What To Watch On Catch-Up

Autumn is traditionally the time of year when TV schedules start to get interesting – and recent hits like Vigil and Help suggest 2021 is no different. But the last 12 months have also delivered some great programmes that are definitely worth binge-watching if you missed them. Here are the 24 series we recommend you watch on catch-up now…
What To Watch On Catch-Up
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BBC iPLAYER

A Teacher – Series 1

Based on the 2013 film of the same name, A Teacher is a ten-part miniseries created by film director and producer, Hannah Fidell. Claire Wilson (Kate Mara) is a popular English teacher at Westerbrook High School in Texas who begins an inappropriate friendship with one of her students, Eric Walker (Nick Robinson). After revealing she is unhappily married to her husband Matt (Ashley Zuckerman), the relationship between teacher and student turns into a sexual affair, which eventually forces Eric to come to terms with the abusive coercion Claire has forced upon him. 

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The Serpent – Series 1

The first episode of BBC drama The Serpent hit our screens on New Year’s Day, and the whole series is available to watch on iPlayer. In this true-crime thriller, French conman and serial killer Charles Sobhraj (Tahar Rahim) is finally brought to justice after a killing at least 12 Western backpackers across southeast Asia with the help of his girlfriend Marie-Andrée Leclerc (Jenna Coleman). Sobhraj masterfully evades the police and authorities time and again. However, when Dutch diplomat Herman Knippenberg (Billy Howle) is made aware of two Dutch backpackers who were brutally murdered in Bangkok, Sobhraj’s sinister plan – the ‘Hippie Trail’– is revealed. 

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Time – Series 1

In hard-hitting veteran TV writer Jimmy McGovern’s newest drama, a prisoner consumed by guilt meets an officer with an impossible choice. Time – a three-part drama shown on the BBC a few months back – is a tense story of punishment and principles. The show stars acting heavyweights Sean Bean and Stephen Graham as prisoner Mark Cobden and guard Eric McNally respectively, and shows the pair grapple with corruption, mental strength and what it takes to do the right thing.

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Our Girl – Series 1-4

Our Girl initially starred Lacey Turner as Molly Dawes, a young working-class woman who joins the British Army after deciding her life is going down the drain. No-one thinks she can stick it out, including herself. But slowly and surely, Molly matures and learns to believe in herself – digging in and finding a strength she never thought she had. Turner left her role after the first series and was replaced by Michelle Keegan as lead character Lance Corporal Georgie Lane for the three remaining series, which are every bit as good.

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The Split – Series 1-3

The Defoes are a family of sisters working for divorcees. But leading lawyer Hannah (the always brilliant Nicola Walker) finds business is personal when she leaves the Defoe family firm for a rival and finally faces her estranged father, who walked out 30 years ago. Also stars Stephen Mangan, Donna Air and Antony Head.

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The Nest – Series 1

Dan and Emily are crazy about each other. They live in a huge house in the nicest part of Glasgow and want for nothing. But they've been trying to have a baby for years with no success. When a chance encounter brings 18-year-old Kaya into Emily's life, it seems that fate may have brought them together. She makes Emily an offer – she will be Dan and Emily's surrogate, if they help set her life on track. But with only one embryo left, can Dan and Emily trust a teenage girl they barely know with their last chance to have a family?

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Mrs America – Series 1

Mrs America tells the true story of the movement to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA), and the unexpected backlash led by a conservative woman named Phyllis Schlafly – "the sweetheart of the silent majority". Through the eyes of the women of that era – both Schlafly and prominent second-wave feminists Gloria Steinem, Betty Friedan, Shirley Chisholm, Bella Abzug and Jill Ruckelshaus – the series explores how one of the toughest fights in the ideological battle of the 70s helped give rise to political organisation the Moral Majority and forever shifted the USA’s political landscape.

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A Suitable Boy – Series 1

Based on the novel by Vikram Seth, A Suitable Boy is set in post-partition India of the 1950s. As political and religious tensions mount in the run-up to the country’s first elections, the show follows four families, in particular a mother’s efforts to arrange a marriage for her daughter, Lata, who is torn between duty and romance. Filmed on location with an entirely Indian cast, expect gorgeous sets and colourful costumes. 

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The Trial of Christine Keeler – Series 1

The six-part series is based on the chain of events surrounding the Profumo Affair, the political sex scandal that rocked the British government during the Cold War of the 1960s. Christine Keeler was a 19-year-old model and dancer who had affairs with both John Profumo, the Secretary of State for War, and Eugene Ivanov, a Soviet naval attaché. Starring Sophie Cookson, James Norton, Ellie Bamber, Ben Miles and Emilia Fox.

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ITV HUB 

Stephen – Series 1

In this recent three-parter – the sequel to Paul Greengrass' 1999 film The Murder of Stephen Lawrence – sees Sharlene Whyte (Small Axe) bring Stephen's mother Doreen to life, while Hugh Quarshie (Holby City) reprises the role of his father, Neville. In this series, 13 years after their son's racist murder, Stephen's parents continue their fight for justice. Meanwhile, DCI Clive Driscoll (Steve Coogan) finds Stephen's cold case files.

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The Sister – Series 1

Nathan (Russell Tovey) has never been able to forget the worst night of his life: a party that led to the sudden, shocking death of a young woman. Only he and Bob (Bertie Carvel), an eccentric old acquaintance, know what really happened and they’ve resolved to keep it that way. Years later, Bob appears at Nathan’s door with terrifying news that threatens to tear Nathan’s world apart. Nathan has his own secrets now, secrets that could destroy everything he has desperately fought to build for himself and his family.

