Aside from the known commodities of Sherlock and Downton Abbey, that PBS, the BBC and ITV are hanging their collective ratings hats on in 2013-2014, there is cause for optimism in the comedy/drama output pipeline in the not-too-distant future…
Tamsin Greig (Black Books, Friday Night Dinner, Green Wing, Episodes), Katherine Kelly and Darren Boyd (Whites, Spy, Dirk Gently) are set to star in this 3-part drama produced by Hartswood Films and written by Debbie O’Malley (Law & Order: UK, Silk). Currently in production, the drama is set across two timelines, 2008 and present day, and tells the story of DC Maggie Brand (Greig) who investigates the disappearance of a young child. Given that this will have both ITV and Hartswood Films fingerprints all over this, for me, makes me think it will be one to watch. All you have to do is think Sherlock, Scott & Bailey and DCI Banks and you know where I’m coming from…
The Job Lot
Led by Sarah Hadland (Miranda) and Russell Tovey (Being Human, Him & Her), The Job Lot is set in a busy West Midlands job centre, and focuses on the relationships between the people that work there, the people that don’t work there and anywhere else for that matter. On the ‘have a job’ side, you have a very neurotic Trish (Hadland), who runs the Brownall job centre, reluctant and truculent Karl (Tovey), their overly sour co-worker Angela and plain speaking Danielle, who has just returned to work after giving birth.
On the ‘finding a job’ side, you have Graham (Martin Maudsley) and Bryony (Sophie McShera, who plays Daisy in Downton Abbey). Thankfully, you have fraud officer George, a lone wolf who takes his undercover surveillance work very seriously and two security guards; diminutive Janette and her colleague, cheeky charmer Paul, protecting the staff of the Brownall job centre.
This new medical drama follows the lives of a group of doctors and nurses working in a London hospital. According to the ITV Press Centre, Breathless opens in 1961, a time when Britain was on the brink of the ‘60s revolution – abortion is illegal and the contraceptive pill is only just available to married women. Set in and around a busy gynaecology unit, medicine becomes the perfect stage to play out the shifting and complex moral codes of early 1960s society.
Fairly or unfairly being touted as ITV’s answer to the BBC’s Call the Midwife, the series will sport an all-star cast headed by Jack Davenport (Pirates of the Caribbean, Coupling) with Pippa Haywood (Mr Selfridge, Scott & Bailey), Zoe Boyle (Downton Abbey, Sons of Anarchy), Oliver Chris (One Man Two Guvnors, Green Wing), Catherine Steadman (The Tudors, Salmon Fishing in the Yemen), Sarah Parish (Hatfields & McCoys, Monroe) and Iain Glen (Game of Thrones, Prisoners Wives).