There’s a premiere for practically everyone this month, from adaptations of bestselling novels and a hit Broadway play, to new dramas and the return of some of the best British telly around.
This consistently gripping, award-winning crime drama returns with AC-12, the Met’s (fictional) anti-corruption unit, investigating DCI Roz Huntley (Thandie Newton, Westworld), who’s been under intense pressure to apprehend a serial killer. When she arrests a young man for multiple murders, it’s cause for celebration until a colleague alleges she ignored forensic evidence that can prove his innocence. Whether Roz is perpetuating a miscarriage of justice is what DS Steve Arnott (Martin Compston, Filth), DS Kate Fleming (Vicky McClure, The Secret Agent), and Superintendent Ted Hastings (Adrian Dunbar, The Hollow Crown) aim to find out. Featuring Lee Ingleby (George Gently) and Jason Watkins (Trollied), Line of Duty: Series 4 premieres in the US on
Monday, 1 Tuesday, 16 May 2017 (due to a delivery issue), exclusively on Hulu. (Photo courtesy of Hulu)
The Kennedys (UK)
Based loosely on actress, writer, and TV presenter Emma Kennedy’s memoirs, The Tent, the Bucket and Me, this family comedy revolves around the Kennedy clan, who have just moved to the concrete maze of identical houses on a new estate in Stevenage, New Town. Delighted and enthused at the fact they are now on the cusp of being considered middle class, they quickly embrace community spirit. Starring Katherine Parkinson (Humans), Lucy Hutchinson (The Politician’s Husband), and Dan Skinner (Yonderland), The Kennedys premieres in the US on Tuesday, 2 May 2017, on Hulu.
Puppy Love (2014 series)
Starring series co-writers Jo Scanlan (The Thick of It) and Vicki Pepperdine (Getting On), this comedy about “love, dogs and the love of dogs” follows Nana V (Scanlon) and Naomi Singh (Pepperdine), two very different women who run dog-training classes in Wirral. Featuring Simon Fisher-Beacker (Doctor Who) and Aron Julis (DCI Banks), Puppy Love premieres in the US on Tuesday, 2 May 2017, on Hulu.
The second season of Sky’s most successful original drama opens six months after the events in the Series 1 finale and finds DI Harry Clayton (James Nesbitt, The Missing) and DS Suri Chohan (Amara Karan, The Night Of) on the trail of a serial poisoner in London. What’s more, he spots a woman wearing a bracelet that’s identical to the lucky one put on him by the mysterious Eve (Sienna Guillory, Fortitude). Stan Lee’s Lucky Man: Series 2 premieres in the US on Tuesday, 2 May 2017, on Amazon Video.
This comedy series stars Daniel Rigby (Flowers) as Chris, a neurotic former traffic cop now working undercover in an Armenian crime family. His life is made more complicated by his attraction to both Zoe (Sarah Alexander, The Worst Week of My Life), his ambitious and driven police handler, and Lara (Yasmine Akram, Sherlock), the femme fatale of the crime family. Costarring Ivan Kaye (The Coroner), Undercover premieres in the US on Tuesday, 2 May 2017, on Hulu.
Following the success of Victorian Farm and Victorian Pharmacy comes this five-part documentary, which follows a group of modern day families, couples, and individuals recreating life as their forebears had lived it between 1860-1900 in London’s East End. It’s an eye-opening experience, as they confront the harsh realities of barely earning enough money to pay rent and buy food and experience first-hand the tough living and working conditions endured by the millions that made up the urban poor in Victorian Britain. Victorian Slum House premieres in the US on Tuesday, 2 May 2017, at 8 PM ET, on PBS. (Check your local listings.) (Photo courtesy of Wall To Wall Media Limited)
The second season of this historical drama — based on Lords of the North and Sword Song, Books 3 and 4 in Bernard Cornwell‘s “Saxon Tales” series — opens in 878 with Uhtred (Alexander Dreymon, American Horror Story) voyaging north to reclaim his ancestral lands of Bebbanburg. But his journey is made even more treacherous by his enemies’ plots against him. The Last Kingdom: Season 2, a Netflix Original series, premieres in the US on Friday, 5 May 2017, exclusively on Netflix. (Photo by Kata Vermes, courtesy of Netflix)
Anne with an E (Canada)
Based on L.M. Montgomery‘s classic coming-of-age novels, this new TV adaptation stars Amybeth McNulty (Clean Break) as 13-year-old Anne Shirley. After an abusive childhood spent in orphanages and the homes of strangers during the 1890s, she is mistakenly sent to live with an aging sister and brother on Prince Edward Island. Over time, Anne will transform the lives of Marilla (Geraldine James, Black Work) and Matthew Cuthbert (R.H. Thomson, Avonlea) and their small town with her unique spirit, fierce intellect, and brilliant imagination. Anne with an E, a Netflix Global Original series (except Canada), premieres in the US on Friday, 12 May 2017, exclusively on Netflix. (Photo by Caitlin Cronenberg/Netflix)
