The dogs days of summer are definitely here, so chillax in the AC with the US premieres of hit British mysteries, dramas, comedies, and documentaries in August.
In the Dark (UK)
This thriller miniseries stars MyAnna Buring (Ripper Street) as DI Helen Weeks in two stories based on the crime novels by Mark Billingham. “Time of Death” finds a pregnant Weeks returning to her hometown to help a friend whose husband is arrested for the abduction of two young girls. (For details, read this article.) In “In the Dark,” a heavily-pregnant Weeks grapples with an unexpected tragedy that pulls her into the criminal underbelly of Manchester. Costarring Ben Batt (Scott & Bailey), David Leon (Vera), Matt King (Jekyll), Georgia Moffett (Where the Heart Is), and Jamie Sives (Game of Thrones), In the Dark premieres in the US on Tuesday, August 1st, exclusively on BritBox.
The Royal House of Windsor (UK)
This six-part documentary marking the 100th anniversary of the House of Windsor features never-before-seen archival film footage and new interviews with key members of the Queen’s extended family, including Lord Ivar Mountbatten (her third cousin, once removed), Princess Olga Romanoff (the great niece of Tsar Nicholas II of Russia, who was a first cousin of Elizabeth’s grandfather, King George V), and Lady Elizabeth Anson (the Queen’s cousin and party planner). A family saga about the endurance of the Windsor dynasty, told through people in the know and details gleaned from the Royal Archives at Windsor Castle, The Royal House of Windsor premieres in the US on Tuesday, August 1st, on Netflix.
Vera: Series 7 (UK)
Two-time Oscar® nominee Brenda Blethyn (Little Voice, Secrets & Lies) is back as the eponymous DCI in this award-winning mystery-crime drama series inspired by the “Vera Stanhope” novels by Ann Cleeves. (Read my interview with Ann here.) In four new feature-length episodes — “Natural Selection,” “Dark Angel,” “Broken Promise,” and “The Blanket Mire” — Vera and her sidekick, DS Aiden Healy (Kenny Doughty, Stella), investigate a suspicious death on a remote island, the murder of a man with ties to Northumberland’s criminal underbelly, a student’s death from plummeting off the roof of a disused faculty building, and the killing of a young woman whose body is found buried on the moors. With Series 8 already filming (yay!), Vera: Series 7 premieres in the US on Monday, August 7th, exclusively on Acorn TV.
The Story of Diana (US)
This two-part special marks the 20th anniversary of the tragic death of Princess Diana at the age of 36. In an exclusive interview, Charles, 9th Earl Spencer, brother of the late Princess of Wales, provides personal and touching stories of his beloved older sister, set to archival and home movie footage of Diana from her childhood through adult life. Friends of Diana who feature in the special include Sir Richard Branson, founder & CEO of Virgin Group; James Colthurst, Diana’s childhood friend; Elizabeth Emanuel, Diana’s wedding-gown designer; and India Hicks, Prince Charles’s cousin. Part 1 of The Story of Diana airs on Wednesday, August 9th, at 9 PM ET, on ABC, followed by Part 2 on Thursday, August 10th, at 9 PM.
Tina & Bobby (UK)
The love story between the late, great footballer and captain of West Ham United, Bobby Moore, and his wife, Tina Dean, is the focus of this period drama based on Tina’s memoirs. Set between 1957 and 1974, the biopic stars Lorne MacFayden (Grantchester) as Bobby and Michelle Keegan (Coronation Street) as Tina. Tina & Bobby premieres in the US on Thursday, August 10th, exclusively on BritBox.
White Gold: Series 1 (UK)
Set in 1983 Essex, this comedy series stars Ed Westwick (Snatch, Gossip Girl) as Vincent Swan, the cocky head salesman for Cachet Windows. The double-glazing windows showroom owned by Tony Walsh (Nigel Lindsay, Safe) also employs junior sales guys Brian Fitzpatrick (James Buckley, The Inbetweeners) and Martin Lavender (Joe Thomas, Fresh Meat) — rakes in training alongside the scheming Vincent. Renewed for a second season, White Gold, a Netflix Original Series, premieres in the US on Friday, August 11th, exclusively on Netflix.
