Airdate: Peaky Blinders, Burton & Taylor, The Politician’s Husband.
Plus Breathless, The Fear, Blandings, The Village & Alan Partridge -all on BBC First.
The channel launches on Sunday August 3rd at 9.30am with a screening of all 10 episodes of The Musketeers, followed at 7.30pm by a preview of the first episode of Peaky Blinders, starring Cillian Murphy and Sam Neill.
At 8.30pm is Burton and Taylor with Helena Bonham Carter and Dominic West.
The premiere week also includes The Politician’s Husband, Breathless, The Fear, Blandings, Hunderby and The Village
The Musketeers (M) 10 x 50′
Box set: Sunday at 9.30am on August 3
Double episodes: Sundays at 8.30pm from August 10
A thrilling world of action, adventure and romance inspired by Dumas’ legendary characters, starring Luke Pasqualino, Tom Burke, Santiago Cabrera, Howard Charles and Peter Capaldi.
On the streets of 17th century Paris, law and order is more a fledgling idea than reality, and the Musketeers, Athos, Aramis and Porthos, are far more than merely royal bodyguards for King Louis XIII; they are inseparable, loyal unto death and committed to upholding justice. Together, this crack team of highly trained soldiers fight for honour, for valour, for love, and just for the pure thrill of it. When d’Artagnan arrives in Paris to avenge his father’s death he soon impresses the three Musketeers with his bravery and skill, and quickly discovers kindred spirits in these boisterous soldiers. In a series all about passion, loyalty, heroism and brotherhood, d’Artagnan and the Musketeers face a continuing struggle to maintain order and protect the King and Queen, while outwitting the machinations of the shadowy Cardinal Richelieu as he ruthlessly strives to achieve his vision of a modern France along with his hired assassin, the beautiful but mysterious Milady de Winter.
Starring: Luke Pasqualino (Skins), Tom Burke (Great Expectations), Santiago Cabrera (Merlin), Howard Charles, Peter Capaldi (Doctor Who), Tamla Kari (Cuckoo), Maimie McCoy (Loving Miss Hatto).
Peaky Blinders (MA15+) 6 x 60′
Sneak preview: Sunday at 7.30pm on August 3
Thursdays at 8.30pm from August 7 starting with a double episode
Cillian Murphy, Sam Neill and Annabelle Wallis star in this epic gangster family saga set in the lawless streets of post-war Birmingham on the cusp of the 1920s.
The critically acclaimed, BAFTA award-winning series has been likened to Boardwalk Empire (The Guardian) and has a soundtrack featuring music from Nick Cave and The White Stripes.
Britain in 1919 is a tumultuous mix of despair and hedonism, a nation cleaned out by the extravagances of the Great War. Returning soldiers, newly minted revolutionaries and criminal gangs all fight for survival in an industrial landscape gripped by economic upheaval.
Thomas Shelby and his family run the most feared and powerful local gang, the Peaky Blinders. Named for their practice of sewing razor blades into the peaks of their caps, they make money from illegal betting, protection and the black market. But Tommy’s ambitions go beyond running the streets, and when a crate of guns goes missing from an arms factory, he recognises an opportunity to move up in the world. Crime pays, but business pays better.
As rival gangs, Communist revolutionaries and IRA Fenians descend on Small Heath in pursuit of the weapons, Winston Churchill dispatches a ruthless police chief from Belfast to impose order on an increasingly lawless city and recover the guns.
Peaky Blinders is a vibrant evocation of a hedonistic age.
Starring: Cillian Murphy (The Dark Knight), Sam Neill (Jurassic Park), Helen McCrory (Skyfall) and Annabelle Wallis (The Tudors)
Burton and Taylor (M) 1 x 90′
Sunday at 8.30pm on August 3
Starring award-winning actor Dominic West and Helena Bonham Carter, nominated for a Golden Globe and a BAFTA for her mesmerising performance, Burton and Taylor tells the story of Hollywood’s original ‘it’ couple in the twilight of their star-crossed relationship.
When Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton met on the set of Cleopatra, the attraction was immediate. The public were enthralled by their illicit romance, two tempestuous marriages, frequent break-ups and extravagant reunions. They were the original fabulous stars, conspicuous in their consumption of clothes, houses, yachts, diamonds, and more damagingly, alcohol.
This captivating drama tells the tale of Hollywood’s most glamorous couple, as they acted together for the last time in Noel Coward’s play, Private Lives, in 1983. Beyond the alcohol, pills and the trappings of fame, was love the ultimate crutch that allowed them to escape the realities of their extraordinary lives?
Starring: Helena Bonham Carter (The King’s Speech), Dominic West (The Wire)
The Politician’s Husband (M) 3 x 60′
Mondays at 8.30pm from August 4
David Tennant and Emily Watson star in this gripping drama about the shifting balance of power in a political marriage, and the ensuing consequences when a wife becomes more successful than her husband.
From multi-award winning screenwriter Paula Milne, The Politician’s Husband tells the story of Senior Cabinet Minister Aiden Hoynes who is happily married to Freya, a junior minister who has consistently put her own career ambitions on hold for the sake of Aidan’s career and their family. A rising star in Parliament, Aidan hatches a plot with his close friend and Cabinet colleague Bruce to trigger a leadership coup. However his support mysteriously dissipates and it becomes clear that Bruce has betrayed him in order to bid for leadership himself. Aidan is banished to the back benches.
At the same time Freya is offered a cabinet post. Aiden encourages her to take it and together they work out a plan to return him to power. However their pact backfires – once Freya has tasted power she is reluctant to relinquish it.
