Before we bid farewell to 2020, we have 21 new series, seasons, and specials from the UK and Canada to check out, plus more besides.
For updates about shows from the UK, Canada, and Ireland added to US linear TV and streaming channels throughout the month, see the British TV Viewing Guide.
Programs and dates are subject to change without prior notice.
Videos below may contain content that is not suitable for everyone.
The Repair Shop: Season 3 (UK)
One of the most feel-good reality series ever returns to the US with its third season, which finds the experts restoring a WWI-era military riding crop, a Victorian-era stained-glass window, and a special pocket watch, amongst other cherished keepsakes, for the items owners. For more info about the series, read this article. The Repair Shop: Season 3 premieres in the US on Tuesday, December 1, exclusively on Netflix.
Alien Worlds (UK)
Applying the laws of life on Earth to the rest of the galaxy, this documentary series blends science fact and fiction to imagine alien life on other planets. Alien Worlds, a Netflix Documentary, premieres globally on Wednesday, December 2, exclusively on Netflix. (You can set a reminder for it now.)
Brassic: Season 2 (UK)
Opening a few months after the events in the finale of the brilliant first season, Season 2 of this fabulous comedy-drama finds Vinnie (series co-creator and star Joseph Gilgun, Preacher) still in hiding and the gang trying to persuade him to join them in another plot: to rob the local circus. (Read about the binge-worthy Season 1 here.) Brassic: Season 2 premieres in the US on Friday, December 4, exclusively on Hulu.
The Great British Baking Show: Holidays: Season 3 (UK)
In this 2019 holiday special presented by Noel Fielding and Sandi Toksvig, competitors from Netflix’s GBBS Collections 5 and 6 bake yuletide treats for judges Paul Hollywood and Prue Leith, as does the cast from the hit Irish comedy series Derry Girls! The Great British Baking Show: Holidays: Season 3, a Netflix Original series, premieres in the US on Friday, December 4, exclusively on Netflix.
Set in Toronto, this medical drama follows five young nurses working on the front lines of a busy downtown hospital, dedicating their lives to helping others while struggling to help themselves. Nurses premieres in the US on Monday, December 7, at 10 PM ET, on NBC. (It begins streaming on Hulu on December 8.)
A Suitable Boy (UK)
Based on Vikram Seth‘s novel of the same name, this epic tale of life and love set in 1950s India tells the story of a spirited uni student as she comes of age while the country carves out its own identity as an independent nation. Read this article for further details. A Suitable Boy premieres in the US with its first two (of six) episodes on Monday, December 7, exclusively on Acorn TV. New episodes will debut weekly.
Lennon’s Last Weekend (UK)
In recognition of the 40th anniversary of John Lennon’s tragic death, this hour-long documentary features footage from the rock icon’s final in-person interview, a BBC Radio interview with Andy Peebles. The broadcaster traveled to New York to relive the story and to re-visit some of the iconic locations that illuminate the details of the last two days of Lennon’s life. Lennon’s Last Weekend, a BritBox Original, premieres in North America on Tuesday, December 8, exclusively on BritBox.
The Trial of Christine Keeler (UK)
Set in the early 1960s, this six-part historical drama centers on Christine Keeler (Sophie Cookson, Kingsman: The Secret Service), the young model and showgirl whose affair with John Profumo (Ben Miles, The Capture), the married Secretary of State for War, caused a national scandal and effectively ended the politician’s career. Costarring James Norton (Grantchester) and Emilia Fox (Silent Witness), The Trial of Christine Keeler premieres in the US on Wednesday, December 9, exclusively on HBO Max.
Adult Material (UK)
Hayley Squires (I, Daniel Blake) stars in this four-part drama as Hayley Burrows, a single working mother of three children who supports her family by working as porn star Jolene Dollar, until an incident prompts her to quit the business. Adult Material premieres in the US on Friday, December 11, exclusively on HBO Max.
Slings & Arrows Virtual Reunion (Canada)
Fans of the critically-acclaimed Canadian comedy can celebrate it via this special, a virtual reunion featuring cast members Paul Gross, Martha Burns, and Luke Kirby, series creators Susan Coyne, Bob Martin, and Mark McKinney, and moderator Emily Nussbaum of The New Yorker, who called the series (streaming now on Acorn TV) “the single best TV show about theater ever made.” The Slings & Arrows Virtual Reunion premieres in the US on Monday, December 14, exclusively on Acorn TV. (Video is from the series, not the special.)
