The Brilliant Female-Led Dramas You'll Be Glued To This Year

Hey, drama queens (and by that I mean lovers of the genre; it's nothing to do with your personal life). Need some new shows to get hooked on? I thought so. In 2017, we were spoiled for choice with kickass female-fronted dramas from the UK and abroad (The Handmaid’s Tale, Big Little Lies, Doctor Foster, Little Women) but 2018 looks like it’s going to be every bit as good when it comes to TV.
Here, we've picked the dramas written, directed and starring brilliant women that we’ve heard very good things about for you to add to your watch list. Check back regularly as we’ll be updating as more are confirmed.
Courtesy of Mark Johnson/BBC
Nicola Walker stars in The Split

The Split

Ka-pow! This original six-part series is helmed by an all-female power team including writer Abi Morgan (Suffragette, The Iron Lady, The Hour), producer Jane Featherstone (Broadchurch, Humans) and director Jessica Hobbs.
The female-led cast (and crew) includes Nicola Walker (River, Last Tango In Halifax) alongside Meera Syal (Goodness Gracious Me) and Stephen Mangan (not a woman).
An “authentic, layered and witty exploration of modern marriage and the legacy of divorce”, the show is about a family of female lawyers at the heart of London’s “emotionally charged divorce circuit.”
Cant't wait? You'll have to, as the air date is yet to be announced.
Courtesy of BBC/Robert Viglasky
Carey Mulligan in Collateral


SHUT THE FRONT DOOR, Carey Mulligan on the telly? Pass me the smelling salts.
Set over the course of four days, this four-part drama explores “the spiralling repercussions surrounding the fatal shooting of a pizza delivery man.” Who would do such a thing?
Anyway, the incredible Mulligan plays Detective Kip Glaspie and I think I might faint.
Watch it on BBC Two in February.


I feel like this world doesn’t really deserve Toni Collette, but Jesus do we need her. The Little Miss Sunshine, The Sixth Sense and Muriel’s Wedding star leads this new drama described as an “insightful and funny exploration of the relationships of a multigenerational family”. Sounds riveting but tbh, if they said it was about dry shaving Toni Collette’s legs, I’d still watch it.
The air date is to be announced but we do know this is a co-production with Netflix, so the series will premiere in the UK on BBC One and globally outside of the UK on Netflix sometime in 2018.


If you don't know who BAFTA-winner Sarah Lancashire is, then we cannot be friends.
If you do, then you'll be pleased to know she leads a cast including Lia Williams and Wunmi Mosaku as a social worker who’s caught in a media storm after a girl in her care disappears. Did someone say 'gritty'?
It starts on Wednesday 10th January at 9pm on Channel 4.
Courtesy of ITV
Olivia Cooke plays Becky in Vanity Fair

Vanity Fair

Some people say there are too many adaptations of classic novels but to that I say, hush vile snakes! Heed thy artful tongue. Instead let us rejoice in the bounty that mortal man has slaved to create with pen and ink to delight our souls and let us cast our faces hither because ITV is making Vanity Fair.
Rising star Olivia Cooke (she’s from Oldham, y’know) plays Becky Sharp in this seven-part adaptation of William Makepeace Thackeray’s famous novel.
Becky's story is one of “villainy, crime, merriment, lovemaking, jilting, laughing, cheating, fighting and dancing.” Sounds like my Thursday night.
Filming continues until the beginning of February and Vanity Fair is anticipated to be on our screens later this year.

The Woman In White

Ok, so this is an another adaptation of a book written by a man but it’s got Jessie Buckley in it and she is one of the best women ever so that’s good enough for me. And if you haven’t read the book, you’re in for a psychologically gruelling treat (the best kind!).
Writer Fiona Seres (who also adapted The Lady Vanishes) has reworked Wilkie Collins’ gripping novel for the small screen, with Ben Hardy as Walter Hartright and (I may have already mentioned her) Jessie Buckley of War And Peace and Taboo fame as Marian Halcombe.
“It’s really exciting to be playing a woman like Marian who has such a strength and rooted integrity. In the midst of this Victorian male-puppeteered world where suspense, interrogation and speculative intoxication is what drives this story forward you find Marian, who is undefined by her sex and undefined by her society. She is the Janis Joplin of her time,” said Buckley in a statement.
How can you not love a woman who comes out with that quality of sentence?
Filming has begun and it will get a 2018 release but the month is to be announced.
Courtesy of ITV
Archie Panjabi as Mona Harcourt in Next of Kin

Next Of Kin

HOLY HELL is that Kalinda from The Good Wife?
Actually it's Britain's own bloody talented Archie Panjabi in a new role in this new ITV drama.
Synopsis: Whip-smart doctor Mona Harcourt (Panjabi) lives in London with her political lobbyist husband. When a bomb goes off in the city her brother, Kareem, is abducted and murdered in Pakistan and...I'm already tense.
Starts Monday 8th January on ITV.

Kiss Me First

Details are scant at this stage, but Channel 4 is promising “a bold and ambitious new series” centring around a young female gamer, played by Tallulah Haddon, and that sounds good to me.
Courtesy of Channel 4
The cast of Derry Girls

Derry Girls

"This will be the This Is England for the north of Ireland," my friend announced when the trailer for Derry Girls appeared on our screens. Let's hope he's right.
Written by Lisa McGee, this is a show about the trials and tribulations of growing up as a young woman in Northern Ireland in the '90s. I am reliably informed it is very, very funny.
Starts Thursday 4th January on Channel 4.

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