Blue Lights cast

Blue Lights renewed for season 3 and 4 as BBC announces 11 new shows – including The Split spin-off and Gareth Southgate drama

It's an eclectic assortment of new drama

Blue Lights has been renewed for seasons 3 and 4 on BBC One, alongside a huge slate of exciting new drama.

The news comes as the BBC announced 11 new dramas to premiere on the platform in the coming months. These include a spin-off to Abi Morgan’s hit legal drama The Split and a new Gareth Southgate drama.

Here’s everything you need to know about Blue Lights seasons 3 and 4, plus the 11 new BBC commissions.

Nathan Braniff as Tommy Foster and Katherine Devlin as Annie Conlon in their police uniforms looking at the camera for a promotional shot
The second season hasn’t aired yet, but Blue Lights is getting two new seasons (Credit: BBC/Two Cities Television)

1. Blue Lights seasons 3 and 4

The critically-acclaimed Belfast police drama hasn’t even aired its second season yet, but it’ll be back for two more.

Writers Declan Lawn and Adam Patterson said: “We’re thrilled that the BBC is committing to Blue Lights in this way. From the beginning, we wanted to write a show that had scale and ambition in its storytelling, and this decision gives us everything we need to do that.”

While we don’t know much of the plot of Blue Lights seasons 3 and 4, we do know a little bit about the upcoming season.

Set exactly a year after the dramatic conclusion of season 1, Grace, Annie and Tommy are facing new challenges as they mature as police officers. On the streets of Belfast, new gangs compete to fill the space left by the McIntyre gang – making policing more difficult than ever.

Joseph Fiennes will portray Gareth Southgate in the new James Graham drama
Joseph Fiennes will portray Gareth Southgate in the new James Graham drama (Credit: BBC/Gary William Ogle)

2. Dear England

Based on the hit James Graham play of the same name, Dear England is a fictionalised account of Gareth Southgate‘s England football management story. It explores England’s woeful football record on the world stage and the impact of football to the national identity.

Joseph Fiennes will portray Gareth Southgate, with James Graham (Sherwood) writing the series for television.

3. Film Club

Film Club is a new romantic comedy from Sex Education actor Aimee Lou Wood and SAS Rogue Heroes‘ Ralph Davis. It tells the story of Tom and Evie, two film lovers who take the time to watch a movie in her garage each week. The pair are desperately in love with each other, but nobody’s said it.

When Tom gets a new job that will send him to the other side of the country, Evie only has a few weeks on ‘film clubs’ left to confess her feelings.

The six-episode series will air on BBC Three and BBC iPlayer, with Aimee also starring in the lead role of Evie.

Aimee said: “When Ralph and I met a decade ago we knew pretty much instantly that we wanted to create something together and this feels deeply organic and idiosyncratic and right.”

4. Lions (working title)

A new Glasgow-set drama about two men set across three decades. Niall and Ruben used to consider each other brothers. In the present day, Ruben’s arrival at Niall’s wedding leads to an outburst of violence. ‘Lions’ takes us back to the 1980s, when they first met, the highs and lows of friendship, and the inevitable falling out. It explores how the two men find themselves changing as the world around them changes too. And it asks a pivotal question: What does it mean to be a man?

The series is written by award-winning writer and performer Richard Gadd (Baby Reindeer).

5. Mint

BAFTA-nominated writer and filmmaker Charlotte Regan (Scrapper) makes her TV debut with Mint. Mint explores the dark world of being part of a crime family from a point of view most don’t consider. What is it like to be a child, or a mother, or grandmother, inside that world?

Rachel said: “Mint is a world I’ve been thinking about for such a long time. It’s the project that’s stuck with me endlessly and I could never get it out of my head. I’m so excited to be making it with the legends at the BBC.

BBC Drama director Lindsay Salt said: “Championing the females in the family, it shows a very different side to what a life of crime is really like for those who live alongside that world.”

William Mager
William Mager is the writer of landmark new thriller Reunion (Credit: BBC/Peter Ives Photography)

6. Reunion

Reunion is a new thriller about Brennan, a deaf man who is determined to get redemption. This means unravelling his complicated past and the events that led to him being incarcerated.