The Ripper (UK)
In this true-crime docuseries, investigators and witnesses recall the Yorkshire Ripper murders, which cast a dark shadow over the North of England in the late ’70s. No one felt safe, and police seemed incapable of catching him. They finally did in early 1981, after he had murdered thirteen women between 1975 to 1980. The Ripper, a Netflix Documentary, premieres in the US on Wednesday, December 16, exclusively on Netflix. (You can set a reminder for it now.)
The Grand Tour Presents: A Massive Hunt (UK-US)
After delays caused by the coronavirus pandemic, fans of the hit motoring series will finally be able to see Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond, and James May journeying through Madagascar in search of buried treasure. And driving like mad men, natch. The Grand Tour Presents: A Massive Hunt, an Amazon Original, premieres globally on Friday, December 18, exclusively on Prime Video.
The Lights Before Christmas: Radiance by Rail (UK)
This holiday special takes viewers on an illuminated journey filled with unforgettable views, Christmas lights, and festive cheer from aboard an eight-carriage 1940s vintage train shimmering with twinkling lights. The Lights Before Christmas: Radiance by Rail, a BritBox Original, premieres in North America on Tuesday, December 22, exclusively on BritBox. (Video is from The Lights Before Christmas: Luminous London)
London Hughes: To Catch a D*ck (UK)
In this hilarious, provocative, empowering show, British comedian London Hughes will explore the mystery of why the world is full of desirable, brilliant but single women — who definitely don’t need a man but wouldn’t mind the option. London Hughes: To Catch a D*ck, a Netflix Comedy Special, premieres in the US on Tuesday, December 22, exclusively on Netflix. (You can set a reminder for it now.) (Photo: Greg Gayne/Netflix © 2020 Netflix)
Carols from King’s 2020 (UK)*
This beloved British celebration of Christmas, an annual worldwide broadcasting phenomenon that takes place at the medieval chapel of King’s College, Cambridge, features the King’s College Chapel Choir performing a carol service. Carols from King’s 2020 premieres in North America on Thursday, December 24, exclusively on BritBox. (Video is from 2019)
A Music Lover’s Guide to Murdoch Mysteries (Canada)
With production delayed due to COVID-19, fans of Murdoch Mysteries won’t have a new season of the hit whodunit this Christmas Eve. You can delight instead to a behind-the-scenes music special featuring a seven-piece ensemble from the Toronto Symphony Orchestra performing a concert of Murdoch-era music (circa early 1900s). Taped on the set of Murdoch Mysteries on September 25, 2020, and hosted by Detective William Murdoch himself (Yannick Bisson), A Music Lover’s Guide to Murdoch Mysteries premieres in the US on Thursday, December 24, on Acorn TV. (Photo by Darren Goldstein, courtesy of Acorn TV)
Call the Midwife Holiday Special 2020 (UK)
This viewer-favorite drama’s annual holiday special finds everyone at Nonnatus House looking forward to a traditional holiday, but nothing goes quite to plan. Meanwhile, the Circus arrives in Poplar, bringing new friendships, new experiences, and an exciting adventure for Nurse Crane. The Call the Midwife Holiday Special 2020 premieres in the US on Friday, December 25, at 9 PM ET, on PBS (check your local listings). (Video is from 2018)
Mrs. Brown’s Boys Christmas Special 2020 (UK)*
One of the most-watched British TV events each holiday season returns with Mrs. Brown (Brendan O’Carroll), the loudest, proudest mother in Ireland, and her boys (and girl) celebrating Christmas in this year’s special. Mrs. Brown’s Boys Christmas Special 2020 premieres in the US on Friday, December 25, exclusively on BritBox. (Video is a compilation)
The Queen’s Christmas Message 2020 (UK)
Every year on Christmas Day, Queen Elizabeth II addresses the public in a broadcast in which she shares a chronicle of the year’s major events and personal milestones. (This year was an annus horribilius for the world.) The Queen’s Christmas Message 2020 premieres in the US on Friday, December 25, exclusively on BritBox. (Video is from 2019)
Letterkenny: Season 9 (Canada)
Jared Keeso (19-2), Nathan Dales (The Indian Detective), K. Trevor Wilson (Bigfoot), Michelle Mylett (Bad Blood), and the rest of the cast of this hilarious, award-winning comedy series return to telly with a brand-spanking new season. Read more about it in this article. Letterkenny: Season 9, a Hulu Original series, premieres in the US on Saturday, December 26, exclusively on Hulu.
