As I write this post I am listening to a weather warning for sleet and snow for the next few days. The days may be getting longer, but it is still so cold, so I am afraid you will find me curled up on the sofa every evening watching a good box set. Luckily there are so many to choose from. The trouble is navigating some of the streaming channels labyrinthine menus can make finding the right series a real pain. So I am here to help with some best TV suggestions- below are some of my current favourites.
Clarkson’s Farm 2 | Amazon Prime
For me, this is the best of the best. The second season of life on Diddly Squat Farm has my husband and me howling with laughter. Jeremy is quite humbled by Kaleb and his superior knowledge of farming. Of course, let’s not forget Cheerful Charlie, who is a little cheerier in this series, Gerald, for who we still need subtitles and the gorgeous Lisa, who also brings Jeremy down to size when needed.
North Sea Connection |BBC iPlayer
This was a series that I just fell upon. Sinead Cusack stars, and it is good to see her again on our screens. I loved this series up until the last few minutes when all the ends are tied up so fast that blink and you miss them. However, I felt it didn’t really answer everything satisfactorily, so all I can suppose is that there is a second series.
Notwithstanding all of that, it is worth watching – it is full of charm, incompetence, thrills and spills!
The Gold | BBC iPlayer
The Gold stars Hugh Bonneville and Jack Lowden – but is it based on a true story? BBC One’s latest crime drama, The Gold, tells a story so remarkable it’s hard to believe it’s true. But it is. It goes back in time to the 1980s to the “crime of the century”. This was my best TV series of the last month.
Better | BBC iPlayer
Better is a British crime drama television drama series, created and written by Sam Vincent and Jonathan Brackley, about a corrupt cop who attempts to turn her life around, only for it to get much worse. Andrew Buchan plays the Irish drug dealer and Leila Faarzad plays the DI trying to turn her life around. This thriller explores themes of loyalty, family and morality, as well as the power of human conscience. Maybe not as good as The Gold but still worth watching.
THE EMPRESS | NETFLIX
Do you love costume drama, then you are in for a treat. The new German series, The Empress, tells the story of Bavarian princess turned Austrian empress Elisabeth, affectionately known as Sisi, who struggled to adjust to life in the stifling 1800s Habsburg royal court. Sadly the story is heavily fictionalised but still worth watching.
BODIES | NETFLIX
A whistle-blowing despatch from the frontlines of hospital life, Jed Mercurio’s Bodies takes us on a nerve-jangling journey through one junior doctor’s loss of innocence, and his desperate, dangerous attempts to right his – and his colleagues’- wrongs.
‘Bodies’ is a realistic and riveting medical drama set around the gynecological and labor ward staff of a London hospital. It stars Max Beesley, Keith Allen, Patrick Baladi and Neve McIntosh.
Originally shown on BBC this series is getting a second wind on Netflix. If you don’t like blood etc this one may involve a few closed eyes moments! it makes Call the Midwife and walk in the park!
YOU | NETFLIX
This is a creepy thriller that has many of my friends enthralled. Apparently, there are four seasons, so if you like this series, you will be locked in for a while.
What would you do for love? For a brilliant male bookstore manager who crosses paths with an aspiring female writer, this question is put to the test. A charming yet awkward crush becomes something even more sinister when the writer becomes the manager’s obsession. Using social media and the internet, he uses every tool at his disposal to become close to her, even going so far as to remove any obstacle — including people – that stand in his way of getting to her.
THE TWELVE | ITVx
Twelve ordinary Australians are selected for jury duty in a murder trial as traumatising as it is controversial, in which a woman stands accused of killing her teenage niece. Great to see Sam Neill playing the Defence Barrister in this epic drama. We thoroughly enjoyed this series as it shows the flaws of the jury system wrapped around a murder mystery with no dead body!
Fleishman is in Trouble | Disney+
This is a story about middle age and marriage and divorce and getting older and nostalgia and lifelong friendship, and parenting and career and ambition. There’s no category of middle-class, middle-life that it isn’t about. But ultimately, Fleishman is a story about storytelling. I read the book, but I cannot remember how it ended, so I am about to watch the TV miniseries.
Mozart in the Jungle | Amazon Prime
This series is eight years old but I only just found it.