Hunting the KGB Killers (UK)
This feature-length documentary reveals in full, for the first time, the details of the investigation into Alexander Litvinenko’s murder. With never-before-granted access to the key Scotland Yard detectives on the case, this real-life spy thriller gives viewers an inside look at the unique police investigation, which spanned the UK and Russia and ultimately led to Vladimir Putin’s Kremlin. Featuring exclusive interviews with Litvinenko’s wife Marina and his son Anatoly, Hunting the KGB Killers premieres in the US on Monday, August 14th, on Acorn TV.
Endeavour: Season 4 (UK)
One of Brit TV’s best-loved detective duos — DC Endeavour Morse (Shaun Evans, The Take) and DI Fred Thursday (Roger Allam, The Missing) — returns to our screens for four new intricate cases set in Oxfordshire. A special acknowledgment to Colin Dexter, the creator of the Morse character, who died this past spring. And a hooray to ITV for commissioning a fifth season of the hit mystery series and upping the number of episodes from four to six. Endeavour: Season 4 premieres in the US on Sunday, August 20th, at 9 PM ET, on PBS. (Check your local listings.)
Episodes: Season 5 (Final) (US/UK)
Starring Matt LeBlanc (Friends) as a fictional version of himself, and Stephen Mangan (Green Wing) and Tamsin Greig (Friday Night Dinner) as BAFTA winners Sean and Beverly Lincoln, the final season of this hilarious sitcom picks up where Season 4 left off and comes to a close after 41 episodes. Episodes: Season 5 premieres on Sunday, August 20th, at 10 PM, on Showtime.
The Amazing World of Gravity (aka Gravity and Me: The Force That Shapes Our Lives) (UK)
Hosted by theoretical physicist, broadcaster, and author Jim Al-Khalili (Quantum: A Guide for the Perplexed), this fascinating documentary about the physics of gravity reveals little known facts about gravity and demonstrates them in experiments. For example, did you know that you’re at your tallest when you wake up and shorter at bedtime every day, and that your location on this planet affects your weight — all because of gravity? It’s true! Learn more by watching The Amazing World of Gravity, which premieres in the US on Monday, August 21st, on Acorn TV. (Photo © BBC)
The Good Karma Hospital: Series 1 (UK)
With Season 2 in the works, this medical drama follows Ruby Walker (Amrita Acharia, Game of Thrones), a junior doctor who chucks a broken relationship and dashed dreams in the UK for a new life in exotic South India. Once there, Ruby lands a job and must face the reality of being overworked at the under-resourced Good Karma Hospital run by English ex-pat Dr. Lydia Fonseca (Amanda Redman, New Tricks). Costarring Neil Morrissey (Striking Out), Phyllis Logan (Downton Abbey), and Philip Jackson (Raised by Wolves), The Good Karma Hospital: Series 1 premieres in the US on Monday, August 21st, exclusively on Acorn TV.
The Man Who Shot Tutankhamun (UK)
This documentary tells the story of Harry Burton, the official photographer for Howard Carter’s Tutankhamun excavation during the 1920s. Besides recording the progress of the archaeology, his images capture the mystery, drama, and excitement of one of the great archaeological discoveries of the last century. The show explores key locations in Burton’s life in the UK and Egypt, and sets his famous black-and-white images of the Tutankhamun excavation alongside forgotten color photographs and cine film shot by Burton. The Man Who Shot Tutankhamun premieres in the US on Monday, August 21st, on Acorn TV.
Girls with Autism (UK)
Limpsfield Grange in Surrey is the only state-run boarding school in Britain specializing in girls with autism. This documentary about the school follows three of its pupils over the course of six months, both at school and at home, and offers a unique insight into what it means to be autistic and a teenage girl. Girls with Autism premieres in the US on Thursday, August 24th, exclusively on BritBox.
All Aboard! The Canal Trip + All Aboard! The Country Bus (UK)
With the possible exception of the yule log burning in the fireplace during the holidays, you’ve likely never seen reality TV like this before. The Slow TV movement became a Scandinavian TV sensation in 2009, then made its way across the fjords to the UK (and the US, too). Now two of the most popular British Slow TV shows are headed to America: All Aboard! The Canal Trip, which takes a scenic trip down the Kennet and Avon Canal, and All Aboard! The Country Bus, a UK-ratings-shattering program set on bus journey through the beautiful Yorkshire Dales. Free of voice-overs, both programs premiere in the US on Saturday, August 26th, exclusively on BritBox.
