Coronavirus: 9 shows to help you through self-isolation

By Neil Smith
Entertainment reporter

Image caption,
Martin Compston, Sophie Rundle and Mirren Mack will appear in BBC One's The Nest

As the coronavirus outbreak continues, a host of TV shows have had to suspend filming or scale back production.

EastEnders, The Only Way is Essex and the eagerly-awaited Friends reunion are just a few of those affected.

Luckily there are many other completed programmes that are ready for broadcast over the coming weeks and months.

Here are nine forthcoming shows that will help pass the time if you are socially distancing or self-isolating at home.

1. After Life

Image source, Netflix
Image caption,
Gervais plays grieving widower Tony in the series

Ricky Gervais returns as misanthropic widower Tony in the second series of his mordant comedy drama.

Set in the fictitious small town of Tambury, the show sees Tony try to become a better friend to those around him as he continues to grapple with the loss of his wife.

Dame Penelope Wilton, David Bradley and Extras’ Ashley Jensen also return for the show’s second six-episode run, which launches on Netflix on 24 April.

Gervais can also be heard this spring as the voice of a cat in animated film The Willoughbys, scheduled to drop on Netflix two days earlier.

2. Defending Jacob

A husband and wife in Massachusetts fear their teenage son is a murderer in this Apple TV production, set to premiere on 24 April.

Avengers star Chris Evans and Downton Abbey’s Michelle Dockery play the conflicted parents, while Jaeden Martell – Evans’s co-star in the recent Knives Out – plays the eponymous Jacob.

"The content of the show is very intense," said Dockery last year, describing it as being in "a really different genre" from what she was used to.

But Apple has not been immune from the coronavirus, which has brought shooting on the second series of The Morning Show to a halt.

3. Killing Eve

Image caption,
The third series of Killing Eve will see Sandra Oh and Jodie Comer reprise their roles

The adventures of voluptuous assassin Villanelle (Jodie Comer) and the dogged M16 agent on her trail (Sandra Oh) have captivated audiences on both sides of the Atlantic.

Small wonder the third season of the BBC’s blackly comic thriller series is one of this spring’s most anticipated programmes.

Little is known about where the series progresses from the second season's shocking finale, though Comer has hinted we will get to learn more about her character’s shadowy past.

Killing Eve resumes on BBC America on 26 April and should be on BBC One and BBC iPlayer by June.

4. The Nest

Beginning this Sunday on BBC One, this five-episode drama tells of a couple who have been trying to have a baby for years with no success.

An 18-year-old girl called Kaya may be the answer to their prayers – though her offer to be their surrogate comes with strings attached.

Line of Duty’s Martin Compston and Gentleman Jack’s Sophie Rundle star in a thriller about love and money from Wild Rose writer Nicole Taylor.

Line of Duty, incidentally, is one of several BBC dramas that have had to suspend shooting due to coronavirus concerns.

5. Normal People

Image caption,
Daisy Edgar Jones will play Marianne in the TV adaptation of Sally Rooney's Normal People

Sally Rooney’s 2018 novel was named book of the year by Waterstones and best novel at the Costa Book Awards.

This spring it comes to BBC Three in a 12-episode drama that was filmed in Dublin, Sligo and Italy.

Daisy Edgar-Jones and Paul Mescal play Marianne and Connall, two teenagers who meet and fall in love in school.

The series follows them through their university years as their relationship comes under pressure from both outside and within.

6. Ozark

The first two seasons of Netflix’s dark crime drama flew a little under the radar.

If you have yet to encounter wily accountant Marty Byrde (Jason Bateman), though, the current circumstances offer the perfect opportunity.

The first two seasons showed Marty move heaven and earth to open a riverboat casino in Missouri in order to make amends to a Mexican drug cartel.

Season 3 begins with the casino up and running, though that is only the start of the problems for Marty, wife Wendy (Laura Linney) and their two teenage children.

Ozark: Season 3 comes to Netflix on 27 March.

7. Quiz

Image source, ITV/Matt Frost
Image caption,
Michael Sheen will play Chris Tarrant in ITV's Quiz

The Who Wants to be a Millionaire coughing scandal of 2001 is brought back to our screens in this three-part drama.

Adapted by James Graham from his 2017 stage play, the show stars Matthew Macfadyen as Charles Ingram, the former British army major accused of cheating on the ITV quiz show.

Fleabag’s Sian Clifford plays his wife Diana, while Michael Sheen dons a blond wig to play Millionaire’s then-host Chris Tarrant.

Helen McCrory and Aisling Bea also appear in the show, which will air on ITV in April.

8. Run

Phoebe Waller-Bridge is one of the brains behind this eight-part comedy thriller about two former lovers who reunite to fulfill a pact made 17 years earlier.

Merritt Weaver plays Ruby, who impulsively leaves her suburban life behind when Billy (Domhnall Gleason) sends her a text message bearing the single word ”Run”.

Waller-Bridge pops up herself as a woman they meet on their travels, which begin at New York’s Grand Central Station before taking them across America.

Written by Waller-Bridge’s frequent collaborator Vicky Jones, Run comes to Sky Comedy and Now TV on 15 April. The trailer has already been released.

9. The Serpent

Image caption,
Jenna Coleman and Tahar Rahim co-star in the fact-based drama

The nefarious exploits of serial killer Charles Sobrhaj form the basis of this eight-part BBC One drama.

A con man, thief and master of disguise, Sobrhaj was the chief suspect in the unsolved murders of more than 20 young Western travellers in the mid-1970s.

Tahar Rahim plays the devious Sobrhaj, while Billy Howle plays a junior diplomat in Bangkok who becomes entangled in his web of crime.

Ellie Bamber and Doctor Who’s Jenna Coleman also star in this Netflix co-production.