The television adaptation of the hit Broadway show King Charles III, a 2016 Tony nominee for Best Play, follows the ascension to the UK throne of Prince Charles and his reign as King Charles III after the death of Queen Elizabeth II. Most of the key original cast members from the theatre production reprise their roles for this feature-length drama, including the late, great Tim Pigott-Smith (The Jewel in the Crown), who stars as Charles. [The exception is Charlotte Riley (Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell), who plays Kate, Duchess of Cambridge.] King Charles III premieres Sunday, 14 May 2017, at 9 PM ET, on PBS. (Check your local listings.) (Photo courtesy of Drama Republic for BBC and MASTERPIECE)
Marking the first TV adaptation of Evelyn Waugh’s classic novel, this 1920s-set miniseries stars Jack Whitehall (Fresh Meat) as Paul Pennyfeather, a divinity student who gets expelled from Oxford University after being pranked. Forced to find gainful employment, Pennyfeather gets work with Dr. Fagan (David Suchet, Agatha Christie’s Poirot), the headmaster of Llanabba, an obscure public school in Wales, where Paul meets and falls in love with the Honourable Mrs. Margot Beste-Chetwynde (Eva Longoria, Desperate Housewives), the mother of a Llanabba student. More hilarity ensues when Pennyfeather tutors her son and discovers some surprises about his beloved. Decline and Fall premieres in the US on Monday, 15 May 2017, exclusively on Acorn TV. (Photo by Snowshill, courtesy of Acorn TV)
The Next Step: Seasons 3 & 4 (Canada)
This teen drama series from Temple Street Productions (Orphan Black, X Company), which follows the eponymous dance studios’ A Troupe dancers, returns with dozens of new episodes for stateside fans. In the Season 3 opener, several members of A Troupe leave to pursue other interests and other dancers arrive at the studio to audition for a place on the international championship-winning team. The Next Step: Seasons 3 & 4 premiere in the US on Monday, 15 May 2017, on Hulu.
The Yorkshire Vet in Spring (Series 2)
Documentary cameras return to Skeldale Veterinary Centre in Thirsk, North Yorkshire — once the practice of Alf Wight, aka James Herriot, whose novels inspired the TV series All Creatures Great & Small — where the staff deal with animal injuries, operations, and emergencies. The Yorkshire Vet in Spring premieres in the US on Monday, 15 May 2017, exclusively on Acorn TV. (Photo courtesy of Acorn TV)
Inspired by the book Mary Ann Cotton: Britain’s First Female Serial Killer by criminologist David Wilson, this spine-tingling, feature-length drama stars Golden Globe® winner and three-time Emmy® nominee Joanne Froggatt (Downton Abbey) as the notorious Victorian poisoner who dispensed death from the spout of a warm teapot. Featuring Alun Armstrong (New Tricks), Jonas Armstrong (Ripper Street), Sam Hoare (Dickensian), Emma Fielding (Arthur & George), and John Hollingworth (Poldark), Dark Angel premieres in the US on Sunday, 21 May 2017, at 9 PM ET, on PBS. (Check your local listings.) (Photo courtesy of Justin Slee/World Productions and MASTERPIECE)
Count Arthur Strong
Count Arthur Strong, voted the fourth “best British sitcom of the 21st century” in a poll by Radio Times, is finally returning to telly! Written by Graham Linehan (The IT Crowd) and series star Steve Delaney, Series 3 finds the eponymous, delusional, former vaudevillian still trying to get gigs to reclaim the fame he never had, and still causing unintended mischief everywhere he goes. Costarring Rory Kinnear (Penny Dreadful) as writer Michael Baker, the son of Arthur’s late comedy partner, Count Arthur Strong: Series 3 premieres in the US on Monday, 22 May 2017, exclusively on Acorn TV. (Image courtesy of Acorn TV)
Time Team: Set 12
Series 15 (Set 12 in the States) finds Tony Robinson (Blackadder) once again leading the Time Team — a band of archaeologists, historians, surveyors, geophysicists, and other experts — as they travel across the UK to investigate centuries-old mysteries. A few places they visit include Codnor Castle in Derbyshire, burial sites on the dunes of Barra in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland, and a former military compound in Dungannon, Northern Ireland. Time Team: Set 12 premieres in the US on Monday, 22 May 2017, exclusively on Acorn TV. (Image courtesy of Acorn TV)
Set in Cornwall, this four-part drama stars Dawn French (The Vicar of Dibley), Emilia Fox (Silent Witness), and Iain Glen (Jack Taylor) as Gina, Sam, and Leo — the three sides of a love triangle. Foodie Gina is divorced from Leo, a chef and hotelier who left her for Sam, his current wife, but kept Gina’s recipes for his restaurant. Now Sam suspects he’s having an affair and confides in Gina, only to discover later that Gina is the new “other woman”… Delicious premieres in the US on Friday, 26 May 2017, exclusively on Acorn TV. (Series 2 has been commissioned.)
