Kaley Cuoco (above) is back in the lead role of Cassie Bowden who is now sober and working part-time for the CIA
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SKY/NOW, BRITBOX, NETFLIX, AMAZON, APPLE TV+ & DISNEY+

The Flight Attendant

Chris Bohjalian’s 2018 novel was brilliantly adapted for the small screen in 2020, with Kaley Cuoco taking the lead role of Cassie Bowden, the flight attendant of the title who was a reckless alcoholic, often flew drunk and slept with the passengers – which landed her in big trouble with the FBI when one of them ended up dead in her bed.

Kaley Cuoco (above) is back in the lead role of Cassie Bowden who is now sober and working part-time for the CIA

Kaley Cuoco (above) is back in the lead role of Cassie Bowden who is now sober and working part-time for the CIA

Now the comedy drama is back for a second run, picking up a year later.

She’s sober and working part-time for the CIA, but faces more problems when a doppelgänger intrudes on her latest assignment. Sky/NOW, from Thursday

Obi-Wan Kenobi

Star Wars fans, hold on to your lightsabers: the wait is finally over.

Ewan McGregor reprises his role as the Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi for the first time since 2005’s Revenge Of The Sith, as well as bringing McGregor’s prequel trilogy co-star Hayden Christensen back in the iconic Darth Vader suit.

The six-part mini-series will explore what happened to Obi-Wan ten years after his fallout with his former Padawan, Anakin Skywalker, who was seduced by the dark side of the Force, with Kenobi in hiding from the evil Imperial Inquisitors sent to capture him. Disney+, from Friday

 

The Private Life Of Samuel Pepys

Entertaining, light-hearted romp from 2003 focusing on the famous 17th Century diarist, played here by Steve Coogan.

Lou Doillon and Steve Coogan (above) co-star in this light-hearted romp about the famous 17th Century diarist

Lou Doillon and Steve Coogan (above) co-star in this light-hearted romp about the famous 17th Century diarist

Nathaniel Parker (younger brother of the production’s director, Oliver Parker) also appears as Charles II; Ciaran McMenamin, Tim Pigott-Smith, Miranda Raison, Zoe Tapper and Lou Doillon co-star. BritBox, from Thursday

 

Stranger Things

A long-awaited return for Netflix’s retro horror-sci-fi hit.

It’s been three years since the last season, and those cute kids from Hawkins, Indiana, that we met in the first series back in 2016 are now young adults who probably wouldn’t be seen dead dressing up as Ghostbusters for Halloween.

Season 4 – being released in two parts, as is the fashion – is leaning more heavily into the horror genre.

When it opens, the mysterious Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) is unable to use her powers and police chief Hopper (David Harbour) is a prisoner of the Soviets.

This time round, the gang has to deal with bullies, new cliques, grief and – of course – the terrifying forces of the Upside Down. Netflix, from Friday

 

Buster

Phil Collins went back to his acting roots to play Great Train robber Buster Edwards in this lightweight crime caper.

Phil Collins (above) plays Great Train robber Buster Edwards in this lightweight crime caper, starring alongside Julie Walters

Phil Collins (above) plays Great Train robber Buster Edwards in this lightweight crime caper, starring alongside Julie Walters

Julie Walters co-stars as Edwards’s long-suffering wife – the film plays up the romance between them – and the likes of Larry Lamb, Sheila Hancock and Stephanie Lawrence are among the supporting cast. BritBox, from Thursday   

Ricky Gervais: Supernature

In his new Netflix stand-up special, the famously atheist and rationalist Ricky Gervais considers the paranormal. Unsurprisingly, he’s a sceptic, arguing that the Natural World and science are amazing enough, without the supernatural.

But he also offers his thoughts on, among other things, the ‘rules of comedy’ and sexism, and it’d be a brave fan who would bet against him managing to offend some pearl-clutching souls. Netflix, from Tuesday

 

Children Of Men

Directed by Alfonso Cuarón (Roma), this terrific 2006 adaptation of P. D. James’s dystopian novel features a pandemic, collapsing governments, police states and a refugee crisis.

