New Year Highlights: 2011

The weather’s getting bleaker and the festive fun is done, thank heavens, then, that we’ve got TVs for keeping our spirits up. Some of our favourites series return this month, while new promising shows begin. It’s news like this that truly make 2011 a Happy New Year! See what we mean by checking out our January’s highlights...


Primeval (ITV1, 7.30pm)
The resurrected dinosaur drama roars back to our screens on New Year’s Day. Everything’s changing: there’s a new team, new methods and a new ARC when the show returns for its fourth season. The fifth will air on Watch later in the year.


Got to Dance (Sky One, 6pm)
The first returning reality series of the year is Sky’s dance contest Got to Dance, and it starts with a double-bill. Last year’s winner was diminutive break dancer Akai Osei. Who will be victorious this year?

Famous and Fearless (Channel 4, 8pm)
Ever wanted to see a bunch of celebrities face off in a series of extreme sports? No, us neither, but this new prime-time series will show us it anyway. Live.

Zen (BBC One, 9pm)
From the same producers as Wallander comes this new detective drama, set in Italy, based on the novels of Michael Dibdin. Fronting the show is The Pillars of the Earth’s Rufus Sewell, who you can see being interviewed here.


Silent Witness (BBC One, 9pm)
Yet more bodies are discovered in the fourteenth (yes, 14!) season of Silent Witness. First up, three patients die unexpectedly in a London hospital ward.

Above Suspicion (ITV, 9pm)
After what feels like an incredibly long break Anna Travis (Kelly Reilley) and her team are back for another three-part adaptation of a Lynda La Plante novel.


90210 (E4, 9pm)
An earthquake hits Beverly Hills this January, when the third season of the lacklustre reboot starts in the UK.


Louie Spence’s Showbusiness (Sky One, 9pm)
Spontaneous professional dancer Louie Spence stole the show in Pineapple Dance Studios, so it was only a matter of time before Sky gave him his own series. And here it is! He’ll be joined by some old Pineapple friends when Showbusiness starts this January.


The Good Wife (More4, 9pm)
Julianna Margulies is a defiant defense attorney again in the second season of the Golden Globe-winning drama. It begins with her character Alicia Florrick having to chose between two men: Will or Peter?

American Dad! (FX at 10pm)
Hayley and Jeff attempt to elope as the sixth season of American Dad! begins on FX.


Hustle (BBC One, 9pm)
Lock up your belongings! BBC’s biggest con team are back. The seventh season picks up where the last left off, with the gang coming to terms with their brush with the law.


CSI: New York (Five USA, 9.15pm)
Crime scene investigations resume in New York with the seventh season of the spin-off series. In the first episode a new agent, called Jo Danville, joins the team. Her first job: to investigate the death of a young woman murdered in the same building as the NYPD crime lab.


Dancing on Ice (ITV, 6.30pm)
Be warned: newspaper headlines will heavily feature Kerry Katona, Vanilla Ice and Angela Rippon for the next month or so. They’re among the “celebrities” taking part in this year’s show.

Wild at Heart (ITV1, 8:30pm)
Fed up of all this gloomy weather? Get away from it all with the sixth season of Wild at Heart, set, as usual, in the deserts of South Africa.

CSI: Crime Scene Investigation (Channel 5, 9pm)
Girls with a penchant for pop music will go wild for this TV update: the eleventh season of CSI, which includes the Justin Bieber episode, has finally made its way to Britain.


Glee (E4, 9pm)
New Direction may have lost out at regionals last season, but they certainly won our hearts. The all-singing, all-dancing high school group are joined by Britney Spears and Gwyneth Paltrow in the second season on E4.

The Biggest Loser (ITV1, 9pm)
ITV takes a second stab at The Biggest Loser. This time it’ll be airing the weight-loss reality series over primetime and is hosted by Davina McCall.