One of best new shows of 2016 returns with Part 2 of its second season, in which the relationship between the transplanted Aussie columnist, George Turner (Erik Thomson, Packed to the Rafters), and local Kiwi boat club owner Fiona (Michelle Langstone, The Almighty Johnsons) is the talk of the town in Weld. But there are hurdles to overcome and adjustments to make before they can really make it as a couple. 800 Words: Series 2, Part 2 premieres in the US on Monday, 29 May 2017, exclusively on Acorn TV.
The programs below premiere on local public TV stations starting in May 2017. Schedules vary from market to market, so check your local listings for details about air dates and times.
This feature-length adaptation of Agatha Christie’s acclaimed short story stars Billy Howle (Cider with Rosie) as Leonard Vole, a young chancer accused of murdering wealthy Emily French (Kim Cattrall, Sensitive Skin), who left her fortune to him. The late heiress’ housekeeper, Janet McIntyre (Monica Dolan, W1A), swears Vole killed French for the money, despite his protests of innocence. So it’s up to his solicitor, John Mayhew (Toby Jones, Detectorists), King’s Counsel Sir Charles Carter (David Haig, Penny Dreadful), and Vole’s chorus girl partner, Romaine (Andrea Riseborough, Birdman), to get him exonerated. But will they? Contact the public TV station that serves your area to find out if they will be airing Agatha Christie’s The Witness for the Prosecution.
Fake or Fortune? Series 5
Art dealer Philip Mould and journalist Fiona Bruce, along with a team of scientists, investigate a new batch of potential fine art forgeries in the fifth outing of this popular edutainment series. The four episodes include works that may or may not have been created by the mercurial Lucian Freud, French master Paul Delaroche, French sculptor and artist Auguste Rodin, society artist Philip Mercier, German artist Adolph von Menzel, and Dutch-American abstract expressionist artist Willem de Kooning. Fake or Fortune? Series 5 is confirmed for airing on the following public TV stations and regional networks:
This documentary explores the life of George Boole, the English mathematician, logician, and “forefather of the information age,” and reveals how the work of this unsung hero in the 19th century, notably what’s known today as Boolean algebra, has played an integral role in the design of digital computer circuits and made an enormous impact on today’s technology. Narrated by Oscar® winner Jeremy Irons (Reversal of Fortune) and commissioned by University College Cork (where Boole taught) to commemorate the 200th anniversary of Boole’s birth, The Genius of George Boole is confirmed for airing on the following public TV stations and regional networks:
The third series’ three episodes — based on the crime novels Cross, Headstone, and Purgatory by Irish author Ken Bruen — find Galway-based private investigator Jack Taylor (Iain Glen, Game of Thrones) investigating crucifixions, a kidnapping, and software theft with Garda Kate Noonan (Siobhán O’Kelly, Dominion Creek) and Darragh Noonan (Jack Monaghan, Black Mirror), Kate’s cousin and Jack’s new sidekick. For further details, read “Jack Taylor: Set 3 Streaming Premiere & DVD Release.” Contact the public TV station that serves your area to find out if they will be airing Jack Taylor: Series 3.
The final season of this ensemble-cast drama revolves around the remaining five staff members of Hazelwood Manor, the once-stately and now crumbling home of Lord and Lady Hazelwood (Anthony Andrews, Brideshead Revisited, and Alice Krige, Tyrant), after they become more well-off than their in-debt employers from winning the lottery. The six-part drama features Lenny Henry (Chef!), Cara Theobold (Downton Abbey), Elizabeth Berrington (Stella), Melanie Hill (Coronation Street), and Richard Rankin (The Crimson Field). Contact the public TV station that serves your area to find out if they will be airing The Syndicate: All or Nothing.
