Beat the extended winter weather with four brand new TV shows on the way. The first, The White Queen, starts this month on BBC 1.
The White Queen, BBC One, April
Novelist Philippa Gregory is still writing novels but for their new dramatisation of her work, the Beeb have resorted to her so-called Cousins' War novels.
Set against the iconic backdrop of the War of the Roses, The White Queen is a major new ten-hour adapation. It tells the stories of the women caught up in the ongoing conflict for the throne, women who will stop at nothing to support their own causes and those of the ones they love.
Expect, naturally, love and loss, seduction and deception, betrayal and murder, as the women in question - Elizabeth Woodville, Margaret Beaufort and Anne Neville - manipulate ruthlessly behind the scenes with fearless ambition.
The year is 1464 and England has been at war for nine years battling over who is the rightful King of England, a war between two sides of the same family, The House of York and The House of Lancaster.
The House of York’s Edward IV (played by Max Irons from Red Riding Hood) is crowned King of England with the help of the master manipulator Lord Warwick “The Kingmaker,” (James Frain True Blood, The Tudors).
But when Edward falls in love and secretly marries a beautiful young widow, the commoner Elizabeth Woodville (Rebecca Ferguson), Warwick’s plan for control over the English throne comes a cropper. Frustrated by the new Queen’s influence he will stop at nothing to maintain his grip on the King.
The most beautiful woman in the land, Elizabeth Woodville marries for the love of her King, with the help of her mother Jacquetta (Academy & Tony award nominee Janet McTeer) a self proclaimed sorceress.
Elizabeth’s enemy is the Lancastrian Margaret Beaufort (played by Amanda Hale from The Crimson Petal & The White). Margaret is a highly religious woman who would willingly lay down her life to see her young son Henry Tudor take the throne. And then there is Anne Neville (Faye Marsay), Lord Warwick The Kingmaker’s daughter, a pawn in her father’s battle for control. She marries the King’s younger brother Richard Duke of Gloucester (played by Aneurin Bernard from Ironclad, Spring Awakening).
Hannibal, Sky Living, May
Be very afraid. Hannibal Lecter returns, played by Mads Mikkelsen, who you will recall as the baddie in Casino Royale. (He was also brilliant in Tomas Vinterberg's recent Danish language film The Hunt, which is a must-see.) Hugh Dancy plays the FBI agent on his case, while Dancy's actual wife is played by Claire Danes from Homeland.
Dates, Channel 4, June
Neil Maskell played the assassin Arby in Utopia, seen on Channel 4 some months back. He is also to be found in this new nine-part drama about 21st-century dating brought to you by the folks from Skins. Sheridan Smith, Andrew Scott (Sherlock's Moriarty) and Greg McHugh (Howard in Fresh Meat) also take part. Channel 4, incidentally, is currently planning a season on dating, as befits a season like spring, love and fresh buds in the air etc.
Rebound, Channel 4, May
This French eight-part series features undead kids knocking on windows and frightening the life out of innocent parties, who had assumed their holliers in the mountains would not feature such unwelcome phenomena. A coach party of adults and children are lost in the Alps and trying to find their way home. Creepy, chilly, but classy, apparently and with a murder to be solved. Which at least gives it an air of gritty reality too (aside from the undead kids).