Episodes (BBC Two, 10pm)
The creator of Friends teams up again with Matt LeBlanc for a surprisingly promising comedy about a British couple (played by Tamsin Greig and Stephen Mangan) who try and get their TV show produced in America.

Shameless (Channel 4, 10pm)
If the preview pictures are anything to go buy the eighth season of Shameless is going to be the strangest of them all! In it, Frank celebrates his stag do and a new family is introduced.


No Ordinary Family (Watch, 8pm)
Michael Chikilis (The Shield) and Julie Benz (Dexter) play parents who get more than they bargained for when they, and their kids, gain superpowers on a bonding holiday. The show is proving popular in the States: will you like it too?

Taggart (ITV1, 9pm)
Scottish viewers have already been given the chance to watch the revamped season of Taggart, now the rest of the UK can catch up. This series, the show’s twenty-seventh, brings six new-look “darker” episodes to our screens.


Midsomer Muders (ITV1, 8pm)
Britain’s peaceful contryside is rife with murder once more as the crime drama returns for John Nettles’ last stint as Cheif Inspector Tom Barnaby.


Kidnap & Ransom (ITV1, 9pm)
Trevor Eve (Waking the Dead) is Dominic King, a troubled kidnap negotiator tasked with finding a woman kidnapped in South Africa. The four-part series also stars Helen Baxendale (Cold Feet) and Natasha Little (Mistresses).


True Blood (FX, 10pm)
The third season of the popular American vampire series finally makes it to British shores. In it, we meet plenty of new characters including demented vampire Franklin (The Tudor’s James Frain) and Sam’s brother Tommy (Prison Break’s Marshall Allman). Will one of them be responsible for kidnapping Bill Compton?

The Tick (Syfy, 9pm)
TV commissioners can’t get enough of superhero shows! This one, based on the cult comic books of the same name, is a second reinvention of the crime-fighting duo in ridiculous outfits after the early 90s animated attempt.


Hattie (BBC Four, 9pm)
Ruth Jones is stuck in the middle of a love triangle as she plays real-life Carry On actress Hattie Jaques in this new drama for BBC Four.


Alice (Syfy, 8pm)
Andrew Lee Potts (Primeval) stars as the Hatter in this two-part mini-series, based on Lewis Carroll's popular children’s book.

Skins (E4, TBC)
Out with the old, in with the new. A completely new main cast begin their reign of the Skins set. Joining them this year is Golden Compass’ Dakota Blue Richards. My has she grown up!


Being Human (BBC Three)
Annie is still trapped on the other side: can anyone save her? The sci-fi series’ third season sets out to answer this question with the help of newcomer Lacey Turner (EastEnders) when it returns in late January.

Outcasts (BBC)
The highly-anticipated sci-fi series takes off sometime in late January/early February. It’s attracted some big stars, including Eric Mabius (Ugly Betty), Hermione Norris (Spooks), and Jamie Bamber (Battlestar Galactica), so expectations are high. Watch this space.

Sky Atlantic
OK, this isn’t launching in January but it is definitely something to look forward to! The new pay-to-view channel, hosting lots of American (mostly HBO) shows and unique UK dramas, will be available to those of you with Sky Entertainment packages from February. On it you can expect to see Boardwalk Empire, the latest series of Entourage, and upcoming series Game of Thrones. They’ve also stolen Mad Men from Auntie.

Alternatively, if you want to re-watch some classic TV shows SeeSaw are selling their most popular series for 49p per episode. Including Spooks, Heroes, House and The Office.

Comments (1)
Dec 26, 2010
So basically there is not much on until Episodes roll on January, up until that show the rest is complete rubbish. Why is it 'suprisingly promising'? Mangan and Greig are both proven on this side of the Atlantic and LeBlanc, although not around much recently will always have a big presence all round the world. Combine all that with the writers that have made it and it would be quite a shock if it wasn't at least watchable. I'd be willing to bet that Being Human will start in January too, now that is a truly exciting event, great show.

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