Political sex scandals, glittering British awards ceremonies, new Louis Theroux and a mesmerising look at one of the world’s most extraordinary wildernesses will all be coming to BBC channels in 2020.
Premiering on BBC First will be The Trial of Christine Keeler, a compelling six-part series starring Sophie Cookson (Kingsman: The Secret Service) and James Norton (McMafia) which takes a fresh look at one of the most infamous British stories of the 1960s, the Profumo Affair; and Deadwater Fell, the tale of a small community rocked by a heinous crime, starring David Tennant (Broadchurch, Good Omens) and Cush Jumbo (The Good Fight). New series of ratings hits Call The Midwife, Silent Witness and Death in Paradise – which sees Ralf Little become the latest British detective to join the police force on the Caribbean island of Saint Marie – are all returning to the channel in January.
Over on BBC Earth, Louis Theroux returns to the hugely controversial Westboro Baptist Church to see what effect the death of its founder has had on its members. The channel will also premiere Yellowstone, following the fortunes of America’s wildlife icons over the course of a year as they face the challenges of living in this extraordinary and beautiful landscape. Attenborough fans will be able to enjoy landmark series Life Story, as Sir David explores how animals attempt to overcome the challenges that face them at each of the six crucial stages of life.
On UKTV it’s time to crack open the champagne in February as stars take to the red carpet for the two biggest award ceremonies in Britain – The EE British Academy Film Awards and The Brit Awards – and the laughs will keep coming with the premiere of a new series of 8 out of 10 Cats Does Countdown.
On CBeebies, loveable dog Duggee will celebrate his 5th birthday with special blocks of Hey Duggee and there will be brand new episodes of children’s favourite Clangers, with the unique, imaginary family who live on a small, blue planet in space.
Tim Christlieb, Director of Branded Services, Australia and New Zealand, said: “I’m pleased to announce this fantastic line-up of shows across our channel portfolio for early 2020. There’s plenty of murder and mystery on offer and viewers who enjoyed A Very English Scandal will love The Trial of Christine Keeler – another quintessentially British political sex scandal. With Louis Theroux and David Attenborough on BBC Earth, British awards and humour on UKTV and kids favourites on CBeebies there’s something for everyone.”
Call The Midwife – Series 9 (Monday, January 6 at 10am Express from the UK, encore at 7.30pm, 8 x 60)
The multi-award-winning drama returns. Created and written by Emma and Bafta nominee Heidi Thomas. This time medics and midwives of Nonnatus House enter a bold and innovative era. They face unexpected challenges as the population shifts, rules change, and old diseases come back to haunt them. Alongside the joy and optimism of birth, they must cope with cases including diphtheria, drug abuse, cancer, tuberculosis, and fistula. Meanwhile, their own experiences are fuelled by love, loss and doubt. And the very future of Nonnatus House comes under threat.
Death in Paradise – Series 9 (Express from UK in January, 8 x 60)
Detective Inspector Jack Mooney may have settled into life on the glorious Caribbean island of Saint Marie, but the murders keep coming. Joined by their new DS, Madeleine, the team solve some of the most confounding crimes they’ve ever seen. From an apparent serial killer on the loose on New Year’s Eve to a man stabbing during a survival weekend on a deserted tropical island, the cases are more baffling than ever. And an unexpected romantic encounter prompts some soul-searching for Jack. Ralf Little joins the cast as Detective Inspector Neville Parker taking over from Ardal O’Hanlon who is set to make his final appearance this series. Parker is reluctantly dispatched to Saint Marie to investigate the suspicious death of a woman from his home city of Manchester.
Silent Witness – Series 23 (Two episodes per week from Wednesday, January 8 at 10am and Thursday, January 9 at 10am express from UK, double episode encore from Thursday, January 9 at 8.30pm, 10 x 60)
Dr Nikki Alexander and the team at the Lyell Centre must solve five more thrilling mysteries in this award-winning crime drama. A body in the concrete pillar of a car park. A downed plane. Scientific research gone wrong. The cases that end up at the Lyell Centre are rarely straightforward. Initial suspicious are challenged as the evidence mounts, and Nikki and the team must work harder than ever to find the truth.