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A winner of several BAFTA Awards and the inspiration for HBO’s The Night Of, this drama features one crime-and-punishment story in each of its two seasons. In the first, 22-year-old Ben Coulter (Ben Whishaw, London Spy) finds himself charged with murder and facing life in prison after a drink- and drug-filled night on the town. The second follows Juliet Miller (Maxine Peake, Silk) through the criminal justice system, following her fatal stabbing of her abusive husband. Criminal Justice begins streaming Monday, 1 May 2017, on Acorn TV.
This Emmy® and BAFTA Awards-winning biopic is based on the biography Edward VIII by Frances Donaldson, the maternal aunt of the drama’s star, Edward Fox (Gandhi). It dramatizes the events in the royal’s life from the 1920s to 1936, including his relationship with American divorcée Wallis Simpson (Cynthia Harris, Mad About You) when he was Prince of Wales, to his ascension to the British throne as King Edward VIII and his abdication thereof. Edward & Mrs Simpson begins streaming Monday, 1 May 2017, on Acorn TV.
The Flame Trees of Thika
Based on the beloved memoir by Elspeth Huxley, this BAFTA-nominated drama stars Hayley Mills (Wild at Heart) and David Robb (Downton Abbey) as Tilly and Robin Grant, who, with daughter Elspeth (Holly Aird, Waking the Dead), move to British East Africa to set up a coffee plantation. Shot on location in what is now Kenya, this seven-part drama explores the family’s travails — from their arrival in Thika, to the onset of World War I and their return to Europe. The Flame Trees of Thika begins streaming Monday, 8 May 2017, on Acorn TV.
Cleaver Greene (Richard Roxburgh, Hacksaw Ridge) is back! When we left him in the Series 2 finale, he was off to prison. A bit of Cleaver, I mean clever, manipulation gets him out in Series 3, but his life is decidedly different: his ex-wife is getting remarried, his son is leaving to do aid work in the Congo, his best friend is battling cancer, his friend’s wife is representing his clients, and his now-former secretary is living in his flat. It gets better (not): the biopic of a former lover portrays Cleaver as a lesbian substance abuser. And all that is just for starters! Rake: Series 3 begins streaming Monday, 8 May 2017, on Acorn TV.
This 1990 adaptation of the classic novel by R.D. Blackmore stars Clive Owen (The Knick), Polly Walker (Mr. Selfridge), and Sean Bean (Sean Bean! Game of Thrones), and is set in Exmoor in the 17th century. The romance centers on young farmer John Ridd (Owen), whose thirst for vengeance against Carver Doone (Bean) and the Doone clan for their murder of his father is second only to his love for Lorna Doone (Walker), also of his sworn enemies. Lorna Doone begins streaming Monday, 22 May 2017, on Acorn TV.
Whether you have or haven’t seen “The Scottish Play,” put this acclaimed, BAFTA-nominated, 1979 filmed-for-TV production on your must-watch list, because it it superb. Performed by the Royal Shakespeare Company, it stars acting legends Sir Ian McKellen (The Lord of the Rings) and Dame Judi Dench (Philomena) as Shakespeare’s Scottish general Macbeth and his ruthless wife Lady Macbeth. The tragedy follows the couple’s descent into murder and madness after a trio of witches prophesy that Macbeth will be the King of Scotland. Macbeth begins streaming Monday, 29 May 2017, on Acorn TV.
Mozart in London
Historian and author Lucy Worsley (A Very British Murder) presents this intriguing documentary about Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and “the pivotal year” (1764) that he and his musically-gifted family spent in London, where the then-eight-year-old prodigy composed his first symphony. Mozart in London begins streaming Monday, 29 May 2017, on Acorn TV. (Photo courtesy of American Public Television)
(All photos in this section, except where noted, courtesy of Acorn TV)
The back half (ten episodes) of this Emmy® nominee’s fourth season picks up where the first half’s finale left off — when Ragnar (Travis Fimmel, Warcraft: The Beginning) challenged his sons to kill him for the kingship. (With Season 5 coming, you can figure they don’t.) Anyhoo, Ubbe (Jordan Patrick Smith, Neighbours), Bjorn (Alexander Ludwig, The Hunger Games), and Sigurd (David Lindström, Blue Eyes) also decline to sail with him to England. As it turns out, Ragnar shouldn’t have gone, either… Vikings: Season 4B begins streaming as an Amazon Prime Video offering on Tuesday, 2 May 2017.
