The eight huge BBC dramas hitting screens this winter – from A Very British Scandal to The Tourist

The BBC has lined up eight “genre-busting” new dramas to air in the winter in a bid to draw viewers in for the festive period.

Fan favourites such as The Crown’s Claire Foy, The Fall’s Jamie Dornan and Sherlock’s Martin Freeman have been brought in to host a slew of new shows that will air later in the year.

And BBC drama boss Piers Wenger will, undoubtedly, hope that the new shows will help boost the channel.

It comes after the broadcaster faced intense criticism after persuading people to sign up to pay the license fee.

In August, it was revealed in the corporation’s annual report that a million households had stopped paying the charge over the past two years.

A surge in popularity with streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime has also contributed to the steady decline in viewers – as those watching on-demand shows do not need a TV license.

Now, the broadcaster will be hoping to win back viewers with its winter line-up, with Wenger announcing the news during a press event on Monday.

He said: “These dramas don’t sit comfortably within those genres we feel very familiar with.

“Distinctive British content is at the very heart of what we do. What we feel excited about is pushing against the conventions of genre.

“They may be the way the streaming platforms organise their menus, but that doesn’t mean we have to stick to them.”

The BBC have enjoyed a stellar year producing drama thus far, with Vigil the UK televisions’ most-watched new drama launch in three years.

With that said, here is the lowdown on the eight new shows hitting our screens this winter.

A Very British Scandal

Claire Foy will play Margaret, whose marriage split from the Duke of Argyll was one of the most notorious legal battles of the 1960s.

Writer Sarah Phelps says the festive special three-parter explores the “institutional misogyny” the Duchess suffered.

The drama consists of three hour-long episodes.


The psychological thriller stars The Crown’s Erin Doherty plus Billy Howle from The Serpent and Poldark’s Jack Farthing.

Temp Becky lives with her mother and obsesses about other people’s lives on social media.

When her estranged best friend Chloe is killed, she invents alter egos to investigate.

“It is thrilling, but it’s not a thriller in the typical sense, like Baptiste or The Missing," said BBC's Wenger.

The Girl Before

Created, written and produced by JP Delaney, the limited four-part series The Girl Before is adapted from Delaney’s own best-selling novel of the same title.

The series will tell the story of Jane, who gets the chance to move into a stunning, ultra-minimalist house designed by an enigmatic architect.

However, there’s a catch – occupants have to abide by his list of exacting rules.

Conversations With Friends

Following the huge success of the Normal People, the drama series based on Sally Rooney’s 2018 novel, is a unique series that is both a complex coming of age drama and a very modern love story.

The 12-part series consisting of 30-minute episodes has been helmed by Irish director Lenny Abrahamson, who also directed Normal People.

The Tourist

Jamie Dornan stars as a British man who finds himself in the heart of the Australian outback, being pursued by a tank trunk trying to drive him off the road.

An epic cat and mouse chase unfolds and the man later wakes in hospital, hurt, but somehow alive.

However, he has no idea who he is or why someone wants to kill him.


Adapted by Nicole Lecky from her West End play, this six-part series tells the story of would-be Sasha Clayton who dreams of being a singer and rapper.

But after spending most of her time in her bedroom smoking marijuana and stalking her ex-boyfriend on Instagram.

When she is kicked out of her family home, Sasha is forced to fend for herself by sofa surfing and eventually moves in with a party girl named Carly.

Carly introduces her to a glamorous world of social media influencing and partying, but as the gap between her online presence and real life continues to grow, she finds herself fall into a dark place.

The Responder

Sherlock favourite Martin Freeman is an urgent response officer who is having a breakdown.

The five-part 60-minute drama holds a mirror up to the emotional extremes of life on the front line of British policing – sometimes darkly funny, sometimes painfully tragic, always challenging.

This Is Going To Hurt

James Bond’s very own Ben Whishaw stars as doctor Adam Kay, with Harriet Walker playing his stern mother.

The seven-parter shines a light on the life of a junior doctor, based on Kay’s 2.5 million-selling book of the same name.

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