The series is a landmark first. Written by deaf writer William
Mager, it features a deaf main character, with the majority of the cast and crew also being deaf or using British Sign Language. Reunion also hopes to hire an inclusive production team for the series.

The series will be filmed in Sheffield and Doncaster and will air on BBC One and BBC iPlayer.

7. The Dream Lands

BAFTA-winning creator Kayleigh Llewellyn will adapt Rosa Rankin-Gee’s acclaimed coming-of-age novel Dreamland for TV.

Set in Margate in 2039, nothing about the world has gotten better. Global temperatures continue to soar, and the political climate is volatile. Chance is a young woman who falls for Franky, despite the social divide between them. However, through her connection to Franky she discovers her identity and community’s very existence is being threatened by the government.

Rebecca Hall
Rebecca Hall will star as Claire, a teacher who is told she’s hearing things (Credit: BBC/Daemian Smith and Christine Suare)

8. The Listeners

Rebecca Hall stars as Claire, a school teacher, who starts hearing a strange humming sound that nobody else can hear. The noise starts taking over her life, despite no evidence of a medical cause, creating friction with her family.

When Rebecca discovers a former pupil, Kyle (Ollie West), can hear the same noise – the pair become firm friends. They meet others like them, who can hear the noise, and become embroiled in a conspiracy.

The Listeners will air on BBC One. It also stars Prasanna Puwanarajah (The Crown), Amr Waked (Ramy), Gayle Rankin (Men), Mia Tharia (Phoenix Rise), Franc Ashman (The Bastard Son), Samuel Edward Cook (Peaky Blinders), Karen Henthorn (Coronation Street), Lucy Sheen (Ping Pong) and Ian Mercer (Doctors).

9. The Ministry of Time

Time-travel drama The Ministry of Time is based on the heavily-anticipated Kaliane Bradley novel of the same name.

A new government department – The Ministry of Time – collects ‘expats’ from across history for an experiment. These expats are then paired with regular people from the 21st century to help them acclimatise to life in the modern world.

One such expat is Commander Graham Gore, an officer on Sir John Franklin’s doomed 1845 Arctic expedition, who must now contend with a world nearly two centuries older than he remembers.

Separated from everyone they ever loved in a strange new world, the expats find themselves at the centre of a terrifying conspiracy.

Lindsay Salt said: “It’s a series that feels utterly unique, fusing genres of romance, thriller, sci-fi and state of the nation drama. It’s both epic and intimate with an array of memorable characters, and a beautiful central relationship.”

Ursula Rani Sarma headshot
Ursula Rani Sarma will take the reins from Abi Morgan for the new The Split spin-off (Credit: BBC/Credit: Helen Warner)

10. The Split Up

A new spin-off to Abi Morgan’s hit legal drama The Split, The Split Up moves the action to Manchester, where family lawyers The Kishans rule the roost.

The Kishans are a big deal in Manchester divorce law, with scores of high profile clientele. However, the future of the Kishans’ family business is at stake when a devastating family secret becomes public knowledge.

Writer Ursula Rani Sarma said: “I watched The Split with admiration over the years and I was honoured to be asked to create The Split Up: a spin off which introduces a whole new family and city while still holding on to the warmth, humour and heartbreak of Abi Morgan’s original series. To be able to place a contemporary British Asian family, helmed by brilliant women, at the heart of a primetime drama series is a dream come true for me as a writer who believes strongly in the importance ofrepresentation on our screens.”

11. The City Is Ours

Liverpool-set drug drama The City Is Ours tells the story of Michael, a man who runs a cocaine empire. Michael’s entire life has revolved around organised crime, until one day, then unexpected happens – he meets and falls in love with a woman called Diana.

As Michael’s priorities change, the business he runs with his best friend Ronnie is at risk of collapse. A battle for power emerges, as the gang is threatened by outsiders.

12. We Go Again (w/t)

New BBC Three comedy-drama We Go Again tells the story of three stubborn siblings who are determined not be separated by authorities when their mum leaves.

The series, from award-winning writer Janice Okoh, is described as a “an irreverent portrait of black working class teenage life”.

Read more: BBC One announces new season of Strike with Tom Burke and Holliday Grainger: The Ink Black Heart is coming soon!

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Susan Brett
TV Writer