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Des – Series 1

David Tennant took the lead role in ITV’s true crime drama, Des, focusing on one of the most infamous criminal cases in UK history. Referred to as the ‘kindly killer’, Dennis Nilsen was a local civil servant who spent five years murdering boys and young men from 1978 to 1983. He would meet and befriend these men before offering them food or lodgings at his north-London flat. Daniel Mays plays detective DCI Peter Jay who brought Nilsen to justice, with Jason Watkins as writer and Nilsen’s biographer, Brian Masters. A chilling watch.

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White House Farm – Series 1

ITV’s six-part factual drama White House Farm revolves around one fateful night in August 1985 when five members of the same family – Sheila Caffell, her six-year-old sons, Daniel and Nicholas, and her parents, Nevill and June Bamber – were murdered at an Essex farmhouse. The 2020 series seeks to provide fresh insight into this family tragedy and the contested accounts of the events that took place at the farm. Freddie Fox plays Jeremy Bamber, with Mark Addy as DS Stan Jones and Stephen Graham as DCI ‘Taff’ Jones. Gemma Whelan, Mark Stanley, Alexa Davies, Cressida Bonas, Alfie Allen, Amanda Burton and Nicholas Farrell also star. 

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The Savoy – Series 1

The first luxury hotel in Britain – The Savoy – has sat alongside the River Thames for over 130 years. It has hosted rock stars and royalty, Oscar winners and prime ministers. Filmed over the most dramatic period of the hotel’s history – from the incredibly busy winter season to its coronavirus shutdown – the series gives viewers a fascinating glimpse into the lives of those lucky enough to be able to afford this slice of luxury, and those who serve them, as cameras capture the upstairs, downstairs and the most secret of corners. As a global crisis looms, the series sees the challenges the staff face to continue to make the magic happen with their hard work and attention to detail before the hotel was forced to shut its doors for the first time ever in its history.

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Prince William: A Planet For Us All – Series 1

With exclusive access across two years, this intimate portrayal of Prince William follows him on a global mission to champion action for the natural world – from Africa to Asia, from London to Liverpool and to the Sandringham Estate, the documentary charts his journey as the world awakens to the urgent need to restore our planet. We see him join conservation heroes great and small, from Sir David Attenborough to children and young people protecting the natural world close to home. A must-see.

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Hatton Garden – Series 1

Hatton Garden depicts the audacious jewellery, gold and cash burglary, executed by an elderly gang of career criminals, at the heart of London’s diamond district over the Easter weekend in April 2015. Timothy Spall, Kenneth Cranham and Brían F O’Byrne star in four 60-minute episodes, which tell the story of how the men pulled off the heist. Along the way, viewers witness how the gang meticulously planned the raid, tensions among the group, the loss of livelihoods suffered by the box holders and the complex police operation that eventually captured them.

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CHANNEL 4

It’s A Sin – Series 1

Russell T Davies’ It’s A Sin follows the story of the 1980s – and the story of Aids – and charts the joy and heartbreak of a group of friends across a decade in which everything changed. Olly Alexander leads a cast which also features Keeley Hawes, Stephen Fry, Neil Patrick Harris, Tracy Ann Oberman, Shaun Dooley, Omari Douglas, Callum Scott Howells, Nathaniel Curtis and Lydia West. An absolute must-watch.

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I Am… – Series 1-2

Each series of this female-led drama explores the very personal and raw experiences of three women. In one episode, career-focused Danielle (Letitia Wright) falls for a male model, only later to find out he harbours a disturbing secret. In another, Line of Duty’s Vicky McClure endures a dysfunctional and coercive relationship. Also stars Gemma Chan, Samantha Morton, Suranne Jones and Lesley Manville.

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Deceit – Series 1

This fact-based drama revisits the investigation into the tragic death of 23-year-old Rachel Nickell, who was stabbed 49 times in front of her son on Wimbledon Common. Examining the complicated and toxic sexual politics of the early 90s and the police’s obsession with the wrong man, Deceit enters a dysfunctional world, where a female undercover officer is asked to become sexual bait for a suspected killer. Meanwhile, the media feed a national obsession, covering every detail of the case and demanding justice. And the police are determined to catch the man who, in their eyes, is guilty before he kills again.

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National Treasure – Series 1

National Treasure is a four-part drama written by Bafta-award winning writer Jack Thorne, starring Robbie Coltrane, Julie Walters, Andrea Riseborough and Tim McInnerny. The story follows Paul Finchley, an adored ageing comedian. Paul's career, as one half of a comedy duo, was a successful one, lasting over several decades. However, when a rape case is opened against him, his world falls apart as he stands accused of a sexual offence dating back to the 1990s.

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The Virtues – Series 1

Shane Meadows, creator of This is England, returned to Channel 4 in 2019 to showcase his inimitable style with a powerful, bold drama that tackles themes of repressed memory, apocalyptic revenge and the hope of redemption. The series stars Line of Duty’s Bafta-nominated Stephen Graham as Joseph, who falls into despair when his young son leaves for Australia with his ex. With no immediate family to live for, Joseph is haunted by a past he has tried, for decades, to forget.

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Deadwater Fell – Series 1

Deadwater Fell is a four-part British drama television miniseries written and created by Daisy Coulam. First shown last year, the show stars David Tennant as a doctor whose wife and three young children are murdered in a fire. A seemingly perfect family, the small Scottish community they called home becomes riven with mistrust and suspicion following their deaths, as everyone begins to point the finger at potential suspects.

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