With the Christmas break finally arriving, now is the perfect time to catch up on some of the shows you might have missed in 2018.
Channel 4 & All4
A coming-of-age sitcom written by Lisa McGee, Derry Girls aired back in January on Channel 4.
An RTS award-winning sitcom, Derry Girls is set in Northern Ireland during the 1990s and follows the school antics of protagonist Erin (Saoirse-Monica Jackson) and her school friends Orla (Louisa Harland), Clare (Nicola Coughlan) and Michelle (Jamie-Lee O'Donnell).
The comedy opens during the new school term at Our Lady Immaculate College, where Michelle’s cousin James (Dylan Llewellyn) comes under scrutiny from the gang for being English.
Under the watchful eye of Sister Michael (Siobhan McSweeney), the school friends get up to all sorts of teenage mischief, from faking an apparition to get out of a history exam to cleaning a takeaway shop with mayonnaise.
The girls’ mischief is interspersed by the realities of growing up in Derry during the Troubles, culminating in a poignant season finale.
The first series of Derry Girls is available to watch on 4oD.
ITV & NowTV
Historical drama starring Jenna Coleman (The Cry) as Queen Victoria, this period drama centres on the iconic monarch.
Victoria returns for a third series in early 2019 so now is a good time to catch up.
The second series closed with a growing rift between Queen Victoria and her husband Prince Albert (Tom Hughes).
Not helped by Albert forcing Victoria to fire her devoted companion Baroness Lehzen (Daniela Holtz), after their daughter Victoria, the Princess Royal, fell seriously ill due to a misdiagnosis in Lehzen’s care.
The third series opens in 1848 and sees the famous monarch face increasing pressure from the government to flee London out of fear of civil unrest.
With the whole of Europe feeling the effects of mass revolution, Victoria and Albert’s relationship is pushed to breaking point.
Watch Victoria series one and two on NowTV.
Sky & NowTV
Written and created by the show’s star Lennie James (The Walking Dead), Save Me is a harrowing thriller that follows father Nelson “Nelly” Rowe (James) and his search to find his estranged daughter Jody (Indeyarna Donaldson-Holness) who has gone missing.
Initially a suspect in Jody’s disappearance, Nelly discovers that Jody was trying to get into contact with him, but was targeted by an unknown predator assuming Nelly’s identity.
Nelly soon takes matters into his own hands with Jody’s mother, Claire McGory (Suranne Jones).
Nelly grows increasingly desperate and calls on the help of one of his closest friends, Melon (Stephen Graham), whose dark past comes to light causing a rift between the pair.
Save Me, which first aired in February, is available to watch on Sky and NowTV.
The Haunting of Hill House
Horror lovers can spend Christmas watching the spooktacular Netflix series The Haunting of Hill House.
Terrifying enough to scare the celebs on Celebrity Gogglebox back in October, this scary series is an adaptation of the novel of the same name written by Shirley Jackson.
The Haunting of Hill House follows a gathering of the Crain siblings Steven (Michiel Huisman), Shirley (Elizabeth Reaser), Theo (Kate Siegel), Luke (Oliver Jackson-Cohen) and Nell (Victoria Pedretti) who return to their family home following a tragedy.
Unlike most family homes, the Crains grew up at Hill House, a haunted mansion with an evil reputation that their parents Olivia (Carla Gugino) and Hugh Crain (Henry Thomas) did not know of when they moved in many years ago.
Struggling with their childhood traumas, the Crain siblings discover the horrific truth behind the ghosts haunting the mansion, and even uncover the identity of the mysterious Bent-Neck Lady.
You can watch the full series of The Haunting of Hill House on Netflix.
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
Comedy drama The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel returned to Amazon Prime for a second series in December.
Created by Gilmore Girls writer Amy Sherman-Palladino, the show centres on stand-up comic Miriam "Midge" Maisel (Rachel Brosnahan) in 1950s New York.
Recently separated from her husband, former housewife Midge explores her talent for comedy in a business that’s stacked against her.