Cleaning Up (UK)
Sheridan Smith (The Moorside) stars in this drama as Sam, a cleaner at a financial company. Addicted to gambling and struggling to get by on her zero-hour contract, she is drowning in debt and faces losing custody of her children. With access to lucrative stock market info, she plunges herself into a shady world of finance to try to get her life back on track. Cleaning Up premieres in the US and Canada with its first episode (of six) on Thursday, December 31, exclusively on Sundance Now. New episodes will debut weekly.
ADDITIONAL PREMIERE PROGRAMS TO CONSIDER
The Bee Gees: How Can You Mend a Broken Heart (US)
Directed by Frank Marshall (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button), this documentary film chronicles the triumphs, hurdles, and meteoric rise of brothers Barry, Maurice, and Robin Gibb, aka British pop music group The Bee Gees. The Bee Gees: How Can You Mend a Broken Heart premieres Saturday, December 12, exclusively on HBO Max.
Pennyworth: Season 2 (US)
Opening a year after the explosive events of Season 1, the new season of this hit action-crime drama finds Alfred Pennyworth (Jack Bannon, Endeavour) running a black-market Soho club while looking for a way out of England, which is in the grips of a civil war. Pennyworth: Season 2, an Epix Original series, premieres in the US on Sunday, December 13, at 9 PM ET, exclusively on Epix.
Inspired by Julia Quinn’s best-selling “Bridgerton” novels, this romance drama follows Daphne Bridgerton (Phoebe Dynevor, Snatch) as she makes her debut onto Regency London’s competitive marriage market. But her prospects are dimmed when the high-society scandal sheet casts aspersions on her. All is not lost, though, as sparks fly between her and the rebellious Duke of Hastings (Regé-Jean Page, Waterloo Road). Bridgerton, a Netflix Original series, premieres globally on Friday, December 25, exclusively on Netflix. (You can set a reminder for it now.)
Select public TV stations and regional networks will begin airing the following programs on or after December 1. Check you local listings or contact the station that serves your area for air dates and times. To request a show, contact your public TV station or American Public Television.
- The Brigade (Ireland)
- Heavenly Gardens (UK)
- How to Make… (UK)
- Nazi War Machines: Secret Uncovered (UK)
- The Real Prince Philip: A Royal Officer (UK)
- Scotland’s Scenic Railways (UK)
- Secrets of the Royal Palaces (UK)
- Seeing Is Believing: Women Direct (US-UK)
- Wild Shetland: Scotland’s Viking Frontier (UK)
For program descriptions and the lists of stations confirmed for airing these shows, read this article.
NON-PREMIERE PROGRAMS BEING ADDED TO LINEAR TV
Death in Paradise: Season 6 (UK)
The sixth season of this hit mystery series finds DI Humphrey Goodman (Kris Marshall, Sanditon) and his team at the Honoré Police investigating the deaths of a volcanologist, a former classmate of Florence, a hotel manager, the president of the Saint Marie cricket club, and a man on a boat at sea, the last of which brings Humphrey to the UK, where he teams up with DI Jack Mooney (Ardal O’Hanlon, My Hero) to find the killer. Death in Paradise: Season 6 begins airing Thursday, December 10, at 7 PM ET, on Ovation.
NON-PREMIERE PROGRAMS BEING ADDED TO STREAMING SERVICES
Victorian Farm: Series 1 (UK)
In this observational documentary series, historian Ruth Goodman and archaeologists Alex Langlands and Peter Ginn immerse themselves in the life of the Victorian farmer at the Acton Scott Estate in Shropshire. Laboring for a full year using antique tools and machinery, the team rediscover a forgotten world of skills, craft and knowledge, and provide insight into a pivotal time in agricultural history. Victorian Farm: Series 1 begins streaming Monday, December 7.
