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The month that kicks off the unofficial start of summer features the national premieres of 18 new series and seasons from the UK, plus 2 more that have their local broadcast debuts.

British TV Premieres in May 2021

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.

NATIONAL PREMIERES

Grace: Looking Good Dead (UK)

Based on Peter James’s best-selling “Roy Grace” novel of the same name, this feature-length story in the Grace miniseries finds Det. Supt. Roy Grace (John Simm, Life on Mars) and Det. Sgt. Glenn Branson (Richie Campbell, Small Axe) drawn into an investigation that will test their abilities and their friendship. After human remains are discovered in a Sussex field, Grace’s instinct leads him to believe the deaths are the work of a sadistic serial killer who leaves a bizarre calling card at the scene of each crime. Grace: Looking Good Dead, a BritBox Original series, has its World premiere on Tuesday, May 4, exclusively on BritBox.

The Drowning (UK)

Jill Halfpenny (Waterloo Road) stars in this thriller as Jodie, whose son vanished eight years ago. When she sees Daniel, a teenage boy who resembles her missing son, she is convinced she has found him. Whether he is or isn’t, it gives her hope and sets her on a dangerous and transgressive path that will take her to the edge of reason. (Further details here.) The Drowning premieres in the US and Canada on Thursday, May 6, on both Acorn TV and Sundance Now.

Attenborough’s Journey (UK)

This new special celebrates iconic natural history presenter Sir David Attenborough on his 95th birthday. In documenting his extraordinary life through exclusive behind-the-scenes footage, candid on-location interviews, and stunning moments from his travels for his groundbreaking documentaries, the program reveals what makes Attenborough an international treasure. Attenborough’s Journey premieres in the US on Saturday, May 8, at 8 PM ET, on BBC America and AMC+.

China: Nature’s Ancient KingdomChina: Nature’s Ancient Kingdom (UK)

Narrated by Vanessa Kirby (The Crown), this three-part docuseries reveals the world’s largest conservation project and offers glimpses of the breathtaking wildlife hidden inside China’s stunning national parks. China: Nature’s Ancient Kingdom premieres in the US on Saturday, May 15, at 8 PM ET, on BBC America and AMC+. (Panda photo credit: Oxford Scientific Films/BBC America)

Death and Nightingales (UK)

Based on Eugene McCabe‘s novel of the same name, this drama, set over a 24-hour period in 1885 Fermanagh, Northern Ireland, follows Beth Winters (Ann Skelly, The Nevers) on her 23rd birthday — the day she decides to control her own destiny by joining the charming Liam Ward (Jamie Dornan, The Fall) and escaping from her limited life and difficult Protestant landowner stepfather, Billy (Matthew Rhys, Perry Mason). Death and Nightingales premieres in the US on Sunday, May 16, at 10 PM ET/PT, on Starz.

How I Created a CultHow I Created a Cult (UK)

This three-part docuseries takes an in-depth look at Andrew Cohen, one of the most notorious gurus and cult leaders of the last 30 years. The program also examines what attracts people to charismatic leaders and how the best of intentions can turn dark. How I Created a Cult premieres in the US on Monday, May 17, on BBC Select. (Photo courtesy of BBC Select)

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Agatha and the Curse of Ishtar (UK)

Set in 1928, this fictional story sees Agatha Christie (Lyndsey Marshal, Garrow’s Law), bruised from divorce and struggling with fame, travel to the deserts of Iraq for an archaeological dig, where the famous crime writer unravels a series of mysterious murders and meets Max Mallowan (Jonah Hauer-King, World on Fire), an archaeologist vying for her affection. Agatha and the Curse of Ishtar premieres in the US on Tuesday, May 18, on PBS (check your local listings). It will also be available for streaming on the PBS Masterpiece Prime Video Channel.

Line of Duty: Season 6 (UK)

In the latest season of this hit crime thriller, police anti-corruption unit AC-12 investigates DCI Joanna Davidson (Kelly Macdonald, The Victim), whose unconventional conduct in a high-profile murder case raises suspicions. As AC-12 team members begin to challenge the facts of the case, they question whether Davidson is doing everything in her power to find the perpetrator. Line of Duty: Season 6, a BritBox Original series, premieres in North America on Tuesday, May 18, exclusively on BritBox. New episodes air weekly.

