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The must-watch TV shows and series for winter 2014-2015

Esio-Trot-First-Look-2.jpg

It's time to pull out that blanket and snuggle down into your sofa, because it's the season for brilliant TV.

From gripping new dramas - such as, crime thriller Fortitude starring The Killing's Sofie Gråbøl and Breaking Bad's highly anticipated prequel Better Call Saul - to Hollywood appearances from George Clooney in Downton Abbey and Dustin Hoffman alongside Dame Judi Dench in the TV adaptation of Roald Dahl's Esio Trott, there are plenty of not-to-be-missed flicks this winter.

December

Remember Me

9pm on Sunday, BBC1

The first episode of BBC1’s supernatural thriller attracted more than five million viewers on Sunday night. The three-part series sees Tom Parfitt (played by Michael Palin) - an elderly man who has lived most of his long life trapped in his home, isolated from the outside world after his wife tragically died the day she returned home from their honeymoon - arrive at a local retirement home in Yorkshire to an eerie unexpected death. Catch up on the first episode at bbc.co.uk.

BBC remember me

Esio Trott

December, BBC1

Dame Judi Dench and Dustin Hoffman star in this 90-minute BBC adaptation of one of Roald Dahl’s last stories, Esio Trot. It's the tale of a shy old man, Mr Hoppy, and how he wins over neighbour, Mrs Silver, whom he is in love with. Alongside a stellar cast, the one-off film has been directed by Richard Curtis, the filmmaker behind Four Weddings, Notting Hill and Love Actually. Expect to be touched.

Esio Trot

The Boy in the Dress

December, BBC 1

The TV film adaptation of David Walliam's book The Boy in the Dress - about a 12-year-old boy who enjoys cross-dressing, and the reactions of his family and friends - features Jennifer Saunders, Meera Syal and a cameo by Kate Moss in which she plays herself.

The boy in the dress

Marco Polo 

7.01pm, 2 December 2014 on Netflix
 
Netflix does period drama with this original 10-episode historical saga. It follows Marco Polo, the Venetian explorer, on his sojourn into 13th-century China, then ruled by Kublai Khan. The drama will be rife with warfare, manipulation and sexual intrigue and feature a global cast including Italian newcomer Lorenzo Richelmy and Chinese actress Zhu Zhu as Polo’s love interest. 
Marco Polo

Call the Midwife

Christmas Day, BBC1

Her voice has introduced every episode, but Vanessa Redgrave appears on screen for the first time in the Call The Midwife Christmas Special, as a mature Jennifer Worth, a character played as by Jessica Raine, who has now left the show. The latest series is set in 1960, as London's East End undergoes some big changes.

Call the Midwife

Downton Abbey

Christmas Day, ITV

Hollywood royalty is coming to Downton this winter in the form of George Clooney. Yes, the Oscar-winning actor will appear in a sketch for the Christmas special of the hit ITV show and has already filmed his scenes, a Downton spokesperson confirmed to the Guardian. Actress Laura Carmichael, who plays Lady Edith, revealed Clooney will try to kiss Maggie Smith’s Dowager Countess in the episode. “There’s a very brilliant moment with Maggie and George – I don’t know if I want to give away any more than that really – but George wants a kiss and Maggie ends up on the floor, it’s wonderful,” she said.

Downton Abbey

To look forward to early next year

Broadchurch

January, ITV

David Tennant and Olivia Colman’s characters DI Alec Hardy and DS Ellie Miller will be back in the new year for a gripping second season of Broadchurch. The first ended with Hardy solving the murder of 11-year-old Danny Latimer and a trilogy of trailers for the next series already have us gripped.

Fortitude

January, Sky Atlantic

This thrilling 12-part drama follows the close-knit community of a tranquil Arctic town who are left in shock when a murder occurs in their area. A compelling hunt for the killer commences. The series stars an unusually strong cast of Stanley Tucci, Sofie Gråbøl (The Killing), Michael Gambon, Richard Dormer and Christopher Eccleston.

Crisis

January, Watch

The Fall star Gillian Anderson continues to reign the small screen, this time as a powerful corporate boss whose daughter is kidnapped when a school bus carrying the children of Washington DC's elite is ambushed. The series follows the gripping national crisis and conspiracy that unfolds.

Better Call Saul

February 2014, Netflix

After months of waiting, the Breaking Bad prequel Better Call Saul is to debut in the US on 8 February and is expected to air exclusively on Netflix UK thereafter. The spin-off follows the trials and tribulations of Breaking Bad criminal defence lawyer Saul Goodman (played by Bob Odenkirk) in the time leading up to establishing his strip-mall law office in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Madam Secretary

TBC, Sky Living

Madam Secretary is the latest political drama taking American by storm, with over 17 million viewers clocking in to watch its pilot episode and it now standing as America's most watched television drama on a Sunday. The show, produced by Morgan Freeman, tells the story of former CIA analyst Elizabeth McCord (played by Tea Leoni) who is appointed the position of secretary of state. She juggles international diplomacy, office politics and global and domestic issues, both at the White House and at home. 

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

March 2015, Netflix

This highly anticipated new comedy series from Tina Fey and Robert Carlock sees a woman (played by The Office's Ellie Kemper) who escapes from a doomsday cult and starts life over in New York. You can expect Fey's unique comedic voice and the quality of Netflix in this 13-episode series.

Unbreakable Kimmy

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