It’s 2027 and women can’t have babies; the human race is dying out. Clive Owen (above) is tasked with protecting the only pregnant woman on Earth

It’s 2027 and women can’t have babies; the human race is dying out. Clive Owen (above) is tasked with protecting the only pregnant woman on Earth

It’s 2027 and women can’t have babies; the human race is dying out. Clive Owen is tasked with protecting the only pregnant woman on Earth. Julianne Moore and Michael Caine also star. Amazon Freevee, from Friday

 

Failing Upwards

You might know Iain Stirling as the voice of the drily quirky narration on Love Island.

However, stand-up is his first love and here he is with his first special, based around his inability to function in the most basic of public settings and the pressures of social media. Amazon, from Friday

 

Prehistoric Planet

Produced by the BBC’s Natural History Unit, this is so beautifully made it’s easy to forget you’re watching CGI and not actual footage of the beasts that roamed the planet 66 million years ago.

Narrated by Sir David Attenborough and produced by the BBC's Natural History Unit, this documentary series is so beautifully made you forget you're watching CGI

Narrated by Sir David Attenborough and produced by the BBC’s Natural History Unit, this documentary series is so beautifully made you forget you’re watching CGI

Narration by Sir David Attenborough and the classic trick of encouraging emotional investment in creatures facing jeopardy add to the sense that this is a regular nature documentary.

With five episodes, each dealing with a different type of terrain, this is a stunning series, packed with fascinating facts. Who knew that T. Rex was a good swimmer? Apple TV+, from Monday to Friday

 

NYPD Blue

This gritty cop show about life in the 15th Precinct detective squad in Manhattan was the focus of protests when it launched in 1993.

Viewers were offended by the strong language, partial nudity and depictions of addiction, and channels refused to air it. The cast included Dennis Franz and Jimmy Smits. Disney+, from Wednesday

 

Under The Volcano

Brilliant drama directed by the legendary John Huston and starring Oscar-nominated Albert Finney and Jacqueline Bisset.

Based on Malcolm Lowry’s semi-autobiographical novel, this charts the last 24 hours in the life of hard-drinking Geoffrey Firmin. Above: Jacqueline Bisset

Based on Malcolm Lowry’s semi-autobiographical novel, this charts the last 24 hours in the life of hard-drinking Geoffrey Firmin. Above: Jacqueline Bisset

It’s based on Malcolm Lowry’s semi-autobiographical novel and charts the last 24 hours in the life of hard-drinking, ex-British consul Geoffrey Firmin, which he spends in a small Mexican town in 1938. BritBox, from Thursday

Cop Secret

Icelandic action-comedy movies are a rarity, so catch this wonderful spoof while you can. A macho cop refuses to acknowledge his sexuality but falls for his new partner while investigating a bizarre series of bank robberies. Sky store, from Monday 

 

Why is there such a buzz about..? 

Heartstopper (Netflix)

Teenage romance takes many guises, from the innocence of the 1980 film Gregory’s Girl to Netflix’s colourful, eyebrow-raising Sex Education.

Heartstopper, with elements of both those shows, has been described as possibly the most adorable thing on TV.

Written by Alice Oseman and based on her graphic novel and web comic – suitably, cartoon flowers and birds fill the screen at times of high emotion – it focuses on Charlie (Joe Locke), an out 14-year-old with nerdy friends and an unruly mop of hair.

Joe Locke and Kit Connor (above) star in this heartwarming treat

Joe Locke and Kit Connor (above) star in this heartwarming treat

When he is sitting next to popular rugby star Nick (Kit Connor) in class, feelings begin to stir. Most tentatively in Nick’s case: as he takes a How Gay Are You? test online, tears roll down his face as the result comes up.

The scene leading up to their first touch and kiss is as tense and tender as you can imagine.

