Check out the best new TV dramas hitting the small screen this Autumn
Will you be tuning in to the BBC1’s star-studded take on a big name book on Sunday evening or opting for Channel 4’s historical spring saga with Julie Walters at the helm?
Each channel is certainly doing all it can to win the lucrative battle for the 9pm slot. The BBC snapped up the television rights to JK Rowling’s The Casual Vacancy almost as quickly as the book flew off the shelves. While Indian Summers is Channel 4’s most expensive drama series ever – apparently costing around £14m to cast, film and produce in Malaysia.
Which one will everyone be talking about on Monday? Get the lowdown and watch the trailers before you decide what’s worth watching…
Julie Walters transports us to the last days of colonial rule in India in this epic drama which has been dubbed the ‘Indian Downton Abbey’. It’s 1932 and the British Empire is in decline.
The continent dreams of independence, but the Raj isn’t ready to loosen its grip as the British highflyers meet in Simla – ‘little England’ – for their annual summer jaunt.
Glamorous Cynthia Coffin (Walters) runs Simla’s British Club. She loves to gossip almost as much as she loves to party. Handsome Ralph, played by Henry Lloyd-Hughes, is the charming Private Secretary to the Viceroy of India and Cynthia’s confidante.
His sister, Alice (Jemima West) has recently returned to the continent with her young son after the death of her husband. She finds herself falling for Aafrin Dalal (Nikesh Patel), a civil servant who is being used as a pawn in the fight against the Independence movement.
A tale of power, greed and justice, critics are already saying the 10-part drama is a complex and colourful portrait of the birth of modern India.
The Casual Vacancy was JK Rowling’s first foray in to adult fiction, and is about as far removed from Harry Potter and Hogwarts as you can get.
The book received mixed reviews but BBC1 snapped up the television rights immediately, and began filming the 3-part adaptation last year in Gloucestershire.
The death of a beloved councillor brings out the worst in the residents of the small community of idyllic fictional English town, Pagford in the West Country.
His vacant seat becomes the focus of a town battle and the local council estate, of which Councillor Barrie was a firm friend, is the battle ground. Split in to two camps, those running for election receive an unwelcome shock when intimate details of their personal lives are leaked on the town forum.
While the candidates are locked in a bitter feud, Krystal Weedon – a teenager who lives on the estate – continues her own battle for survival…
While BBC haven’t matched Channel 4’s blockbuster budget, they do have an all-star cast.
Michael Gambon takes on the role of Howard Mollinson, the unforgiving council chairman who wants nothing to do with the estate, while Rory Kinnear is short-lived as Councillor Barrie. Emilia Fox, Keeley Hawes and Julia McKenzie also star.
Previews are hard to come by, but we do know that screenwriter Sarah Phelps has moved away from Rowling’s ending.
‘What works in a novel, doesn’t necessarily work on screen’, she said in a recent interview defending her decision for a more positive conclusion.
‘Nobody wants a finger wagged in their face, and I learned on EastEnders that if you just go grim, grim, grim’, viewers will simply disengage. If you’ve invested three hours of your leisure time to watch a show and get involved, there’s got to be reward.’
BBC1’s Indian Summers and Channel 4’s The Casual Vacancy start at 9pm this Sunday.