TV Preview: Eight must-watch TV shows airing in 2022

From Imelda Staunton as The Queen to another Sally Rooney adaptation, there’s plenty to be excited about. Georgia Humphreys shares her top picks.

Imelda Staunton as Queen Elizabeth.
Imelda Staunton as Queen Elizabeth.

It can sometimes feel overwhelming when deciding what series to dive into next.

But fear not; as we head into 2022, we’ve compiled the ultimate guide on what TV shows you simply cannot miss next year.

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From the latest instalments of huge Netflix dramas to a final series of a fan favourite, and brand new thrillers, there is something for everyone.

Eddie Marsan

Here’s everything you need to know about the shows tipped to be big hits…

THE RESPONDER

Martin Freeman leads this new BBC show, which is a unique take on the crime drama genre.

It focuses on morally compromised urgent response officer Chris, who is tackling a series of night shifts on the beat in Liverpool.

Derry Girls. Pictured: (L-R) James Maguire as Dylan, Saoirse Monica-Jackson as Erin, Jamie-Lee O’Donnell as Michelle, Nicola Coughlan as Clare, (above) Louisa Clare Harland as Orla McCool.

Crisis-stricken, he’s struggling both personally and professionally – and then he faces a fresh challenge, as he’s forced to take on a new rookie partner Rachel (Adelayo Adedayo).

Based on the real experiences of the writer, ex-police officer Tony Schumacher, it promises to be a darkly funny and intense watch.

DERRY GIRLS SERIES 3

The Channel 4 sitcom – set during the Troubles – has so much heart, as well as brilliantly written characters.

But creator Lisa McGee has confirmed the next series will be the last.

Series two had an emotional ending; James (Dylan Llewellyn) decided to stay in Derry with pals Erin (Saoirse-Monica Jackson), Clare (Nicola Coughlan), Orla (Louisa Harland), and Michelle (Jamie-Lee O’Donnell).

And we have a feeling there will be plenty of bittersweet moments in the final episodes, as the teens slowly become adults, and Northern Ireland enters a new more hopeful time.

BRIDGERTON SERIES 2

Coughlan also stars in this Netflix period drama, which is based on a series of romance novels by Julia Quinn, and became the talking point of the nation when it launched at Christmas in 2020.

We’ve had time now to get over the heartbreak that Rege-Jean Page – who played Simon Basset, the Duke of Hastings – will not be returning for the latest season.

What we can look forward to is stunning costumes, another catchy soundtrack, and more of a focus on one of the Bridgerton brothers, Anthony (Jonathan Bailey).

THE THIEF, HIS WIFE AND THE CANOE

You will likely remember the shocking news story this four-part ITV drama is based on.

Back in 2002, John Darwin went missing whilst canoeing off the coast of Seaton Carew in Cleveland – but it turned out he had faked his own death to claim life insurance and avoid bankruptcy, and his wife Anne was complicit.

You just know it’s going to be good; the script has been penned by acclaimed screenwriter Chris Lang – of Unforgotten and Innocent fame – and Eddie Marsan and Monica Dolan are playing John and Anne.

SHINING VALE

Big fan of Friends? This family-friendly horror-comedy series – which will be available in March in the UK, on streaming service Starzplay – sees Courteney Cox return to TV again.

Oscar nominee Greg Kinnear stars alongside her; they play a couple who decide to buy a 200-year-old haunted mansion with their life savings.

The show has got even more great names behind it – one of the creators is Catastrophe’s Sharon Horgan.

THE CROWN SERIES 5

The end of 2022 will see the long-awaited continuation of Netflix hit, The Crown. There’s a whole new cast portraying the royal family, to reflect the years moving on – including Imelda Staunton as the Queen and Lesley Manville as Princess Margaret.

It’s predicted the fifth series will cover the events of the late nineties. According to the news site Deadline, that will include Princess Diana’s famous interview with Panorama on the BBC.

And there is more good news for viewers: writer Peter Morgan has confirmed there will be a sixth – and final – series.

THE RIG

Line of Duty star Martin Compston has arguably become one of the UK’s best-loved actors, and one of his projects for 2022 is this new Amazon series.

It’s a six-part thriller set on the Kinloch Bravo oil rig, which is stationed in the North Sea.

When the crew is faced with serious danger – fog, tremors, and a loss of all communication with shore – they have to try and work out what’s happening – and there’s also the question of who can they really trust on board?

It’s going to be gripping viewing…

CONVERSATIONS WITH FRIENDS

Excitingly, BBC Three and Hulu are bringing another of Sally Rooney’s books to our screens, after the massive success of the 2020 series, Normal People.

This time, it’s the Irish author’s first novel, about the complex relationship that forms between young creatives Frances (Alison Oliver) and Bobbi (Sasha Lane), and older couple Melissa (Jemima Kirke) and Nick (Joe Alwyn).

Expect a witty love story – set in Dublin – which will likely have a similar style to Normal People, seeing as it’s the same team at the helm of this 12-part drama.