 2016, on Netflix.
(All photos in this section courtesy of Netflix, except Wallander, courtesy of BBC.)
For updates about September 2016 program offerings, see the British TV Viewing Guide.