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Where’s the remote? 14 must-watch shows

Already running out of things to do as the darkness draws in? Well, put away the chess board and engage with these 14 new televisual delights instead.

His Dark Materials, Season 2 (BBC One and BBC iPlayer)

Dafne Keen, Ruth Wilson, Amir Wilson and Lin-Manuel Miranda return for the second season of His Dark Materials, based on the series of fantasy novels by Philip Pullman. Now we’re moving on to the events of the second novel, The Subtle Knife, and the dual stories of Lyra Silvertongue and Will Parry are set to collide in a parallel universe as they pursue the truth about Dust. The first episode aired on Sunday 8 November. Catch up on iPlayer.

Industry (BBC Two, 10 November)

A new BBC/HBO collab produced by Lena Dunham, Industry plunges into the murky world of international investment banking, with graduates competing for a place at a top London firm. Says the woman herself, ““Think Wolf of Wall Street meets Melrose Place.”

Mangrove, Small Axe (BBC One, 15 November)

Mangrove is the inaugural entry in Steve McQueen’s Small Axe collection of five films and marks the Oscar-winning director’s first foray into the small screen. It follows London’s Caribbean community through the Swinging Sixties to the Eighties. Keep an eye out for John Boyega playing real-life Metropolitan Police officer Leroy Logan.

Dash & Lily (Netflix, 10 November)

So, Christmas: do you love it or could you do without? Well, that exact conflict is behind this charming yuletide eight-parter based on the YA novel Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan. Dash (Austin Abrams) thinks Christmas sucks while Lily (Midori Francis) tries to persuade him otherwise. Cue romance. Heartwarming, easy watching to counteract the November blues.

A Queen Is Born (Netflix, 11 November)

A Queen is Born

And how’s this for a change of pace? Singer-songwriter Gloria Groove and drag star Alexia Twister are on hand to deliver this glorious concept of a reality show: making over drag queens to give them the confidence to own the stage. What more could you want in the name of entertainment? Sign me up.

The Life Ahead (Netflix, 13 November)

Hollywood siren Sophia Loren returns to a leading role in this full-length Italian drama about a Holocaust survivor who forges a bond with a Senegalese 12-year-old orphan after he robs her. Oscar vibes are starting to bounce around this one – it would be Loren’s second; she won her first for 1961’s Two Women.

The Crown (Netflix, 15 November)

Er… hello TV show we’ve been waiting on for months! Like a breath of fresh air in a room of Covid putrescence, the fourth instalment of Netflix’s impeccable royal drama has entered the building and jacked open the windows. Forget lockdown. Why wouldn’t you stay in for this? Plus, this season (10 eps) will see poor downtrodden Charles (the brilliant Josh O’Connor) cross paths with Lady Diana Spencer (Emma Corrin). Rest. Is. History.

Fireball: Visitors From Darker Worlds (Apple TV+, 13 November)

A documentary on meteors might not normally be top of your watch list but this is no ordinary piece of filming. Directed by Werner Herzog (yes, the great German director and actor who once forced his crew to haul a 320-ton steamship up a hill in the Peruvian jungle – see here), it explores how asteroids and other celestial missiles have impacted the human mind and defined how we think about our collective past and future. Interesting stuff.

Becoming You (Apple TV+, 13 November)

I cannot wait for this. This six-part documentary series (narrated by the glorious Olivia Colman) follows 100 children across the world and explores how human beings develop in the first 2,000 days of life. Obviously, every child has a different environment growing up but it’s the shared humanity and community across every culture that will have you reaching for the tissues.

The Wilds (Amazon Prime Video, 12 November)

What happens when members of an all-girl empowerment retreat survive a crash landing on a remote island? Something dystopic probably. Bringing together Lost, Lord of the Flies and a hint of The Hunger Games (we’re guessing), this 10-part series will reacquaint you with all that teenage catty angst. Veteran Aussie actor Rachel Griffiths (you’ll know her from countless things, not least for being the best friend in Muriel’s Wedding) plays the course leader Gretchen Klein.

Scrubs, Seasons 1-9 (Amazon Prime, 14 November)

Scrubs

Fancy reminding yourself of a time when life was simpler? Me too. Look no further than surreal medical comedy Scrubs, which was a lovely easy watch throughout the Naughties. All nine series are now on Amazon Prime.

Fanny Lye Deliver’d (2019) – 11 November on Sky Cinema and the Sky Cinema Pass on NOW TV

Set on an isolated farm in 17th-century Shropshire, this folk horror stars Maxine Peake as Fanny Lye, a woman who learns to transcend her oppressive marriage and discover a new world of possibility. Also starring Charles Dance, Freddie Fox and Tanya Reynolds.

Jojo Rabbit (Sky Cinema and Now TV, 13 November)

Fans of New Zealand director, actor and comedian Taika Waititi will be delighted to learn that Jojo Rabbit – his hilarious and heartbreaking tale of a little boy whose imaginary friend is Hitler – has finally come to Sky. Aside from Waititi (who plays Hitler) and Roman Griffin Davis (Jojo), Scarlett Johansson and Sam Rockwell pad out the already impressive cast. Expect to laugh a lot and possibly cry more.

I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! (ITV, 15 Nov)

How do you get through lockdown 2? Why, watch D-list celebrities eat slugs in order to take home a hefty pay check and maybe – just maybe – reignite their career. Cynical? Me? Never. Anyway, because of our ubiquitous friend C-19, this year’s action takes place in Wales. Now, never has more a beautiful country been created but man, it’s bleak in November. Cold, damp, miserable and hungry; those slugs might look appetising after all.

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