2020 vision: Great TV to savour in year ahead

The TV year ahead is gearing up to be a fine one, with a host of unmissable shows. From Winter Love Island to the slightly more conservative period drama, Belgravia, we round up the best of what’s to come in 2020.
2020 vision: Great TV to savour in year ahead
Still from Sex Education. Pictured: PA Photo/Netflix/Sam Taylor

The TV year ahead is gearing up to be a fine one, with a host of unmissable shows. From Winter Love Island to the slightly more conservative period drama, Belgravia, we round up the best of what’s to come in 2020.

Love Island

The first half of the TV viewing year kicks off with the first of two series of Love Island. Dubbed ‘Winter’ Love Island, ITV has said it will air in early 2020 from a villa in South Africa. The series will be hosted by Caroline Flack.

In the summer the series returns as the search for love begins again from a destination in Europe.


The six-part ITV series will be one of 2020’s big period dramas. From Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes, it is described as being set in the “upper echelon of London society in the 19th century”. It stars Tamsin Greig, Alice Eve, Philip Glenister, Dame Harriet Walter and more.

Normal People

Based on the best-selling novel penned by Sally Rooney, the 12-part BBC series will star Cold Feet actress Daisy Edgar-Jones and newcomer Paul Mescal. The series is described as “an exquisite and compulsive modern love story about how two people can profoundly impact each other’s lives”.

Deadwater Fell

David Tennant will star opposite actress Cush Jumbo in the Channel 4 series, as a local GP. The four-part series is described as a psychological story of suspicion, set in a small fictional Scottish town, which is rocked by the murder of a family. It has been penned by Grantchester writer Daisy Coulam and filmed on location in Scotland.


Keeley Hawes takes on the role of a real-life Detective Chief Inspector — Caroline Goode — and follows her relentless search for the truth surrounding the murder of Banaz Mahmod. The 20-year-old disappeared in 2006 and her body was found three months later, buried in a suitcase in a garden in Birmingham. The two-part drama has been written by Gwyneth Hughes, whose credits include Vanity Fair.

The Luminaries

The BBC series stars Eva Green in the adaptation of Eleanor Catton’s prize-winning novel, which won the Booker prize in 2013. It is a love story set in the New Zealand gold rush. Bono’s daughter Eve Hewson plays the main character Anna Wetherell, with Green in the other lead, as Lydia Wells. The story centres on Hewson’s character travelling to New Zealand from Britain, and is mapped on the movements of the zodiac.

Doctor Who

Jodie Whittaker is back in her role as the ground-breaking female Time Lord when the BBC favourite returns for its 12th series in 2020. The series will also see Robert Glenister return after appearing in the show more than three decades ago. Other guest stars for the series include Sir Lenny Henry and Stephen Fry. Whittaker returns as the Thirteenth Doctor alongside co-stars Tosin Cole, Mandip Gill and Bradley Walsh.

The Young Offenders

The BBC recently announced that the Cork-set comedy will be returning for a third series, although an exact release date has yet to be confirmed. It will be back “in the new year” which suggests that it could be early on in 2020.

After Life

Ricky Gervais’ dark comedy returns for a second instalment on Netflix with a six-episode run.

The first series introduced viewers to journalist Tony Johnson, played by Gervais, who is trying to make sense of his life following the death of his wife.

After contemplating taking his own life, he decides instead to live long enough to punish the world by saying and doing whatever he likes.

Sex Education

The Netflix show about socially awkward high school student Otis (Asa Butterfield) and his sex therapist mum Jean (Gillian Anderson) is returning with eight new episodes in 2020.


Based on the Julia Quinn novels, the series marks Shonda Rhimes’ first collaboration with Netflix.

Described as being set in the “sexy, lavish and competitive world of Regency London high society”, it will follow the trials and tribulations of the Bridgerton family.

The cast boasts the voice of Dame Julie Andrews, as well as Phoebe Dynevor, Jonathan Bailey and Vanity Fair star Claudia Jessie.

Drag Race UK

After crowning its first winner last month, the colourful BBC Three series is back for more drama, fashion and runway magic.

The show’s creator and presenter, RuPaul Charles welcomed “another season of love, laughter and light!”

The first UK series featured judges RuPaul and Michelle Visage as judges, with Graham Norton and Alan Carr starring as rotating judges. Celebrity guests included Maisie Williams, Geri Horner and Stacey Dooley.

The Trial of Christine Keeler

Sophie Cookson, James Norton and Emilia Fox star in the BBC One drama about the Profumo affair.

The six-part series, titled The Trial Of Christine Keeler, will feature Cookson as the model at the centre of one of the UK’s biggest scandals of the 20th century.

Her affair with Tory cabinet minister John Profumo and a Russian diplomat at the same time, when the Cold War was at its height, dominated headlines in the 1960s and nearly destroyed Harold Macmillan’s government. The series has been written by novelist Amanda Coe and directed by Andrea Harkin.

Star Trek: Picard

The much-anticipated series sees Sir Patrick Stewart reprising one of his most famous roles, when he returns as Jean-Luc Picard, a character he first played way back in 1987.

The series will air on Amazon Prime Video.

More in this section

Sponsored Content


Catch up on the latest episode of Annie May and the Hit Brigade written and read by  Mahito Indi Henderson.

Add Echolive.ie to your home screen - easy access to Cork news, views, sport and more