Victorian Farm Christmas (UK)
Following the success of the series, Ruth, Alex, and Peter return in this three-part holiday special to tackle an array of new farming tasks on the estate, to explore life in the wider working countryside, and to discover how the Victorians created the celebration of Christmas as we know it today — from greeting cards and Christmas carols, to the rich array of festive foods. Victorian Farm Christmas begins streaming Thursday, December 24.
Pride and Prejudice: Having a Ball (UK)
This BBC documentary commemorating the 200th anniversary of Pride and Prejudice reveals the hidden world behind one of the greatest love stories of all time by re-staging an early 19th-century regency ball at Chawton House, the grand estate of Jane Austen’s brother. Pride and Prejudice: Having a Ball begins streaming Monday, December 28.
Sensitive Skin: Series 2 (Canada)
In the final season of this dark comedy series, Davina (Kim Cattrall, Modus) is having problems adjusting to life as a widow, owing to her frequent hallucinations of dead husband Al (Don McKellar, Slings and Arrows). Sensitive Skin: Series 2 begins streaming Monday, December 28.
British Period Dramas
BritBox is adding 77 more British period dramas to its offerings in December. To see the full list, read this article, which has 76 titles; the 77th is Downton Abbey.
The Body Farm (UK)
A spin-off from Waking the Dead, this procedural crime series follows a team of forensic scientists who have traded in academia for criminal forensics. Led by Eve Lockhart (Tara Fitzgerald, Game of Thrones), the team partners up with a London Cold Case unit to perform research into the many ways murder can be committed and concealed. The Body Farm begins streaming Thursday, December 3.
The Vicar of Dibley Christmas Specials 2004-2006 (UK)
BritBox expands its current collection of The Vicar of Dibley to include three Christmas specials, the first of which marks Geraldine’s (Dawn French, The Trouble with Maggie Cole) tenth Christmas at Dibley. The Vicar of Dibley Christmas Specials 2004-2006 begin streaming Friday, December 25.
Celebrity Mastermind: Season 15 (UK)
Hosted by John Humphrys, this celebrity version of the legendary quiz show, which sets the toughest questions on television, features four famous guests each week, who compete against one another in tests of general knowledge in a “specialist subject” category of their choice. Celebrity Mastermind: Season 15 will begin streaming in December (date tba).
Enterprice: Season 1 (UK)
Trieve Blackwood-Cambridge (This Way Up) and Kayode Ewumi (Stath Lets Flats) star in this comedy series as Jeremiah and Kazim, two young entrepreneurs from South London who try to get their brand new home delivery service business off the ground.
Based on Alan Hunter‘s “Inspector George Gently Case Files” series of novels and set in the 1960s, this excellent mystery-crime drama series stars Martin Shaw (Judge John Deed) as Chief Inspector George Gently, an honest, incorruptible cop who investigates murders and more in the North East of England with his young sidekick, Detective Sergeant John Bacchus (Lee Ingleby, The A Word), an overeager, opinionated copper who plays fast and loose with police procedures.
Jeremy Piven (Entourage) leads the cast of this historical drama as Harry Selfridge, the flamboyant American entrepreneur and retail magnate whose Selfridge & Co. department store in London forever changed shopping in Britain.
The Spanish Princess: Season 1 (US-UK)
Based on the novels The Constant Princess and The King’s Curse in Philippa Gregory‘s “Plantagenet and Tudor” series, this historical drama centers on Catherine of Aragon (Charlotte Hope, Game of Thrones), who became Queen of England as the first wife of King Henry VIII (Ruairi O’Connor, Delicious).
Gold Digger (UK)
This thriller miniseries stars Julia Ormond (Mad Men, Legends of the Fall) as Julia, who meets handsome young Benjamin (Ben Barnes, The Chronicles of Narnia films, Westworld) on her 60th birthday. They hit it off and begin seeing each other, but their whirlwind romance is marred by the disapproval of Julia’s adult children, who suspect him of being a gold digger. Gold Digger begins streaming Thursday, December 10.
* Details regarding the impact of the national situation in the UK on this program will be provided as information becomes available.
For details about the December premieres of shows from Australia and New Zealand, visit The Down Under TV Place. For those about the debuts of original-language, English-subtitled programs from Europe, visit The Euro TV Place.
Ads & affiliate links on this blog allow us to earn income from qualifying actions and purchases (at no extra cost to you).
Share this post/page.