I am starting off gently with four period dramas. I don’t know about you but I get a bit fed up with all the thrillers on TV and I occasionally need a genre change. I have to add here that I have become a big fan of Britbox as there are some really good box sets and documentaries available. You can get it through Amazon Prime or as an app on your Smart TV but there is a £5.99 per month subscription fee. I signed up and seem to have got one month free so plenty of time to decide if I want to continue.
HOTEL PORTOFINO | BRITBOX
So the BritBox exclusive Hotel Portofino is perfect as it is filled with grace and glamour as it whisks you to the Italian Riviera of the roaring 20s.
Hotel Portofino is an original six-hour series based on the Italian Riviera during the 1920s and set against the historical backdrop of the rise of fascism in Mussolini’s Italy.
This 20s drama blends the humorous elements of a British family living and working abroad with darker themes and storylines, as it weaves the growth of far-right sympathies and a classic whodunit mystery throughout the series.
The breathtaking Italian backdrop is also the perfect setting for the show to embrace a cocktail of subplots and themes of sexual and social liberation.
It stars Natasha McElhone as the hotel owner and Anna Chancellor plays the imperious English Lady Latchmere.
THE GILDED AGE | SKY ATLANTIC
Who else is enjoying this period drama from the pen of Julian Fellowes. One episode a week is hard to deal with when we are so used to boxsets that are available instantly.
It took me a while to cope with Cynthia Nixon as a simpering maiden aunt however, she is perfectly cast. Christine Baraniski (The Good Wife & Mamma Mia!) is brilliant as her authoritarian elder sister.
During this era, America became more prosperous and saw unprecedented growth in industry and technology. But the Gilded Age had a more sinister side: It was a period where greedy, corrupt industrialists, bankers and politicians enjoyed extraordinary wealth and opulence at the expense of the working class.
The Gilded Age begins in 1882 with young Marian Brook moving from rural Pennsylvania to New York City after the death of her father to live with her thoroughly old-money aunts, Agnes van Rhijn and Ada Brook.
It’s an American version of Downton Abbey.
SANDITON SEASON 2 | BRITBOX
After fans were left hanging in suspense by the first season’s finale, the drama will continue to follow the high-spirited and independent heroine Charlotte Heywood, as she returns to the picturesque coastal resort of Sanditon. Streaming from 21st March.
BRIDGERTON SERIES 2 | NETFLIX
There’s plenty more intel about the Bridgerton family to be mined from Julia Quinn’s series of romance novels on which the show is based. At the core of the book series are eight novels, each focusing on one of the Bridgerton offspring who, by the way, were very helpfully named in alphabetical order, from A to H. Do you remember season 1, ‘The Duke and I’, starring Regé-Jean Page as the Duke which got us all a little over-excited with his astounding good looks – we were in lockdown so can be forgiven for this.
This season tells the story of the second book, ‘The Viscount who loved me’, and focuses on the eldest son Anthony on his own quest for love.
Bridgerton season 2 will premiere on March 25th.
CHAPERONE | AMAZON PRIME
This film was written by Julian Fellowes and is the true story of Louise Brooks, a dancer, actress and more in the swinging 20’s of New York. The story centres on Norma Carlisle, a middle aged woman who chaperones the teenage Louise Brooks, who ventures to New York City to study dance at the Denishawn school.
SECRETS OF THE SPIES | BRITBOX
This compelling documentary will take viewers deep into the rarified world of British spies. From Cold War defections and covert assassinations to sophisticated cyber attacks, it will investigate recent cases and current methods while exploring the history of espionage.
Streaming from 10th March
MURDER IN PROVENCE | BRITBOX
Adapted from M.L Longworth’s novels, Murder in Provence is a sumptuous mystery series featuring chief magistrate Antoine Verlaque and his romantic partner, criminal psychology professor Marine Bonnet, solving a series of mysterious murders amongst the upper classes. Streaming from 1st March.