Too Close (UK)

Emily Watson (Chernobyl) stars in this three-part psychological thriller as Emma Robinson, a forensic psychiatrist who must assess criminal suspect Connie (Denise Gough, The Fall) and uncover what happened on the night of someone’s death. Except Emma falls victim to Connie, who exploits her insights into Emma’s deepest insecurities to manipulate Emma. (Further details here.) Too Close, an AMC+ Original series, premieres in the US on Thursday, May 20, exclusively on AMC+.

Would I Lie to You?: Season 14 (UK)

Hosted by Rob Brydon (Gavin & Stacey) with Lee Mack (Not Going Out) and David Mitchell (Upstart Crow) returning as team captains, this popular panel show sees two teams of celebrity panelists fooling each other into believing that what is fake is true and vice versa. Guest panelists in the new season include actress Samantha Morton (Harlots) and comedian Johnny Vegas (Still Open All Hours). Would I Lie to You?: Season 14 premieres in North America on Friday, May 21, exclusively on BritBox. (Video is from Season 13)

Louis Theroux: Life on the Edge (UK)

The latest work from BAFTA-winning filmmaker Louis Theroux (Louis Theroux’s Weird Weekends) features up-to-date interviews with Louis and catch-ups between him and some of the most notable contributors to his other works. Louis Theroux: Life on the Edge premieres in the US and Canada on Monday, May 24, exclusively on BBC Select.

Whitstable Pearl (UK)

Based on Julie Wassmer‘s novels, this mystery series stars Kerry Godliman (After Life) as Pearl Nolan, a restaurateur and private detective in the English seaside town of Whitstable. In the first story, Pearl discovers the body of a close family friend, suspects murder, and teams up with new Kent police chief DCI Mike McGuire (Howard Charles, The Musketeers) to learn the truth. (Further details here.) Whitstable Pearl, an Acorn TV Original series, premieres in the US, Canada, UK, Australia, and New Zealand on Monday, May 24, exclusively on Acorn TV.

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Agatha and the Midnight Murders (UK)

Helen Baxendale (Cold Feet) stars as Agatha Christie in another fictional story centered on the author. Set in London during the Blitz in 1940, Agatha makes the decision to kill off her most famous creation, Hercule Poirot, while she is under investigation by US and UK tax authorities and must come up with an enormous sum. Agatha and the Midnight Murders premieres in the US on Tuesday, May 25, on PBS (check your local listings). It will also be available for streaming on the PBS Masterpiece Prime Video Channel.

Baewatch: Parental Guidance (UK)

In this reality series, couples put their relationships to the test on a romantic getaway in the sun. What they don’t realize is that their families are the ones doing the actual testing, as they secretly watch the goings-on to find out more about their loved ones’ relationships. Baewatch: Parental Guidance premieres in the US on Tuesday, May 25, exclusively on Hulu.

Moving On S11Moving On: Seasons 11-12 (UK)

Created by Emmy® and BAFTA winner Jimmy McGovern (The Street), this anthology series explores complex issues as characters reach a turning point in life and then move on. Stories in the latest two seasons center on a man rebuilding his life after serving time for a crime he didn’t commit, a woman battling the fact that her father had another family, and others. Moving On: Seasons 11-12 premieres in North America on Tuesday, May 25, exclusively on BritBox. (Photo: Julie Graham as Pauline, courtesy of BritBox)

Nail Bomber: ManhuntNail Bomber: Manhunt (UK)

This true-crime documentary tells the story of the 1999 London bombings that targeted minorities, and the race to find the far-right extremist behind them. Nail Bomber: Manhunt, a Netflix Documentary, premieres globally on Wednesday, May 26, exclusively on Netflix. (You can set a reminder for it now.) (Photo courtesy of Netflix)

Meerkat Manor: Rise of the DynastyMeerkat Manor: Rise of the Dynasty (UK)

Narrated by BAFTA winner Bill Nighy (Love Actually), this new docuseries continues the tale of survival centered on three families of meerkats descended from the legendary matriarch, Flower. Early access to the US premiere of Meerkat Manor: Rise of the Dynasty becomes available on Saturday, May 29, on AMC+, one week ahead of the show’s official premiere on BBC America on June 5. New episodes debut weekly. (Photo: Meerkats Isreal, Belphagor, Munchkin, Luther | Photo Credit: Caroline Hawkins/BBC America)

Extraordinary Places to Eat: Season 2 (UK)

In Season 2 of this travel-foodie series, French maître d’hôtel and program presenter Fred Sirieix (Step Up to the Plate) discovers more remarkable eating establishments in the world, thanks to his guides, who take him to places where they genuinely love to eat. UK chef Andi Oliver takes Fred to eateries in Marrakesh, Morocco, and British TV chef and cookbook author Rachel Khoo takes him to ones in Vienna, Austria. Extraordinary Places to Eat: Season 2 premieres in the US on Monday, May 31, on BBC Select.