The drama is a companion piece to Milne’s BAFTA and Emmy award-winning The Politician’s Wife.
Starring: David Tennant (Broadchurch) and Emily Watson (The Book Thief)
Breathless (M) 6 x 60′
Tuesdays at 8.30pm from August 5
Set in the 1960’s, Breathless follows the lives of a group of doctors and nurses working in a London hospital, a world in which everything and everyone has their place. But underneath this veneer simmers a cauldron of lies and guilty secrets, driven by love, ambition and sex. Set in and around a busy gynaecology unit at a time when abortion is illegal and the contraceptive pill is only available to married women, medicine becomes the perfect stage to play out the shifting moral codes of early 60s society.
Starring: Jack Davenport (Pirates of the Caribbean), Natasha Little (Kidnap and Ransom), Joanna Page (Love Actually), Sarah Parish (Mistresses) and Shaun Dingwall (Charles II: The Power and The Passion)
The Fear (MA15+) 4 x 50′
Double episodes: Wednesdays at 8.30pm from August 6
Winner of two BAFTA awards and a Royal Television Society award, The Fear stars award winning actor Peter Mullan as crime boss Richie Beckett. This bold, edgy drama, follows Richie as his empire is brought to its knees by the disintegration of his criminal mind.
Richie is a respected, if feared member of the Brighton community. But his hard won legacy is under threat when the family firm faces ruthless new rivals and Richie succumbs to an aggressive form of early onset dementia. With his short-term memory fading, Richie’s dark past bleeds into his present, revealing unresolved traumas that echo the chaos now surrounding him. What emerges is a spiralling battle to resist an implacable enemy, acted out on the streets of Brighton and inside Richie’s head.
Starring: Peter Mullan (Top of the Lake)
Blandings (PG) 6 x 30′
Double episodes: Fridays at 8.30pm from August 8
A new comedy series based on the celebrated stories by PG Wodehouse starring Timothy Spall, Jennifer Saunders, David Walliams and Mark Williams.
Set in 1929, the amiable but befuddled Lord Emsworth struggles to keep his dysfunctional family in order and usually adds to the chaos himself. All Clarence wants is to be left at peace with his beloved pig The Empress but his plans are often thwarted by an array of friends, visitors, servants and spongers.
Starring: Timothy Spall (The King’s Speech), Jennifer Saunders (Absolutely Fabulous), David Walliams (Little Britain) and Mark Williams (Father Brown)
Hunderby (M) 8 x 22′
Double episodes: Fridays at 9.40pm from August 8
A dark and twisted tale set in the 1830s from critically acclaimed writer/performer Julia Davis.
Helene is the lone survivor of a ship washed ashore near the small English village of Hunderby. There, she is swept off her feet by widowed pastor Edmund, who believes her to be pure. But, Helene has a dark past that she cannot escape. Featuring a cast of fiends, physicians, hunchbacks, wastrels, maids, crones and an adorable puppy called Susan, Hunderby oozes with the dark and absurd humour that has become Julia Davis’ trademark.
Starring: Julia Davis (Nighty Night)
The Village (M) 6 x 60′
Saturdays at 8.30pm from August 9
An epic drama series charting the life and turbulent times of one English village across the twentieth century.
Written by BAFTA winning writer Peter Moffat, the series uses events in one village to explore the recent past. Births, deaths, love and betrayal, great political events, upheavals in national identity, ways of working, rules kept and rebellions made, sex, religion, class, the shaping of modern memory – are all refracted through the lives of the villagers and the village.
Starring: John Simm (Life on Mars) and Maxine Peake (Criminal Justice)
Shetland 4 x 90′
Wednesdays at 8.30pm from August 20
Based on the book Red Bones by award-winning crime writer Ann Cleeves, this powerful murder mystery is set against the stunning Scottish backdrop of Shetland Isles and stars acclaimed actor Douglas Henshall.
The series follows detective Jimmy Perez who has returned home to lead a murder investigation, uncovering secrets and lies from the past. Perez and his team find themselves at the centre of two feuding families whose envy, greed and bitterness has divided the surrounding community.
Starring: Douglas Henshall (The Secret of Crickley Hall)
Prisoners Wives (M) 6 x 60′
Mondays at 8.30pm from August 25
Gemma’s perfect life comes crashing down when armed police storm her house and arrest her husband, Steve, on suspicion of murder. Alone, scared and submerged into an unknown world, Gemma struggles to make sense of the bewildering judicial system but she’s certain of one thing; her husband’s innocence.
When Gemma visits Steve for the first time, she meets three other women: Francesca, a career criminal’s wife; Lou, a drug dealing young mum; and Harriet, a visitor who sits outside the prison – never venturing in. Each have their own story, their own secrets.
Starring: Emma Rigby (Hollyoaks), Polly Walker (Rome), Pippa Haywood (Green Wing), Natalie Gavin (The Arbour)
Alan Partridge: Welcome to the Places of My Life (G) 1 x 60′
Friday at 8.30pm on August 29
In this special one-off documentary starring BAFTA winning actor Steve Coogan, Alan Partridge treats viewers to a guided tour of his beloved Norfolk. From the offices of North Norfolk Digital, Norwich City Hall and his local newsagent to the luscious expanse of Thetford Forest, Alan explores the key landmarks and natural beauty spots that have shaped the man he is today. Made by Alan’s own production company, this is his take on the whole celebrity travelogue genre. But it also pulls back the curtain and gives us a glimpse into the life of Norwich’s finest broadcaster.
Starring: Steve Coogan (Philomena)