Marley’s Ghosts: Series 1 & 2 (UK)
This fantasy comedy series stars Sarah Alexander (Coupling) as Marley Wise, a successful barrister who can see and talk to dead people. Not your run-of-the-mill ghosts, mind you, but the ones of her recently-deceased husband (John Hannah, Rebus), lover (Nicholas Burns, Uncle), and vicar (Jo Joyner, EastEnders). For a list of the stations airing Marley’s Ghosts, check out this article. Broadcast dates and times vary by market, so check your local listings or contact the station that serves your area for details.
Coming to KCET
800 Words, the hit drama from Down Under about a widowed Aussie columnist who moves from Sydney to a remote seaside town in New Zealand with his kids, debuts on Southern California’s KCET on Monday, August 7th, at 9 PM PT. Directly following at 10 PM is the local premiere of In the Club, the ensemble-cast British drama centered on the lives of expectant parents who attend prenatal classes together. And on Wednesday, August 23rd, at 9 PM PT, The Mekong River with Sue Perkins, a travel series presented by The Great British Baking Show‘s titular former co-host, premieres on KCET, the largest independent public TV station in the country.
Coming to WETA UK
WETA UK, which serves the Washington, DC viewing area and is the only public TV channel in the country that airs programs from the UK, AU, NZ, IE, and CA 24/7/365, has several US broadcast premieres this month: Canadian made-for-TV movie Still Life: A Three Pines Mystery starring Nathaniel Parker (Inspector Lynley), airing Wednesday, August 9th, at 9 PM ET; The Syndicate: Series 1, about five supermarket employees who win the lottery and become millionaires (Friday, August 12th, 8 PM); and the excellent comedy Cradle to Grave, based on the childhood of beloved British comedy writer and broadcaster Danny Baker in 1970s East London (Thursday, August 24th, 9 PM).
Additional international programs that will air on WETA UK in August include: the fabulous biopic miniseries Cilla (Thursday, August 11th, 10 PM); Australian crime drama Jack Irish (Wednesday, August 16th, 9 PM); the reboot mystery series Agatha Christie’s Partners in Crime (Saturday, August 19th, 9 PM); Australian/Singaporean crime drama/mystery Serangoon Road (Saturday, August 26th, 10 PM); and the Aussie historical drama ANZAC Girls (Saturday, August 31st, 10 PM).
NON-PREMIERE PROGRAMS ADDED TO STREAMING SERVICES
Above Suspicion: Series 1 & 2 (UK)
Based on the “Anna Travis” crime novels by bestselling author Lynda La Plante (“Prime Suspect”), this mystery/crime drama stars Kelly Reilly (True Detective) as a rookie detective trying to prove herself in the male-dominated police force and to her brusque boss, DCI James Langton (Ciarán Hinds, Rome). Above Suspicion: Series 1 & 2, which consist of the feature-length mysteries Above Suspicion and The Red Dahlia, begin streaming Monday, August 7th, on Acorn TV.
Rake: Series 4 (Australia)
The third season of this multiple award-winning dramedy closed with criminal defense barrister Cleaver Greene (Richard Roxburgh, Hacksaw Ridge) dangling upside down over Sydney from a hot air balloon. The fourth opens with his crash landing, followed by his going into hiding from his old mentor Edgar Thompson (John Waters, All Saints), a now-former fugitive who wants Cleaver dead. Rake: Series 4 begins streaming Monday, August 14th, on Acorn TV.
This sitcom stars Alan Davies (Jonathan Creek) as Roland White, the executive chef of a hotel restaurant whose illustrious career never really happened. He leaves the details of the kitchen to his sous-chef Bib (Darren Boyd, Fortitude), restaurant manager Caroline (Katherine Parkinson, Humans), and Skoose (Stephen Wight, The Paradise), the ambitious apprentice chef who’s after Bib’s job. Costarring Isy Suttie (Peep Show) as ditzy waitress Kiki, and Maggie Steed (Pie in the Sky) as mercurial hotel owner Celia, Whites begins streaming Monday, August 28th, on Acorn TV.