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LOCAL/REGIONAL PREMIERES

Select public TV stations and regional networks will begin airing the programs below on or after May 1. Check you local listings or contact the station that serves your area for air dates and times. To request the shows, contact your public TV station or American Public Television.

The Indian Doctor: Seasons 1-3 (UK/Wales)

This excellent 1960s-set period drama stars Sanjeev Bhaskar (Unforgotten) and Ayesha Dharker (Finding Alice) as Dr. Prem Sharma and his wife, Kamini — a couple from India who relocate to a Welsh coal mining town after he is assigned a post with the UK’s National Health Service. In Trefelin, they quickly become entangled in the lives of the townspeople and embroiled in their dramas, as Kamini tries to figure out the kitchen and how to get out of Trefelin and into London. The Indian Doctor: Seasons 1-3 are confirmed for airing on KLRN, KPBS, KQEH, KTCA, KUED, KWSU, New Hampshire PBS, WDSE, WETA, WGBH, WITF, WOSU, WPSU, WPTO, WSBE, and WXXI.

Midsomer Murders: Season 19 (UK)

DCI John Barnaby (Neil Dudgeon) and his new sidekick, DS Jamie Winter (Nick Hendrix, Marcella), investigate a death among live pet rabbits, murder at a cricket tournament, deadly violence at a music festival, and more, while the Barnaby family welcomes a new addition: Paddy the dog. Midsomer Murders: Season 19 is confirmed for airing on Arkansas PBS, Connecticut Public Television, Idaho Public Television, Iowa PBS, KCPT, KCTS, KERA, KLVX, KNME, KOCE, KPBS, KQEH, KRMA, KSPS, KSYS, KTCA, KTWU, KUED, KUHT, KVPT, Louisiana Public Broadcasting, Maryland Public Television, New Hampshire PBS, NJ PBS (New Jersey), OETA (Oklahoma), Oregon Public Broadcasting, PBS North Carolina, WEDU, WETA, WGBH, WGVU, WLIW, WLVT, WMVS, WPBA, WPBS, WPSU, WPTO, WSBE, WSKG, WSRE, WTVS, WVIZ, WXEL, and WXXI.

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NON-PREMIERE PROGRAMS DEBUTING ON LINEAR TV

Riviera: Season 2 (UK)

Following that explosive finale in Season 1, Season 2 of this thriller finds Georgina (Julia Stiles, Dexter) trying to live with her actions, as secrets from her past force her to explore her turbulent childhood. Following an unavoidable visit to her childhood home, Georgina returns with a refreshed sense of self to re-establish her power and position in the family alongside her charismatic confidant, uncle Jeff (Will Arnett, Arrested Development). Riviera: Season 2 begins airing Saturday, May 8, at 7 PM ET, on Ovation TV.

NON-PREMIERE PROGRAMS BEING ADDED TO STREAMING SERVICES

Acorn TV logo 2019

Titles in this section begin streaming on the dates shown below on Acorn TV and its digital channels, including Acorn TV on Amazon.

VE Day: Minute by Minute (UK)

Marking the 75th anniversary of VE day, this one-hour special narrated by Tony Robinson (Time Team) guides viewers through the events of May 8, 1945 — from the surrender of all German forces, to the untold stories of soldiers tentatively stepping out of prisoner-of-war camps into an era of peace. VE Day: Minute by Minute begins streaming Monday, May 3.

Amber (Ireland)

This four-part drama follows the aftermath and impact of a 14-year-old girl’s disappearance in a Dublin suburb. When Amber Bailey (Lauryn Canny, Normal People) fails to return home one evening, it turns upside down the lives of her family and sets off a two-year search, during which her family, including her separated parents, Sarah (Eva Birthistle, Waking the Dead) and Ben (David Murray, Silent Witness), experience unimaginable guilt, fear, and devastating grief. Amber begins streaming Monday, May 10.

Digging for Britain: Series 5-6 (UK)

In this popular docuseries, biological anthropologist and author Professor Alice Roberts (The Celts) visits archaeological excavations around the UK, linking together the results of digs and investigations of the country’s history. Among the stories explored: the theatre where Shakespeare premiered Romeo and Juliet and Henry V — complete with sound effect props and evidence that Shakespeare’s original audience was much rowdier than you might expect. Digging for Britain: Series 56 begins streaming Monday, May 17.

