Corsets, class and scandal – all the makings for a fantastic television series. For nearly six years now, audiences worldwide have been charmed by the characters and universal appeal of a particular well-loved show. For those of you out there, like me, who are devastated at the prospect of the Finale of ITV’s Downton Abbey due to be broadcast next week on Christmas Day, do not fear! In an attempt to console our breaking hearts, Impact Film and TV have taken a look ahead at televisions 2016’s period offerings:
Mr Selfridge: Series Four, ITV
Hankies out once more because it’s also time to say goodbye to the story of retail magnate Harry Gordon Selfridge. With the fourth and final series to air in January 2016, Selfridge, played by Entourage’s Jeremy Piven, is set to lose everything, as his life reportedly spirals out of control. With its seductive combination of scandal and shopping, Mr Selfridge looks set to bow out with a bang.
Poldark: Series Two, BBC1
Thousands across the country swooned over Adrian Turner’s portrayal of Cornish squire Ross Poldark. This Series One of a Seventies remake saw the BBC gain their biggest share of Sunday night audiences in over a decade. Series Two is set to be just as big a hit, with the promise of more shirtless scenes, and a heart-breaking choice for Poldark, as he struggles with his love for his wife, Demelza (Eleanor Tomlinson), and his feelings for his ex-fiancée.
Beowulf: Return to the Shieldlands, ITV
For the English students out there, the story of Beowulf may be familiar to you. This old English epic is full of mythical monsters, intense fight scenes and the inevitable battle between good and evil. Starring William Hurt, former Downton Abbey actor Ed Speelers and Kieran Bew as Beowulf himself, this series looks to be an action-packed hit for ITV; a rugged change in direction from the refinement of Downton.
The Get Down, Netflix
Not your typical period drama, The Get Down follows a group of teenagers in 1970’s New York City, and shows how modern music, such as disco and hip-hop, came to be. Created by Baz Luhrmann, famed director of Romeo and Juliet, Moulin Rouge and The Great Gatsby, alongside Shawn Ryan, the programme is billed as a ‘musical drama’ . Expect something a little different to the grand houses here!
Dark Angel, ITV
From maid to murderess, the life of Victorian serial killer Mary Ann Cotton is set to be the next focus in ITV’s two-part drama, featuring Downton’s Joanne Froggatt in the title role. Notorious as Britain’s first serial killer, Cotton poisoned at least 11 of her 13 children, three of her four husbands, in addition to a number of her stepchildren and other adults, leaving a trail of destruction in her wake. Directed by the award-winning Brian Percival, this is one dark tale for crime thriller fans too.
Starring ladies’ favourite Max Irons (son of Jeremy) as the young explorer Howard Carter, and Jurassic Park legend Sam Neill as the eccentric Lord Carnarvon, ITV does it again with another exciting period drama. After overcoming intense hardship, the story follows Carter’s 1922 discovery of boy-king Tutankhamun’s tomb in this enticing four-part series. This will be one for the history buffs.
Doctor Thorne, ITV
Yet another nod to Downton Abbey comes in the form of this adaptation of Anthony Trollope’s literary classic, as the screenplay is penned here by Downton creator Julian Fellowes. Featuring Tom Hollander as the title character, the tale tells the story of Thorne, his beautiful niece, and their relations with the other villagers – particularly those living in the grand Greshambury Park. Literature lovers on standby!
War and Peace, BBC1
Another one for the lit-lovers, as Leo Tolstoy’s epic tome heads for the small-screen in early 2016. The Telegraph have already declared this adaptation to be setting a new standard for British costume drama, and the series is eagerly awaited. With Lily James of Cinderella and yes, Downton Abbey fame playing Natasha Rostov, Paul Dano as Pierre Bezukhov, and Grantchester’s James Norton as the dashing Prince Andrei, this BBC six-parter is the hottest programme of the New Year. It looks sure to fill the gap left by Britain’s favourite costume drama – if only for a few weeks.
Images sourced from Downton Abbey season 2, ITV studios, Poldark season 1, BBC One, The Get Down, Netflix, War and Peace, BBC One