This week, Kayleigh Dray gets excited for a twisty ITV thriller and talks us through the new titles to add to your watchlist, while Annie Simpson lets you know the period series that is still worth a watch…

Big Gay Wedding With Tom Allen

If you’re in the mood for something truly joyous, this TV special, which commemorates the 10th anniversary of the first same-sex marriage in the UK, is made for you. Join Tom Allen and a host of celebrity pals as they plan a dream wedding for one gay couple (and pay homage to those trailblazers who made the Marriage (Same-Sex Couples) Act possible, too). Wednesday 27 March, 9pm; BBC One

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Big Mood

Relatable female friendship is the order of the day in this new millennial comedy, which sees Nicola Coughlan and Lydia West star as best pals Maggie and Eddie. They’ve been in each others lives for as long as they can remember (and for more than several questionable eyebrow trends), but when Maggie’s bipolar disorder makes an unwelcome return, Eddie is forced to question whether remaining friends is really in their best interests… Thursday 28 March, 10pm; Channel 4

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Grey’s Anatomy: Season 20

Get us 10cc of deliciously soapy melodrama, stat! That’s right: Grey’s Anatomy is back for its 20th season, albeit without Ellen Pompeo in tow as a series regular (don’t worry: she’ll still pop up from time to time). Expect medical jargon, impossibly attractive doctors and sexual tension aplenty… as well as an unexpected lesson or two on the dangers of AI. Yes, really. Thursday 28 March; Disney+

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Renegade Nell

Renegade Nell – created by none other than Happy Valley’s Sally Wainwright and starring Derry Girls’s Louisa Harland – tells the story of the country’s most famous highwaywoman (and how she was framed for murder). Get ready for an utterly bombastic period drama unlike anything we’ve seen before. Friday 29 March; Disney+

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... why we’re so excited for this starry new ITV thriller

“Never have I ever been able to resist the allure of an excellent TV thriller,” says Kayleigh, who unashamedly fills notebooks with clues, theories and observations when she watches the likes of Line Of Duty and Vigil. “Is it any wonder, then, that Passenger already has me champing at the bit?

“The new series, which is due to premiere on ITV1 and ITVX on Sunday 24 March at 9pm, ticks so, so many boxes. Don’t believe me? Here’s what you’ve got to look forward to…”

Set in the small northern village of Chadder Vale, this twisted tale sees Detective Riya Ajunwa get her Hot Fuzz on as she investigates a series of horrific crimes in the village: an unsettling missing persons case, an obliterated stag, a monster from the not-so-distant past and a group of conspiracy theory-loving locals who really hate outsiders, especially when it comes to that nearby fracking site. Curiouser and curiouser…

The brilliant (and Bafta-winning) Wunmi Mosaku takes the lead in this one as Riya, and she’s joined by some seriously big names. Think The Bay’s Daniel Ryan, Gentleman Jack’s Natalie Gavin, This Is Going To Hurt’s Hubert Hanowicz, Call The Midwife’s Ella Bruccoleri, and many, many more.

Passenger isn’t your run-of-the-mill police drama, oh no. Instead, it expertly blends chills and chuckles to give us… well, to give us a sort of thriller-horror-comedy hybrid, if you will. Lovely stuff.

Look, let’s face facts: most British thrillers take place in the grey and drizzle-covered streets of some anonymous big city, albeit usually London, if I’m being honest. Passenger, however, looks every bit as glossy as any Nordic noir, with snow-covered forests, covetable knitwear and iconic yellow coats. It’s a feast for the eyes as well as the mind, and that’s exactly how I like my TV.

Sometimes we breeze through a TV thriller knowing exactly what’s going to happen, the beats it’s going to hit and every single ‘twist’ that’s going to (ahem) twist. Not so with Passenger, which zags whenever you think it might zig. Make like me, then, fellow armchair detectives, and bring a notebook to the premiere; you’ll need it if you want any hope of solving this series of strange events before Riya does…

... there’s a reason why this historical drama is still so popular

“When I say I’m late to the party here, I mean I’m really late,” says email content editor Annie Simpson. “It’s almost a decade since Downton Abbey ended, yet I’m finally hooked on the historical drama. It’s not that I was unaware of the show when it originally aired, I just actively avoided watching it. I clearly remember Christmases when my family would avidly tune in to see what dramas the Crawley family were currently enduring, and I would (in a very Lady Mary manner, might I add) flounce out of the room, exclaiming that it was so boring and not at all my cup of tea. How wrong I was.

“After Downton fell off my radar for years, it was only last month, in a lull of nothing to stream and nothing to do, that I finally watched it for myself, and I was more than pleasantly surprised. For those unaware, the series – which aired from 2010 to 2015 – is set on the fictional Yorkshire country estate of Downton Abbey between 1912 and 1926 and depicts the lives of the aristocratic Crawley family and their domestic servants. And yes, it’s about titles, land and heirs, but it’s also so much more than that. Far from the hammy and over-the-top series I had been anticipating, Downton is warm and comforting, with characters you actively root for – all alongside enough dramatic storylines to have you clicking ‘play next episode’ quicker than Maggie Smith’s The Dowager Countess of Grantham can quip one of her excellent one-liners.

“So if you, like me, find yourself at a loss for what to watch over the next few weeks, I suggest giving Downton a go. With six whole seasons to get through, it will see you through more than one plan-free weekend, and with rumours swirling that a new season is in the works, not to mention a third and a final film, there’s no better time to catch up. I, for one, am currently eking out the last few episodes of season six before I can move on to the two films, the second of which handily dropped on Netflix just last week.” Watch all series on ITVX and Netflix now

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Image credits: BBC; Channel 4; ABC/Disney+; Disney+; ITV; ITV/Sky
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