When the flamboyant genius maestro Rodrigo is hired to conduct the New York Symphony, he ends up welcoming the ire of his successor and the love of a young oboist. A comedy-drama documenting the world of professional orchestra musicians. The show has won Golden Globes and Emmys and has proven its success.
Endeavour | ITV
I grew up near Oxford, so I love this series filmed beautifully in this historic town. I am sad that this is the final season. If you love Morse and then Endeavour, then you will enjoy this latest series. It is easy-viewing and a good look back at social history in relation to crime solving. No DNA testing, no blue silicone gloves and no high-speed car chases!
Beyond Paradise | BBC
If you didn’t enjoy Death in Paradise then you won’t enjoy this follow-up series. After leaving the tropical paradise of Saint Marie in search of a quieter life, Humphrey Goodman takes up the position of DI in the sleepy Devon town of Shipton Abbott, the home of his fiancée Martha. However, their dream of living happily ever after together is quickly shattered when a crime wave unexpectedly hits the town. With his formidable investigative experience, Humphrey sets out to crack a range of criminal cases in the hope of restoring the peace and tranquillity of this corner of rural Britain. It stars Kris Marshall and is actually filmed in the beautiful location of Looe, Cornwall.
Unforgotten | ITV
This series has returned and is currently showing weekly episodes on ITV. Sinéad Keenan (Showtrial, Little Blue Boy) has taken over the reins in Unforgotten season 5 as Detective Chief Inspector Jessica James, replacing Nicola Walker’s Cassie Stuart. Walker’s character Cassie, met her end in a shock twist in season 4. Sanjeev Bhaskar continues to star as DI Sunny KhanIt in this series. is a great formula, the investigation of past unsolved cases involving murders and historic disappearances.
Funny Woman | Sky
I came back from an evening of yoga and found my husband watching this series, and I can quite understand why. The very beautiful Gemma Arterton stars in this miniseries. It is based on the book Funny Girl by Nick Hornby, which was first released in 2014. While the book is fictitious and Barbara was never based on a person in real life, her character’s idol is Lucille Ball, who faced similar difficulties establishing herself as a woman in the comedy industry just decades before.
Two unmissable Scandi Dramas | More4
A compelling Swedish drama from Walter Presents. A mysterious disappearance creates an unlikely team: ambitious attorney Emily, and Teddy, a paroled convict. How will the ad hoc duo work together?
GROW delves into the ruthless underworld of drugs and organised crime in Denmark.
When newly graduated stockbroker Adam learns that his dad has died, he runs from his anxiety-ridden every day back to his childhood neighbourhood. Upon his return, Adam finds himself captivated by the thrills of Danish biker life in which his late father’s roots lay. It does not take long before Adam’s integration into the grey norms of everyday society is compromised as he finds passion in a new purpose. Adam’s long structural life is mixed with personal ambitions, in desperation for power and fast recognition in the Danish drug market, where his cousin Simon has already set roots. Together they face obstacles on their journey to form a new drug cartel including immigration gangs, bikers, police, politicians – and finally Adam’s own brother, Jakob, who is a recent recruit of the police anti-drug division. It is up to Adam and Simon to remove all obstacles in their persecution to become Denmark’s biggest kingpins.
INSPECTOR RICCIARDI | MORE4
I love a series that is set somewhere beautiful and Inspector Ricciardi is set in Naples in 1932. Ricciardi can hear the final words of the victims of violent deaths. Although it has helped him become one of the most successful police detectives, this gift is a double-edged sword.
This series is light-hearted and won’t have you hiding behind the sofa like many crime dramas.
FAKING HITLER | MORE4
In 1983, Germany’s Stern magazine and The Sunday Times paid millions for fake Hitler diaries; they said it gave insights into his deepest and private thoughts. However, they turned out to be fake and triggered one of the countries’ biggest media scandals or, as we now call it, ‘fake news.’
The six-part series follows the two main players: Gerd Heidemann (Lars Eidinger), an unlikeable journalist in search of his next great scoop; and Konrad Kujau (Moritz Bleibtreu), a small-time forger who finds himself on a runaway train after Heidemann gets wind of the fake diaries he is trying to flog to a Nazi memorabilia collector. It is a fun retelling of this true story.