The path of this true love, of course, does not run smooth but it’s deftly and truthfully told, alongside a transgender girl – Yasmin Finney, soon to join the new Doctor Who (Sex Education’s Ncuti Gatwa) in the Tardis.

Other characters include a couple of larky lesbians, and Olivia Colman has a tiny part as Nick’s mum.

A heartwarming treat.

Mark Cook

 

 

BBC iPLAYER, ALL4, MY5 & UKTV PLAY

Frankie Howerd: Titter Ye Not

In 2008, David Walliams branched out by playing Frankie Howerd in the BBC drama Rather You Than Me.

David Walliams is clearly having the time of his life narrative some of Frankie Howerd's (above) most memorable TV and film appearances

David Walliams is clearly having the time of his life narrative some of Frankie Howerd’s (above) most memorable TV and film appearances

It was a dream role for the long-time Howerd fan, who could probably have written this fascinating documentary about his hero himself.

Instead, he merely narrates it, but is clearly having the time of his life commenting on some of Howerd’s most memorable TV and film appearances. Listen out for those famous catchphrases along the way. My5, available now

Art That Made Us

An alternative eight-part history of the British Isles, as told through its works of art – be they paintings, sculptures or works of literature.

So the first episode, on what we used to call the ‘Dark Ages’, covers, for example, Spong Man, the Lindisfarne Gospels and Beowulf (via a hip-hop feminist translation, naturally), among other works.

The series is a little too keen to sex things up – rock music, funky graphics, celebrity appearances, and so on – but it’s entertaining and informative nevertheless. BBC iPlayer, available now

 

Gazza

Fascinating if disturbing insight into the life of ex-footballer Paul Gascoigne, examining the media’s role in building him up to national treasure status, before kicking him while he was down.

Fascinating if disturbing insight into the life of ex-footballer Paul Gascoigne (above) and the media's role in building him up before kicking him while he was down

Fascinating if disturbing insight into the life of ex-footballer Paul Gascoigne (above) and the media’s role in building him up before kicking him while he was down

Those who know him discuss what happened, including several who went to extreme lengths to dig dirt on his private life. BBC iPlayer, available now

Land Of Mine

Gritty, Oscar-nominated Danish-German drama set immediately after the Second World War.

It’s based on the true story of German prisoners forced to clear mines in Denmark after the hostilities ended, a task that resulted in almost 1,000 deaths. BBC iPlayer, from Sunday

Help

Don’t miss the opportunity to see Jodie Comer’s moving, Bafta-winning performance as a struggling care home worker in this searing feature-length drama, written by Jack Thorne (His Dark Materials) set during lockdown.

Don’t miss the opportunity to see Jodie Comer’s (above) moving, Bafta-winning performance as a struggling care home worker

Don’t miss the opportunity to see Jodie Comer’s (above) moving, Bafta-winning performance as a struggling care home worker

Stephen Graham is also on superb form as a resident with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease. All4, available now

Missions

The French sci-fi drama is set in the near future and focuses on a manned mission to Mars backed by the European Space Agency.

However, the journey is curtailed after the discovery of something shocking about a rival US vessel. BBC iPlayer, available now

Desperately Seeking Susan

Mobsters, mistaken identity, memory loss and Madonna. This frothy comedy drama provided the singer’s first major screen role and was one of the big hits of 1985.

Mobsters, mistaken identity, memory loss and Madonna (above). This frothy comedy drama provided the singer’s first major screen role and was one of the big hits of 1985

Mobsters, mistaken identity, memory loss and Madonna (above). This frothy comedy drama provided the singer’s first major screen role and was one of the big hits of 1985

Madonna plays a bohemian free spirit whose path crosses a bored New Jersey housewife (Rosanna Arquette). Mayhem ensues. BBC iPlayer, from Friday

 

Banished

Jimmy McGovern’s 18th Century-set drama follows the fortunes of the inmates of an Australian penal colony, those guarding them, and the few women living in the area.

Russell Tovey, Julian Rhind-Tutt and MyAnna Buring head the excellent cast. UKTV Play, from Wednesday

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