This thriller stars Oscar® nominee Sophie Okonedo (Hotel Rwanda) and British Independent Film Awards nominee Adrian Lester (Love’s Labour’s Lost) as human rights lawyer Maya Cobbina and her husband Nick Johnson. When Maya is tapped to be the government’s Director of Public Prosecutions, the secret that Nick has been keeping from her for 20 years comes back to haunt him and put the lives of his family in danger. Undercover begins streaming as an Amazon Prime Video offering on Thursday, August 17th.
Victoria: Series 1 (UK)
Jenna Coleman (Doctor Who) stars in this historical drama as Queen Victoria, from her ascension to the throne at age 18, to her marriage to Prince Albert (Tom Hughes, The Game) and the birth of their first child. Costarring Rufus Sewell (Zen) as Lord Melbourne, and with a second season on the way, Victoria: Series 1 begins streaming as an Amazon Prime Video offering on Tuesday, August 29th.
Vera: Series 3 (UK)
Back in the day, DS Joe Ashworth (David Leon, In the Dark) seemed like the only friend the caustic DCI Vera Stanhope (Brenda Blethyn) had. In the third series, the two investigate the shooting death of a young woman, the abduction of a murdered doctor’s two daughters, the supposed drowning death of a student, and the stabbing death of a former Met detective. Vera: Series 3 begins streaming Saturday, August 5th, on BritBox. (Image © ITV)
Life of Crime (UK)
Hayley Atwell (Agent Carter) stars in this three-part drama as Denise Woods, whom we follow at various points in her career: as a WPC in 1985, a DI in 1997, and as a candidate for Superintendent in 2013. During each time period, she works on a case involving the rape and murder of a young woman — crimes she believes are linked. Costarring Richard Coyle (The Collection), Julian Lewis Jones (Stella), and Con O’Neill (Happy Valley), Life of Crime begins streaming Saturday, August 12th, on BritBox. (Image © ITV)
Up the Women (UK)
Series creator/writer Jessica Hynes (Twenty Twelve) stars in this sitcom as Margaret, who discovers the women’s suffrage movement in 1910 London and champions the cause to her fellow craft circle members, most of whom unite to establish their own suffrage league. Helen (Rebecca Front, Inspector Lewis), though, sets up an anti-suffrage league. Costarring Judy Parfitt (Call the Midwife), Vicki Pepperdine (Getting On), and Emma Pierson (Hotel Babylon), Up the Women begins streaming Thursday, August 17th, on BritBox.
Hetty Wainthropp Investigates: Series 1-4 (Complete) (UK)
An oldie but goodie based on the characters in the David Cook novel Missing Persons, this cozy mystery series stars Patricia Routledge (Beatrix Potter with Patricia Routledge, Keeping Up Appearances) as the eponymous pensioner-turned-private detective who solves baffling mysteries with the help of her young sidekick Geoffrey (Dominic Monaghan, Lost). Hetty Wainthropp Investigates: Series 1-4 begins streaming Saturday, August 19th, on BritBox.
Louis Theroux: Extreme Love: Autism (UK)
In the first of his two-part “Extreme Love” series, BAFTA-winning documentarian Louis Theroux (Louis Theroux’s Weird Weekends) travels to New Jersey to DLC-Warren, one of the best schools in the US specializing in autism. The hour-long program finds him exploring the disorder’s unique impact on families — meeting the students and their families, getting a glimpse of what life is like for them, and experiencing the joys and strains of one of the most extraordinary kinds of relationship. Louis Theroux: Extreme Love: Autism begins streaming Thursday, August 24th, on BritBox. (Image © BBC Worldwide)
Mary Kills People: Season 1 (Canada)
This dark comedy-drama stars Caroline Dhavernas (Hannibal) as Mary Harris, an ER doctor who, with her side-business partner Des Bennett (Richard Short, 666 Park Avenue), provides assisted suicide services to the terminally ill. Things get more complicated when Detective Ben Wesley (Jay Ryan, Beauty and the Beast) starts investigating the angels of death. Renewed for a second season, Mary Kills People: Season 1 begins streaming Friday, August 18th, on Hulu.
For updates about August 2017 program offerings, including additional shows from the UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada, see the British TV Viewing Guide.