The first season of this BAFTA-nominated Best Drama Series was utterly gripping, and so is this follow-up. Alice Webster (Abigail Hardingham, Silent Witness) went missing 11 years ago, but her mysterious reaapearance brings turmoil to her family and raises questions for retired detective Julien Baptiste (Tchéky Karyo, La Femme Nikita), who hopes she can help him find a young French girl who also disappeared. Starring Keeley Hawes (The Durrells in Corfu) and David Morrissey (The Driver), The Missing: Season 2 begins streaming Wednesday, 3 May 2017, on Amazon Video.
Warleggan, the fourth volume of Winston Graham’s “Poldark” novels, is the source material for Season 2 of this hit Cornwall-set period drama. It opens soon after the events of the Season 1 finale, with Ross (Aidan Turner, And Then There Were None) going on trial, Demelza (Eleanor Tomlinson, The White Queen) mourning baby Julia’s death and trying to save Ross from the gallows, and George W. (Jack Farthing, Blandings) doing everything he can to ruin Ross. Poldark: Season 2 begins streaming as an Amazon Prime Video offering on Saturday, 27 May 2017.
(Images in this section courtesy of Amazon)
In the final season of this hit British crime drama, based on the “Inspector Banks” novels by Peter Robinson, a key member of Banks’ (Stephen Tomkinson, Wild at Heart) team gets promoted and another is brutally murdered. Costarring Jack Deam (Father Brown), Andrea Lowe (Shameless), and Caroline Catz (Doc Martin), and featuring Samuel Anderson (Doctor Who), Shaun Dingwall (Touching Evil), and Shaun Dooley (Broadchurch), DCI Banks: Series 5 begins streaming Monday, 1 May 2017, on Hulu.
If Daphne du Maurier’s novel Rebecca were a dark comedy, this British Comedy Awards winner would be it. Set in the 1830s, it stars Alexandra Roach (No Offence) as shipwreck survivor Helene, who marries widowed pastor Edmund (Alex Macqueen, The Thick of It) to put her past behind her, not realizing his housekeeper, Dorothy (series writer and costar Julia Davis (Nighty Night), is scheming against her. Hunderby: Series 1 & 2 begin streaming Tuesday, 2 May 2017, on Hulu.
This dark comedy anthology series created by Reece Shearsmith (The Widower) and Steve Pemberton (Happy Valley) boasts boatloads of guest stars and alternates between being funny and creepy. Each episode takes place inside a different No. 9 address and has a deliciously twisted ending. (My favorite episode: the dialogue-free “A Quiet Night In,” which is hilarious.) Inside No. 9: Series 1 begins streaming Tuesday, 2 May 2017, on Hulu.
The first season of this BAFTA-nominated crime thriller stars John Simm (Code of a Killer) as DC Marcus Farrow, a detective who goes on the run and does previously unimaginable things to clear his name after evidence points to him as his wife’s killer. Philip Glenister (Life on Mars) stars in the second as prison officer David Murdoch, who finds himself on the wrong side of the law after a routine visit to hospital with a female prisoner gets complicated by a phone call involving threats to his pregnant daughter’s life. Prey: Series 1 & 2 begin streaming Tuesday, 2 May 2017, on Hulu.
Part 2 of this excellent historical drama’s fourth season is also coming to Hulu, where Seasons 1-4A are currently streaming. For newbies, the series is inspired by tales about the legendary Viking chieftain Ragnar Lothbrok; as intricate, gripping, and violent as Game of Thrones; and a must-watch for fans of Norse mythology and history. Vikings: Season 4B begins streaming Tuesday, 2 May 2017, on Hulu.
Based on Douglas Adams‘ bestselling “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” series of comedy-sci-fi books, this multiple award-winning cult TV series follows the misadventures of Arthur Dent (Simon Jones, Brideshead Revisited) — the only surviving human after aliens destroy Earth to make way for an intergalactic highway bypass. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy begins streaming Wednesday, 3 May 2017, on Hulu.
(Images in this section courtesy of Hulu)
This season’s episodes, likely the last for a while if not forever, feel like the darkest ones of the series. Putting critics’ “James Bond” references aside, Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat’s rework of three of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle‘s “Sherlock” stories offer up a lot to take in, from the death of a major character and the near-deaths of Holmes and Watson, to a serial killer and a secret Holmes family member. Featuring Sacha Dawan (In the Club), Marcia Warren (Vicious), Toby Jones (Detectorists), and Sian Brooke (Not Safe for Work), as well as the return of Andrew Scott (Spectre), Lindsay Duncan (Churchill’s Secret), and Tom Brooke (Preacher), Sherlock: Series 4 begins streaming Monday, 15 May 2017 on Netflix. (Image courtesy of Netflix)
For updates about May 2017 program offerings, see the British TV Viewing Guide.