Keeley Hawes stars as widow Alice in ITV's Finding Alice

January 2021 best dramas: What to watch on BBC, ITV, C4 and Netflix

Keeley Hawes stars in two top new series - Finding Alice on ITV and It's a Sin on C4

| Updated:

The Christmas and New Year holidays might be over, but there’s still plenty to be jolly about as there’s some cracking TV coming up this month. So what are the January 2021 best dramas?

Here’s everything you need to cheer you up in what can often be a cold, skint and sober month. And that was before the pandemic!

Keeley Hawes stars as widow Alice in ITV's Finding Alice
Keeley Hawes stars as a recently bereaved widow in Finding Alice (Credit: ITV)

January 2021 best dramas: What to watch on the top channels

The Pembrokeshire Murders, ITV1

The Pembrokeshire Murders airs across three nights, starting on Monday January 11 and continuing on the 12 and 13.

Luke Evans – sexy Hollywood actor alert! – stars as conscientious, recently-divorced detective Steve Wilkins.

Read more: Dancing On Ice 2021: ITV announces transmission date and releases new trailer

He investigates the cold case of two double homicides and eventually brings the ‘Bullseye killer’ John Cooper to justice.

Actor Keith Allen, also dad of singer Lily Allen, stars as the serial killer who evades justice for years.

His most arrogant mistake was appearing on TV darts game show Bullseye, after which police were able to match him with an artist’s impression of the killer.

The other star of the show is, of course, the moody Welsh landscape.

The Pembrokeshire Murders true story
Luke Evans stars in The Pembrokeshire Murders (Credit: ITV)

Finding Alice, ITV1

The ever likeable Keeley Hawes stars as mum Alice, whose life is ripped apart by the premature death of her husband (Jason Merrells).

In Finding Alice, the new widow must relearn how to live her life without her husband of 20 years.

Soon, Alice discovers that her deceased husband Harry isn’t quite what he seemed.

Read more: To Olivia starring Keeley Hawes: Is it based on a true story? How can I watch it?

She finds evidence of debt, secrets and criminality.

The six-part drama is due to start on Sunday January 17 2021 at 9pm.

It’s written by the writers of The Durrells and is undoubtedly going to be a big hit.

TV legends Joanna Lumley and Nigel Havers also star in the dark comedy drama.

The Bay ITV generic photo of cast
January 2021 best dramas: The Bay returns with a second series and an impressive cast (Credit: ITV)

The Bay, ITV1

The Bay begins on Wednesday January 20 2021 at 9pm on ITV1.

A second series of the crime drama follows the success of the first, which aired in 2019.

Morven Christie returns as police family liaison officer DS Lisa Armstrong for a brand new case.

But things have changed – she’s been demoted after her suspension for withholding vital evidence.

As if that wasn’t humiliating enough, she is now answerable to Taheen Modak’s character DC ‘Med’ Kharim – the novice she was training up in the first series.


Daniel Ryan returns as DI Tony Manning, as does former EastEnders star Lindsey Coulson as Lisa’s mum Penny.

An impressive new cast includes Stephen Tompkinson, Joe Absolom, James Cosmo, Sunetra Sarker, Julia Haworth and Sharon Small.

Marcella Anna Friel
New hair, new location, new danger – Anna Friel is back as Marcella on ITV1 (Credit: ITV)

Marcella, ITV1

Anna Friel returns as Marcella in late Jan/early Feb.

Following on from the dramatic conclusion of the previous series, the new eight-parter sees Marcella in Belfast as an undercover detective.

She has taken on the new identity of Keira, and has infiltrated the infamous Maguire crime family.

But, as she investigates their activities, questions come to the fore about how much she’s embraced the Keira personality and left Marcella behind.

The third series also stars Amanda Burton, Ray Panthaki and Hugo Speer.

See trailer below.

Olly Alexander in It's a Sin
Years and Years singer Olly Alexander (centre) stars as Richie Tozier in It’s a Sin (Credit: Channel 4)

It’s a Sin, Channel 4

Russell T Davies’ new series – his first since Years and Years – is loosely based on his own experiences from the early 80s.

The drama, due to air in mid-Jan, takes us back to London in 1981 when the Aids virus hits.

Like many of his dramas, including Queer as Folk, it will focus on a serious subject without missing out on the fun of the times – including relationships and music.

The five-parter stars Years and Years singer Olly Alexander (not connected to the BBC One drama), Keeley Hawes, Neil Patrick Harris and Stephen Fry.

Russell has said the of the new series: “I looked away for years. Finally, I have put Aids at the centre of a drama.”

It’s a Sin kicks off on Friday January 22 at 9pm.

Stephen Fry stars in It's a Sin on C4
Stephen Fry stars in It’s a Sin (Credit: Channel 4)

February 2021 best dramas: What’s coming up

James Nesbitt plays a Northern-Irish detective on the hunt for an assassin in Bloodlands on BBC One – due to air in February.

Line of Duty creator Jed Mercurio executive produces, so it promises to be decent.

Unforgotten returns to ITV in mid-Feb.

Series four reunites Nicola Walker and Sanjeev Bhaskar, who must crack the case of a dead Millwall supporter.

The main cast will be joined by Sheila Hancock, Susan Lynch and former Easties star Lucy Speed.

Nicola Walker and Sanjeev Bhaskar reunite in the fourth series of Unforgotten (Credit: ITV)
Nicola Walker and Sanjeev Bhaskar reunite in the fourth series of Unforgotten (Credit: ITV)

The Drowning will air on Channel 5 in February.

It’s a four-part thriller set in Dublin, starring Jill Halfpenny, Jonas Armstrong and Rupert Penry-Jones.

We see Jodie catch sight of teenage boy Daniel, who she is convinced is her missing son.

But is he? And how far will she go to find out the truth?

Meanwhile, Katherine Kelly stars in the second series of ITV’s Innocent.

She portrays an English teacher embroiled in scandal and accused of murder.

And Ben Miller leads the cast in Professor T, a crime drama about an eccentric criminology professor who helps the police.


The Pembrokeshire Murders will begin on ITV1 at 9pm on Monday January 11 2021.

What drama are you most looking forward to in January 2021? Leave us a comment on our Facebook page @EntertainmentDailyFix.

Helen Fear
TV Editor