The Trial Of Christine Keeler (Sundays at 8.30pm from February 16, 6 x 60)
Written by Bafta-winning novelist and screenwriter Amanda Coe and directed by Andrea Harkin, The Trial of Christine Keeler takes a fresh look at one of the most infamous British stories: the chain of events in the 1960s that came to be known as the Profumo Affair. At the centre of the storm was 19-year-old Christine Keeler – a young woman whom the powerful, male-dominated establishment sought to silence and exploit, but who refused to play by their rules. The Trial of Christine Keeler takes us behind the headlines to tell a human story about the sexual and cultural politics of ones of the most revealing and inconic stories of modern times.
Deadwater Fell (Coming 2020, 4 x 60)
When a seemingly perfect and happy family is murdered by someone they know and trust, the small Scottish community they call home becomes riven with mistrust and suspicion as those closest to the family begin to question everything they thought they knew about their friends… Deadwater Fell examines in unflinching detail the nature of female friendship and the harmful, entrenched gender stereotypes and conformity that can lead to the most devasting consequences. Laying bare the fragility of trust and the corrosive nature of lies, the series demonstrates that even the closest of friends all have their secrets.
Louis Theroux: Surviving Westboro (Thursday, January 23 at 8.30pm, 1 x 60)
Award-winning filmmaker Louis Theroux revisits its hugely controversial Westboro Baptist Church, investigating what effect the death of its founder and figurehead Pastor Fred Phelps has had on its members and those who have since left. Thirteen years since first encountering one of America’s most notorious hate groups, Louis makes a long-anticipated return to the strange and unpleasant world of Westboro. What happens when a group largely populated by one family loses its patriarch? Louis discovers how Phelps’ doctrine of divine hate has cast a shadow not only on true-believers but also on those who’ve managed to escape the church’s vice-like grip.
Yellowstone (Coming in 2020, 3 x 60)
Yellowstone is unique – pristine, stunning and wild. But while this wilderness is home to an abundance of wildlife, it also experiences one of the toughest springs on Earth. In just three months, snow-wrapped winter becomes scorching summer. Find out how the wildlife copes with such dramatic changes in the seasons. Presented by Kate Humble and Patrick Aryee.
Life Story (Coming in 2020, 6 x 60)
Narrated by David Attenborough, Life Story tells the remarkable and often perilous story of the journey through life. Every animal on earth is in pursuit of nature’s greatest prize – the continuation of its own bloodline through its offspring. The odds may be stacked against any individual succeeding, but each is born with a relentless instinct to overcome the odds. An animal must triumph again and again, over every challenge, if its life is to culminate in success.
The EE British Academy Film Awards 2020 (Monday, February 3, 1 x 120)
Considered one of the biggest nights in the film industry calendar, the EE British Academy Film Awards (BAFTAS) are renowned for welcoming and honouring an impressive line-up of stars and are regarded as an important indicator of the frontrunners for the Academy Awards®.
The BRIT Awards (Wednesday, February 19 at 7.30pm, 1 x 120)
The BRIT Awards are the most anticipated event in the British music industry’s calendar. The epic 40th show will be hosted once again by Jack Whitehall.
Hey Duggee 5th Birthday (Weekdays at 8.35am from January 13)
Hey Duggee is turning five! To celebrate Hey Duggee’s 5th birthday, join Hey Duggee and the Squirrel Club five times a week on CBeebies with three episodes each morning. A woof woof woof woof woof!
Clangers (Coming in 2020)
The Clangers are a family of pink, long-nosed, inventive and inquisitive mouse-shaped creatures who live on a small blue planet, out in the starry stretches of space not far from our world.