She uses the pain from her life experiences, including her husband’s affair, to make others laugh.
You can watch the first two series of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel on Amazon Prime.
Michael Palin in North Korea
Channel 5 & My5
Earlier this year, Monty Python star Michael Palin paid a visit to North Korea, exploring the lifestyle and culture in one of the world’s most secretive countries.
Beginning his journey in Pyongyang, Palin learns straightaway of the many contrasts between North Korea and western countries, with zero advertising, empty roads, a sparsity of people using mobile phones, no internet, satellite dishes or even aerials.
Palin’s visit also coincides with the making of history, as North Korean leader King Jong-Un meets with South Korean president Moon Jae-In.
After leaving Pyongyang, Palin travels to locations rarely explored by westerners, including the Joint Security Area located on the border with South Korea.
Under the protection of armed security guards, Palin is not shy to share a tense exchange with officers about the nuclear weapons programme and the Korean War.
Palin attempts to see beyond the facade presented to him by his minders, and capture the reality of what life is actually like for the millions of people who live in the reclusive nation.
Both episodes of Michael Palin in North Korea are available to watch on My5 and if you can’t get enough of Palin’s adventure, a two-hour special of the documentary series airs on Thursday 27th December on Channel 5 at 9.00pm.
A Very English Scandal
BBC One & BBC iPlayer
Written by Russell T Davies (Doctor Who) and directed by RTS award-winning Stephen Frears, A Very English Scandal is based on John Preston’s true crime non-fiction book of the same name.
The BBC drama tells the true story behind the trial of Jeremy Thorpe (Hugh Grant), Britain’s first politician to be put on trial for conspiracy to murder.
Set in the late 1960s, when homosexuality had only recently been decriminalised, Thorpe fears his career will suffer if his secret affair with former lover Norman Scott (Ben Whishaw) is made public.
As leader of the Liberal party, and husband to Caroline Allpass (Alice Orr-Ewing), Thorpe grows desperate, and hatches a scheme with Andrew “Gino” Newton (Blake Harrison) to permanently silence Scott before the truth gets out.
All three episodes of A Very English Scandal are available to watch on BBC iPlayer.
Sky & NowTV
Based on the series of novels by Edward St Aubyn, Patrick Melrose chronicles key periods in Melrose’s life from his horrific childhood to his substance abuse as an adult.
Benedict Cumberbatch stars as the wise-cracking protagonist, who uses drugs to escape from his traumatic past.
Battling his inner demons Melrose attempts to turn his life around, starting a family with his wife Mary Melrose (Anna Madeley). But how long until the trauma of his past catches up with him?
The five-part drama aired in May and you can watch the full series on Sky and on NowTV.
To find out more about the show’s star-studded cast, read our Who’s who guide for Patrick Melrose.
Channel 4 & All4
A mix of dark comedy and police procedural, No Offence returned for a third series in 2018.
The show follows Detective Inspector Viv Deering (Joanna Scanlan) and her team at the Friday Street police station in Manchester.
Together the crack team hit the streets to tackle all kinds of criminal activity.
In the third series the team foil an assassination attempt on Caroline McCoy (Lisa McGrillis) at a mayoral hustings, but lose one of their colleagues in the process.
Grief-stricken, the team pursues far-right extremist Joseph Becket (Darren Connolly), to bring him to justice and avenge their colleague.
Catch up on all three seasons of No Offence on All4.
BBC One & BBC iPlayer
Accompanied by her companions Yaz (Mandip Gill), Graham (Bradley Walsh) and Ryan (Tosin Cole) The Doctor (Jodie Whittaker) continues her travels across space and time encountering bizarre aliens and helping to save the universe from collapse in the process.
In the latest series The Doctor travels to Montgomery, Alabama in 1955 to protect the legacy of civil rights activist Rosa Parks, and jets off to the stars encountering the insatiable Pting and investigating the mysterious warehouse for the intergalactic futuristic retailer, Kerblam.
The Doctor is back for a festive special on New Year’s Day at 7.00pm on BBC One.