SEASIDE HOTEL | CHANNEL4/MORE4 or AMAZON PRIME
Richly-detailed Danish drama from Walter Presents set in the years 1928 to 1933. It has been running on TV 2 since 2013. The story-line takes places at a seaside hotel at Skagerrak 10 kilometres south of Skagen and follows the guests and employees at the hotel. The plot-line starts in mid-1928. Seasons 1 through 5 each follow a summer hotel season in the years 1928 though 1932. Season 6 through 8 each follow a summer season in the years 1939 through 1941. Season 9 is scheduled to be aired in 2022 depicting the summer of 1945.
From 2016 through 2020 the series was the most watched fiction television series on Danish television.
THE PROMISE | BBC
Back to the thrillers.
French crime drama. During the raging storms of 1999, in the heart of the French Landes region, 11-year-old Charlotte Meyer vanishes without a trace. Grappling with the ghosts of the past, twenty years after detective Pierre Castaing failed to find Charlotte, his daughter takes up the case. French noir from the creators of Spiral.
Click HERE to view a short trailer.
KILLING EVE SEASON 4 | BBC
The fourth and final season of Killing Eve is back on our screens and the fans cannot wait. The classic cat-and-mouse game between Eve (Sandra Oh) and Villanelle (Jodie Comer) will only level up in its final episodes, if its tense previous series are anything to go by.
OUR HOUSE | ITV
Martin Compston stars in ITV’s thrilling new four-part drama based on the Louise Candlish novel.
When Fiona Lawson, played by Tuppence Middleton, arrives home, the last thing she’s expecting to see is another family moving into her house. Obviously, she thinks it’s just one big mistake. After all, her house has never been up for sale. So why is the furniture nowhere to be seen? And why can’t she get hold of her estranged husband, Bram, played by Martin Compston?
When the penny drops that her husband has disappeared and left her to pick up the pieces, Fi realises the secrets and lies have only just begun.
Airing over four nights from 7th March 9pm.
No trailer available at moment.
THE IPCRESS FILE | ITV
Set in the 1960s amid the highly charged atmosphere of the Cold War, this major new adaptation of Len Deighton’s bestseller features a stellar cast, rich characterisation and a rollercoaster of twists and turns
Harry Palmer – played by Peaky Blinders’ Joe Cole – is a British army sergeant on the make in Berlin. Wholesaler, retailer, fixer, smuggler, Harry’s varied interests bring him into contact with everything and everyone – until the law catches up and it all comes crashing to a halt. To avoid prison, Harry Palmer becomes a spy, and the case he cuts his teeth on is The Ipcress File.
HOLDING | ITV
Holding is a new TV adaptation from ITV, based on Graham Norton’s debut novel. The story follows Sergeant PJ Collins, a gentle mountain of a man, who hides from people and fills his days with comfort food and half-hearted police work.
Speaking about the series, Graham Norton said: “I am beyond excited to see the story and characters I created being brought to the screen. I love how the brilliant creative team have transformed my novel into something so rich and dramatic. West Cork is ready for its close-up!”
PIECES OF HER | NETFLIX
In a restaurant in Georgia, Andy’s chatting with her apparently conventional mother Laura (Toni Collette) when a sudden act of violence erupts nearby. Laura springs out of her chair and takes the assailant down, making her into a viral sensation. Dangerous forces close in and Andy discovers more about Laura’s past. Did she really know her mother at all?
BAD VEGAN | NETFLIX
Swindlers and con artists seem to be the latest trend in Netflix’s true-crime roster, ranging from the feature-length doc The Tinder Swindler to the nine-part Anna Delvey series Inventing Anna. The newest addition, Bad Vegan, focuses on the former Manhattan restauranteur Sarma Melngailis, who owned one of the most popular raw-vegan restaurants in New York – attracting the likes of Anne Hathaway and Stevie Wonder.
Melngailis was accused of stealing $2 million from the business for the benefit of Anthony Strangis, a man she had met on Twitter. The strangest part of the story? Allegedly, she believed Strangis had the power to make her dog, Leon, immortal.
More great viewing (and reading) can be found here