20 Period Dramas I Can’t Wait To Watch In 2022

After a few years of Covid-fuelled disruption, the period drama release slate for 2022 is looking pretty healthy! There are lots of new period dramas coming up in 2022 which I want to watch.

This post is just my personal pick of period dramas that I am most looking forward to in 2022 – if you want to see the full list of what is due for release this year check out the full period drama guide on the blog.

Becoming Elizabeth

Following on from The White Queen and The Spanish Princess, Starz now brings us Becoming Elizabeth, a new eight-part drama about the formative years of Tudor monarch Elizabeth I.

German actress Alicia Von Rittberg will play the flame-haired monarch, supported by a cast of period drama stalwarts. Romola Garai (Atonement, Emma) will play the future Queen Mary I, and Jessica Raine (Call the Midwife) will play Catherine Parr. Tom Cullen (Downton Abbey, Knightfall) will play Thomas Seymour.

Release date – 12th June on Starzplay UK

Bridgerton – Series 2

The second series of the biggest period drama series of recent years lands this spring. This time, the focus will be on head of the family Lord Anthony Bridgerton and his love life. Rising star Simone Ashley has been cast as his new leading lady.

Bridgerton has become something of a cultural phenomenon so the question is how will they top series one? Will Lady Whistledown be unmasked? What will happen when Lady Eloise enters society? Who is the new male Featherington heir? There are so many questions to be answered!

Release date – 25th March on Netflix.

Image – Netflix
The Crown – Series 5

Who isn’t looking forward to the next series of The Crown? Especially with the new and updated roster of impressive actors. Imelda Staunton will take on the title role for the last two series of this smash hit, with Jonathan Pryce portraying Prince Philip. Elizabeth Debicki and Dominic West have been cast as Princess Diana and Prince Charles respectively.

The fifth season will take place in the ’90s, which wasn’t exactly a good decade for the queen. She called 1992 her ‘annus horribilis‘ – that was the year that a fire destroyed large parts of Windsor Castle and multiple royal marriages ended. I guess we can expect A LOT of drama then.

Release date – November 2022 on Netflix.

Image – Netflix
The Confessions of Frannie Langton

I read this gothic novel by Sara Collins during the very first weeks of lockdown, and it was truly gripping. So I’m not surprised its being made into a new mini-series for ITV.

Set against the dazzling opulence of Georgian London The Confessions of Frannie Langton narrates Frannie’s journey from a Jamaican plantation to the grand Mayfair mansion of celebrated scientist George Benham and his exquisitely beautiful wife, Madame Marguerite Benham.

Release date – sometime in 2022.

Derry Girls – Season 3

I am truly going to savour the forthcoming series of Derry Girls as unfortunately it will be the final one.

If you don’t know what Derry Girls is all about, in a nutshell viewers follow a gang of girls navigating their teens in 1990’s Derry against a backdrop of The Troubles. Its jaw-achingly funny, but at the same there are some really stark moments when the history just hits you in the face.

Release date – 12th April on Channel 4

Emily

The first truly biographical film on my list for 2022, Emily will tell the story of English novelist Emily Bronte, the author of the classic Wuthering Heights. The biopic will chart Brontë’s life as she navigates the world as a 19th century woman who wants to write. Sex Education’s Emma Mackey stars.

Release date – sometime in 2022.

The Essex Serpent

Another best-selling book adaptation, The Essex Serpent will follow a newly widowed woman, played by Claire Danes. She relocates from Victorian London to a small village in the county of Essex. She soon becomes intrigued by a local superstition about a mythical creature known as the Essex Serpent that has allegedly returned to the area.

Tom Hiddleston also stars as the Reverend William Ransome. Could this be Hot Priest Mark Two?!

Release date – May 13th on Apple TV

The First Lady

In the East Wing of the White House, many of history’s most impactful and world-changing decisions have been hidden from view, made by America’s famous first ladies. And now this new series from Showtime will shine a light on them, not their presidential husbands!

Season One will focus on Michelle Obama, Betty Ford and Eleanor Roosevelt, and one glance at the cast list says we can expect good things. Oscar winner Viola Davis will play former first lady Michelle Obama,  Gillian Anderson will star as Eleanor Roosevelt, and Michelle Pfeiffer  will star as Betty Ford.

Release date – sometime in 2022.

The Gallows Pole

Set against the backdrop of the coming industrial revolution in 18th century Yorkshire, this new drama follows the enigmatic David Hartley, played by Michael Socha (Chernobyl), as he assembles a gang of weavers and land-workers to embark upon a revolutionary criminal enterprise that will capsize the economy and become the biggest fraud in British history.

A meaty and gritty working-class drama, this is sure to stand out from the crowd and do well.

Release date – sometime in 2022.

