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Stylist's pick of the best autumn TV

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With temperatures plummeting and the sofa more inviting than ever, autumn TV is about to dominate our lives, so thankfully the programme guides are looking red-hot. Here’s our pick of the best shows…

  • Downton Abbey

    ITV, 22 September

    In one word: Cosy

    It’s now six months since Matthew Crawley’s tragic car crash, but what could be a solemn season four is salvaged by the Dowager Countess (Dame Maggie Smith) and her put-downs. Look out for Paul Giamatti as Cora’s brother.

  • The Wrong Mans

    BBC Two, 24 September

    In one word: Silly

    Written by and starring James Corden with Horrible Histories performer Mathew Baynton, this farcical six-part thriller follows two men who get swept up in the world of international conspiracy thanks to a case of mistaken identity.

  • The Tunnel

    Sky Atlantic, mid-October

    In one word: Gripping

    Mirroring the plot of Nordic crime drama The Bridge, British detective Roebuck (Stephen Dillane) and French sleuth Wassermann (Clémence Poésy) are brought together to investigate the death of a top French politician.

  • Hello Ladies

    Sky Atlantic, mid-October

    In one word: Charming

    Ricky Gervais collaborator Stephen Merchant stars in this semi-autobiographical sitcom based on his stand-up comedy show, tracking the trials of a geeky Englishman searching for the woman of his dreams in LA.

  • Dracula

    Sky Living, October

    In one word: Bloodthirsty

    If True Blood didn’t satisfy your cravings for vampire drama, suck on this. Posing as an American entrepreneur in Victorian London, Dracula (Jonathan Rhys Meyers) declares revenge on those who betrayed him centuries before.

  • Masters of Sex

    Channel 4, October

    In one word: Eye-opening

    This new US series set in the Fifties stars Michael Sheen (Frost/Nixon) and Lizzy Caplan (Mean Girls) as researchers Masters and Johnson, who revolutionised the way we think about sex but were criticised for their unconventional methods.

  • The Day Of The Doctor

    BBC One, 23 November

    In one word: Iconic

    Even if you’re not a Doctor Who fan, you might be tempted by this special episode to mark 50 years of Tardis time travel. Matt Smith is joined by Billie Piper, David Tennant and, of course, the Daleks.

  • Ambassadors

    BBC Two, November

    In one word: Funny

    “It’s Yes Minister meets Spooks,” says Robert Webb, who stars in this comedy drama alongside Peep Show buddy David Mitchell. Set in a dysfunctional British embassy in the fictional state of Tazbekistan, big laughs are expected.

  • The 7.39

    BBC One, December

    In one word: Moving

    One Day author David Nicholls is the talent behind this “romantic drama for grown-ups” about the tangled love lives of two couples, played by Olivia Colman, David Morrissey, Sheridan Smith and Sean Maguire. We can’t wait.

  • Sherlock

    BBC One, late December

    In one word: Unmissable

    The end of series two saw Sherlock (Benedict Cumberbatch) fake his own death in a battle with arch-rival Moriarty. But with a Christmas special and a new series slated for January, we will finally discover just how Holmes survived.

  • Girls

    Sky Atlantic, mid-January

    In one word: Daring

    With writers Lena Dunham and Judd Apatow keeping the plotlines for season three as secretive as the recipe for Coca-Cola, we can only imagine what triumphs and disasters await Hannah, Marnie, Shoshanna and Jenna.

  • Hostages

    Channel 4, January

    In one word: Tense

    This much-hyped US drama stars Toni Collette as surgeon Ellen Sanders, who is due to operate on the President. When she is instructed to kill him in order to save her kidnapped family, it spells bad news for your fingernails.

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