As 2009 fast approaches we take a look at those new shows from 2008 that were lucky enough to be given a second season and will be back on our screens in 2009. There aren’t that many of them and sadly ITV seemingly only has two and unsurprisingly Britannia High isn’t one of them.
Mistresses – The first season, consisting of six parts, aired earlier this year on BBC One and met with reasonable viewing figures – usually around five million viewers. It was dubbed the British “Sex and the City” but some within the media as it followed the complicated love lives of four women, all of whom are friends. Leading the cast was Sarah Parish, a favourite of BBC drama having previously starred in Cutting It. Sharon Small, Shelly Conn and Orla Brady made up the rest of the female cast. Storylines included a bisexual love triangle and Sarah Parish’ character, Katie, having an affair with the son of man she also had an affair with. A second season has already been filmed and will air early in the new year.
Lark Rise to Candleford – Slow paced, Sunday night, period drama that proved to be a good ratings puller for BBC One despite being in a competitive Sunday night slot. The removal of soaps by ITV from their Sunday night schedules doubtless boosted Lark Rise’ ratings as viewers turn off from ITV. Amongst the cast was Dawn French, Julia Sawalha and Olivia Hallinan and Jason Merrells will be a new addition to the second season. A Christmas Special of the period drama drew over six million viewers and beat The Royal. The second season of the drama will resume airing soon on BBC One.
Merlin – Despite constantly moving around the Saturday night schedules in the first part of its run and then being up against The X-Factor in the second half of its season Merlin still pulled in good ratings for BBC One. Most weeks the series increased its week on week rating even though it was on earlier/later than the week before or up against ITV. Reviews were also good for the drama and won far more praise than its Saturday night counter-part, Robin Hood. Established actors Anthony Head and Richard Wilson headed up the cast with Katie McGrath, Colin Morgan, Angel Coulby and Bradley James as the young heroes of the piece. A second 13 part series was commissioned once the first season came to a conclusion and all the cast are expected to return. The series isn’t likely to air, however, until late 2009.
Survivors – A reimaging of the Terry Nation series of the 1970s with Adrian Hodges bringing a 21st century take on the cult series. Survivors also faced tough competition in its slot from I’m A Celeb but still managed to pull in respectable figures, the opening instalment drawing over six million viewers. It was also a good puller for the higher end of the audience scale and also won mainly positive reviews. Julie Graham, fresh from her Bonekickers disaster, headed up the cast with Zoe Tapper, Max Beasley, Patterson Joseph and Nikki Amuka-Bird also amongst the cast throughout the six episodes. Doctor Who actress Freema Agyeman appeared in the opening episode but in a twist was killed off part way through. A second six part series was commissioned before Survivors concluded its run and the BBC confirmed that Julie Graham, amongst others, would return. It’s likely to be back on air in late 2009.
Being Human – A pilot episode aired during BBC Three’s pilot season as it aired six films with the hope that at least one would prove popular enough to spin-off into a whole series. Two films were given season orders with Being Human the only one actually to make it to a series as the BBC axed Phoo Action a few weeks ago – due to creative difficulties. Although Being Human has made it to a full series only actor Russell Tovey is back for the full series, Guy Flanagan and Andrea Riseborough having been dropped from the cast and replaced by Lenora Crichlow and Aidan Turner. The full series of Being Human returns to BBC Three early in the new year.
The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency – a BBC/HBO co-production filmed in Botswana, airing earlier in the year on BBC One as a one-off film. The film drew over six million viewers and was popular enough for the BBC to commission a full series, which will also be filmed in Botswana. Little is currently known about the full series of the drama but Patterson Joseph is likely to join the cast.
The Fixer – One of the few ITV drama’s to be given a second season and this despite the first season losing ratings week on week. While The Fixer started well with over six million viewers it soon dropped to roughly half of that figure. However, new controller Peter Fincham felt the series had potential and so gave it a second chance. The six-part first series starred Tamzin Outhwaite, Liz White, Andrew Buchan and Jody Latham. Few details about the second series are known other than it will air during 2009.
Moving Wallpaper – The first series of Moving Wallpaper was a comedy/drama series about the making of Echo Beach, a new ITV soap. While Moving Wallpaper proved popular with audiences, although it did lose ratings, and won good reviews Echo Beach was less fortunate. ITV quickly announced that there would be a second season of Moving Wallpaper but the fate of Echo Beach remained undetermined for some months. The second season of Moving Wallpaper will only be six episodes long, down from 12, and will see producer Jonathan Pope [Ben Miller] attempt to come up with a new dram idea after ITV axe Echo Beach. Along with Ben Miller the entire regular cast are expected to be back for the second season minus the cast of Echo Beach. Pope’s idea for a new ITV drama series is Zombie drama!