TV preview: Which shows should you look out for 2019?
Plenty of beloved characters will return to the small screen next year.
From Idris Elba’s troubled Luther to Kristen Bell’s determined Veronica Mars, there will be familiar faces returning to television in 2019, as well as some new dramas to talk about.
Meanwhile, Game Of Thrones will come to an epic conclusion with a shorter series made up of movie-length episodes.
Get your coat – Luther’s back. Yes, one of the small screen’s most revered and troubled investigators, Detective Chief Inspector John Luther, returns.
He is played by Idris Elba and is back for a fifth series.
Fans of the dark psychological BBC One drama have waited since the end of 2015 for savvy DCI Luther and his even savvier coat to make a comeback.
The new series will feature Ruth Wilson making a surprise return as Alice Morgan following her apparent death, while Cold Feet star Hermione Norris will join the show as psychiatrist Dr Vivien Lake.
There will be four new episodes to sink your teeth into from creator and writer Neil Cross.
– Game Of Thrones
The end is nigh – elaborate TV juggernaut Game Of Thrones will finally come to its epic conclusion in April 2019, much to the dismay of its millions of devotees around the world as they wave goodbye to Westeros.
The multi-award-winning fantasy drama from HBO, an adaptation of the novels of George RR Martin, has dominated much of the TV landscape since it first aired in 2011.
It has become a super-brand of its own and has made stars of many of its cast members, including Kit Harington, Emilia Clarke, Maisie Williams and Lena Headey, to name a few.
They’ll all reprise their popular roles for a six-episode final outing when the main players fight for survival one last time.
UK fans can catch the final showdown on Sky Atlantic and NOW TV.
– Carnival Row
Orlando Bloom is the latest Hollywood star to follow the well-trodden path of acting heavyweights from the cinema to TV screens.
The Lord Of The Rings and Pirates Of The Caribbean star will star in Amazon Prime Video’s fantasy noir series Carnival Row alongside supermodel-turned-actress Cara Delevingne.
The big budget series, set in a neo-Victorian city where mythical creatures fleeing their war-torn homeland have gathered, sees tensions simmer between citizens and the growing immigrant population.
Bloom will play police officer Rycroft Philostrate, who is investigating the murder of a showgirl, while Delevingne will tackle the role of Vignette Stonemoss, a faerish refugee who must face both human prejudice and her own traumatic secrets.
The air date has not yet been revealed but it is due in 2019.
– Good Omens
Amazon Prime Video has been throwing everything at its forthcoming new TV efforts in a bid to seriously compete against Netflix.
It is at it again with the hotly anticipated and star-studded Good Omens.
The cast of the comedy TV adaptation, based on the 1990 novel by Neil Gaiman and Sir Terry Pratchett, includes Michael Sheen, David Tennant, Jon Hamm, Miranda Richardson, Jack Whitehall, Mark Gatiss, Daniel Mays, Nick Offerman, Frances McDormand and Sir Derek Jacobi, to name a few.
It follows Sheen as angel Aziraphale and Tennant as demon Crowley, neither of whom are very enthusiastic about the end of the world, while Hamm portrays Archangel Gabriel, the leader of the forces of Heaven.
A joint effort between Amazon and the BBC, the six-part series will air on Amazon Prime Video and then on BBC Two at a later date.
– The Crown
It’s all change for Netflix’s lavish and expensive drama The Crown.
The first two series starred Claire Foy as Queen Elizabeth and Matt Smith as the Duke of Edinburgh as the royal drama followed the Queen’s early years on the throne.
But the cast will now undergo an update as time moves on.
Broadchurch star Olivia Colman will play the Queen, while Helena Bonham Carter will take over the role of Princess Margaret from Vanessa Kirby. Tobias Menzies will take over as Prince Philip.
Other newcomers include Jason Watkins as Prime Minister Harold Wilson and Josh O’Connor as Prince Charles.
The third series of Peter Morgan’s big-budget royal tale is set in the 1970s. An exact broadcast date has yet to be revealed.
– The Greatest Dancer
Cheryl is back in a Saturday night prime-time TV setting on BBC One’s new talent show, The Greatest Dancer.
The former Girls Aloud star and X Factor judge is in the midst of her musical comeback.
So far reviews are mixed at best so she’ll no doubt be hoping for a full return to her glory days with this new small-screen stint, which will do pretty much what it says on the tin – find the greatest dancer in all the land.
Cheryl will assume the role of a dance captain along with Glee star Matthew Morrison and Strictly Come Dancing pro Oti Mabuse as they whittle down a host of talented dancers from the worlds of ballet and jazz, to hip-hop and Bollywood.
The series is hosted by former Strictly winner and judge Alesha Dixon and Diversity dancer Jordan Banjo for that extra dose of star quality.
– Top Gear
Out with the old and in with the new – and quite speedily – it seems is the ethos over at the world’s best-loved motoring programme.
Top Gear fans will be able to watch Matt LeBlanc’s fourth and final series as host in early 2019, as well as another all-new series towards the end of the year with newcomers Freddie Flintoff and Paddy McGuinness at the wheel.
LeBlanc has hosted the show since 2016 but earlier this year announced he was leaving because of the demands of the role, so hopefully the former cricketer and the Take Me Out host will have what it takes to drive this show safely into another new era, along with existing presenter Chris Harris.
There will undoubtedly be the comparisons with Top Gear’s most beloved trio of Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May but there will also likely be a push from the new threesome and producers to give the show a new identity.
– Celebrity Bake Off
There are more stars than you can wave a wooden spoon at in the forthcoming celebrity version of the Great British Bake Off.
From former Newsnight host Jeremy Paxman, comedian Russell Brand and Hollywood veteran John Lithgow to beloved British small-screen stars Michelle Keegan, Georgia “Toff” Toffolo and Rylan Clark-Neal, there’s a good chance the charity mini-series will be even more popular than the main version.
A total of 20 famous faces will grace the tent for Channel 4’s specials for Stand Up To Cancer.
Even though judge Prue Leith has said the overall standard of baking is quite poor, TV fans will lap this up quicker than a plate of Jaffa Cakes and scones.
Leith and Paul Hollywood return as judges, while Noel Fielding and Sandi Toksvig are back as presenters.
– Line Of Duty
Following Jed Mercurio’s record-breaking, nerve-wracking thriller Bodyguard in 2018, fans will be relieved to know his other remarkably popular series, Line Of Duty, is finally returning.
The police procedural is back for its fifth series after a two-year gap and will see the AC-12 anti-corruption squad tackling a new case nearly two years on from the last instalment.
Series regulars Vicky McClure, Martin Compston and Adrian Dunbar will all return and will be joined by newcomers Stephen Graham and Rochenda Sandall.
Graham and Sandall portray John Corbett and Lisa McQueen, two pivotal figures in a deadly organised crime group who are known to have links to corrupt police officers and who become persons of interest after an explosive chain of events.
Line Of Duty is expected to air on BBC One in early 2019.
– Veronica Mars
We’re living in the era of the revival and one of the most popular teen noir mystery dramas of the mid-noughties is among the many that are being given a new lease of life – Veronica Mars.
The series centred on a high school pupil who works cases with her private investigator father.
Fans were devastated when it was cancelled in 2007 after a three-series run.
Earlier this year, lead star Kristen Bell – who also featured in a 2014 film version of the show after a crowdfunding campaign – confirmed she is back on board.
She will reprise her role as the investigator on streaming service Hulu, with the new episodes taking on a darker, more cinematic tone.