Like Father Like Son (UK)

Jemma Redgrave (Holby City) stars in this mystery-crime thriller as Dee Stanton, mum of 15-year-old son Jamie (Somerset Prew), fiancée of Dominic (Robson Green, Grantchester) — and ex-wife of serial killer Paul (Phil Davis, Riviera). After Jamie, determined to learn more about his father, meets Paul in prison, Dee must face the unthinkable when Jamie is accused of strangling a fellow pupil at school. Like Father Like Son begins streaming Monday, May 17.

Joanna Lumley in The Land of The Northern Lights (UK)

In this hour-long travelogue, Joanna Lumley (Absolutely Fabulous) travels across the Arctic Circle to Svalbard, Norway — the most northerly, permanently-inhabited place on Earth — to pursue a lifelong dream: to track down and witness the elusive, stunningly beautiful Northern Lights. Joanna Lumley in The Land of The Northern Lights begins streaming Monday, May 24.

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BritBox

Titles in this section begin streaming on the dates shown below on BritBox and its digital channels, including BritBox on Amazon.

The Café: Seasons 1-2 (UK)

I have been waiting for this delightful comedy series to return to the US, so I’m over the moon that it’s finally coming back. It centers on the people and goings-on in and around a seaside café in Weston-super-Mare run by three generations of a family, including broad-minded matriarch Mary (June Watson, William and Mary), her divorced daughter Carol (Ellie Haddington, Foyle’s War), and Carol’s single daughter Sarah (Michelle Terry, Marcella), who’s returned home from London after losing her job and her boyfriend. Costarring Phoebe Waller-Bridge (Fleabag) and Ralf Little (Death in Paradise), The Café: Seasons 1-2 begins streaming Friday, May 7, exclusively on BritBox.

PBS Masterpiece logo

Titles in this section begin streaming on the dates shown below on the PBS Masterpiece Prime Video Channel.

Agatha and the Truth of Murder (UK)

In this TV movie, which kicked off the series of fictional telefilm stories about Agatha Christie, it’s 1926, and the young Agatha (Ruth Bradley, Humans) finds her writing in crisis and her personal life in tatters. During her infamous 11-day disappearance, she investigates the (real-life) murder of Florence Nightingale’s goddaughter. Agatha and the Truth of Murder begins streaming Tuesday, May 11.

Indian Summers: Seasons 1-2 (UK)

Julie Walters (Harry Potter) leads the ensemble cast of this period drama set in 1930s India, when the British Raj was on the decline and a modern India was on the verge of being born. She plays Cynthia Coffin, the widowed and influential doyenne who runs the Royal Club in Simla, aka the “little England” nestled in the foothills of the Himalayas. Her club plays host to members of the British ruling class, whose passion, politics, and power plays make Simla go round. Indian Summers: Seasons 1-2 begins streaming Thursday, May 20.

Sundance Now

Titles in this section begin streaming on the dates shown below on Sundance Now and its digital channels, including Sundance Now on Amazon.

Trickster (Canada)

Recently nominated for 15 Canadian Screen Awards, this supernatural drama, based on the bestselling “Trickster” trilogy of novels by Eden Robinson, tells the story of Jared (Joel Oulette, Parallel Minds), an Indigenous teen struggling to keep his dysfunctional family above water. But when Jared, who works an after-school job and cooks ecstasy on the side to support his separated parents, starts seeing strange things — talking ravens, doppelgängers, skin monsters — his already chaotic life is turned even more upside down. Trickster begins streaming Thursday, May 13.

The Nest (UK/Scotland)

Martin Compston (Line of Duty) and Sophie Rundle (Peaky Blinders) star in this suspenseful drama as Dan and Emily, a wealthy couple who would do anything to have a baby. After a chance encounter with 18-year-old Kaya (Mirren Mack, Sex Education), they recruit the down-on-her-luck young woman to be a surrogate, but then secrets emerge about the girl’s past that could make them regret their deal. The Nest begins streaming Thursday, May 20.

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Did you miss any of the new shows from previous days, weeks, or months? Check out the British TV Viewing Guide and Archives to find out.

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For details about the May 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.

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British TV Premieres in May 2021: Death and Nightingales, Line of Duty, Whitstable Pearl & More