The Gilded Age

The American Gilded Age was a period of immense economic change, of great conflict between the old ways and brand new systems, and of huge fortunes made and lost.  Against the backdrop of this transformation, the story begins in 1882 with young Marian Brook (Louisa Jacobson) moving from rural Pennsylvania to New York City after the death of her father to live with her thoroughly old money aunts.

This nine-part series has been written and produced by Julian Fellowes so this will be one for Downton Abbey fans!

Release date – 25th January on Sky Atlantic

Image – Sky
Miss Austen

Jane Austen is a perpetually popular TV choice. However, the latest Austen offering in development is based on a novel inspired by Jane Austen’s sister Cassandra’s infamous burning of Jane’s letters.

There are not many details about this one in the public domain at present, but I’m sure all Austen officiandos will be clambering to see it!

Release date – sometime in 2022

Mr Malcolm’s List

Now this new Regency film has a back story! Initially website Refinery29 adapted the book of the same name into a short film back in 2019. It even featured some Hollywood big-hitters such as Gemma Chan and Frieda Pinto. Momentum grew, and now Mr Malcolm’s List is a full feature length movie due to hit our screens in 2022!

There have been a couple of cast changes in the interim, with Sanditon’s Theo James and Emily In Paris’ Ashley Park joining a diverse and exciting cast. Dare I say it, could Mr Malcolm’s List be the new Bridgerton?!

Release date – July 2022 in cinemas

My Policeman

My Policeman is an adaptation of Bethan Roberts’s 2012 novel of the same name which centres on Marion and Tom, a school teacher and policeman, who meet and fall in love in Brighton in the 1950s. However, Tom is also in a relationship with Patrick, a museum curator.

Pop star-turned-actor Harry Styles and Emma Corrin (The Crown) star in what is set to be an emotional tear-jerker.

Release date – sometime in 2022.

Nell Gwyn

Emma Mackey has had a busy year as she is also set to take the titular role in a new movie about Charles II’s most famous mistress, Nell Gwyn. Based on the award-winning play by Jessica Swale, the story follows the life of ‘pretty, witty Nell’ and her role in the 17th Century theatre.

No word on who will play the Merry Monarch Charles II, but more details will be released soon.

Release date – sometime in 2022.

Peaky Blinders – Series 6

In what will surely be one of the biggest TV events of the year, Tommy Shelby and family return to our TV screens for their final outing. Tommy himself (Cillian Murphy) has said this last series will be more ‘gothic’ and intense than previous series, and I think we could safely expect a showdown with fascist Oswald Mosley.

But don’t worry too much about withdrawal symptoms… rumour has it that a Peaky Blinders feature film is in the works.

Release date – 27th February on BBC One

Persuasion

Anyone who says you can have too many Jane Austen adaptations is a liar!

It’s time for Persuasion to have another reworking, this time starring Dakota Johnson as heroine Anne Elliott. But this adaptation is set to take a modern, witty approach to the beloved story while still remaining true to Jane Austen’s classic novel.

Release date – July 15th on Netflix

Image – Netflix
Sanditon – Series 2

After an energetic, fan-led campaign, the previously cancelled Sandition (based on an unfinished novel by Jane Austen) is back for a second series.

Viewers will see the return of old characters including heroine Charlotte Heywood. However there will also be a collection of new characters who are sure to make their mark on Sanditon. I’m particularly looking forward to the addition of Versailles’ own Alexander Vlahos as a Byronic artiste!

Release Date – 21st March on BritBox

Image – PBS
The Serpent Queen

Another female-led historical drama from Starz, The Serpent Queen will be an eight part drama about Catherine de Medici.

Based on Leonie Frieda’s book Catherine de Medici: Renaissance Queen of France, The Serpent Queen is described as “a cunning account of one of the most influential women ever to wear a crown’. And who will play that special women? The honour falls to Samantha Morton, who has also previously played Mary, Queen of Scots.

Release date – sometime in 2022

A Special Relationship

Elizabeth Taylor is a Hollywood icon, so it was only a matter of time before a biopic was made about her life.

However, A Special Relationship won’t concentrate on her career or her infamous eight marriages. Instead it will tell the story of how Elizabeth (played by Rachel Weisz) hired Roger Wall, a gay man who’d been raised in the homophobic South, and was soon moved to become an AIDS activist.

Release date – sometime in 2022

The Wonder

At the moment Florence Pugh can do no wrong, so I think we can expect great things from this new Netflix adaptation of Emma Donoghue’s 2016 novel The Wonder. Think dark, creepy, psychological thriller vibes.

Set in Ireland c.1862, the story follows an English nurse called Lib Wright. She goes to a rural village to observe what locals consider it a miracle – an 11-year-old girl who has survived without food for months.

Release date – late 2022.

So there you have it! All the new period dramas from 2022 I’m looking forward to watching! Let me know which ones you will be heading to the cinema to see in the comments below.

Liked this post? Then why not check out one of my other blog posts about period dramas? And don’t forget to bookmark my 2022 period drama guide!

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