WELL, that’s us midway through September and despite the recent heatwave, the longer nights are beginning to feel palpable. With the living room curtains getting drawn ever earlier each evening, what better way to pass the time than by getting cooried in to watch some telly?

Inspired by the return of The Morning Show to Apple TV+ (see below), this week we’re going themed with a list of the best newsroom and journalism-set TV dramas, thrillers and comedies to enjoy. A bit of a busman’s holiday for us on The Herald Magazine, but here you go …
 The Herald:
The Morning Show

How true to life is The Morning Show? Those in the know say it is pretty accurate, not least because the Apple TV+ drama draws inspiration from Top of the Morning: Inside the Cutthroat World of Morning TV, a tell-all book penned by Brian Stelter, former chief media correspondent for CNN.

Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon lead the cast as ambitious co-anchors of a fictional US breakfast show. The third series, which returned last week after an almost two-year hiatus, charts the fallout of a “nuclear”-level cyber-attack on the UBA broadcast network.

The stellar cast includes Billy Crudup, Mark Duplass, Nestor Carbonell, Karen Pittman, Greta Lee and Julianna Margulies, with Jon Hamm and Nicole Beharie joining the line-up for the latest run.

Watch series one to three on Apple TV+ with new episodes available weekly
The Newsreader

The award-winning Australian drama starring Anna Torv (Fringe, Mindhunter, The Last of Us) and Sam Reid (Prime Suspect 1973, Lambs of God, Interview With The Vampire) returns to BBC Two for a second series later in the autumn, with events picking up a year on in 1987. 

Power duo Helen Norville and Dale Jennings – played by Torv and Reid – are now established as “The Golden Couple of News”. Yet, all is not quite as it seems. According to the blurb: “To the outside world, they present a glowing image of success and romance. But the truth is more complex …”

The Newsreader deftly blends searing nostalgia (its debut series, set in 1986, covered the Challenger disaster, the arrival of Halley’s Comet and royal wedding fever as Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson prepared to marry) alongside thorny themes such as misogyny and sexism. Buckle up. 

Coming to BBC Two and BBC iPlayer this autumn

The Herald: Sarah Snook with Brian Cox in Succession


The long list of superlatives to describe Succession are well-trodden by this stage, with the US satirical comedy-drama about billionaire media moguls behaving badly widely regarded as one of the most seminal pieces of television in recent times. 

Brian Cox heads up the diabolical clan as ruthless and tyrannical patriarch Logan Roy. He is the founder and man at the helm of the Waystar Royco, a New York-based conglomerate which has its tentacles into everything from newspapers and TV stations to a cruise line and theme parks.

Across four series, Succession charts the battle of Roy’s rivalrous offspring Kendall, Shiv and Roman – played by Jeremy Strong, Sarah Snook and Kieran Culkin respectively – as they attempt to supplant him and outdo each other to take over the company reins. 

Watch series one to four on Sky Atlantic and NOW, or via Prime Video
Not Dead Yet

Obituary writers tend to get pigeonholed as being creatively frustrated and kept away from chasing the “real” stories. While Not Dead Yet does buy into that trope, it also manages to elevate how important this section of a newspaper is.

Gina Rodriguez – known for her role in Jane The Virgin – plays Nell Serrano, a former reporter who gave up her job to move to the UK with the love of her life. After they split, she returns home with her tail between her legs to her old newspaper where, it being five years later, things have moved on. 

Nell is assigned to cover obituaries. The twist? She begins to encounter the ghosts of the people she is writing about. While telling their own stories, said ghosts offer sage advice on how to rebuild her life. Kooky but fun. Not Dead Yet also stars the excellent Lauren Ash from Superstore.

Watch series one on Disney+
After Life

Few TV shows have so perfectly captured the mundanity and magic of working on a local newspaper as After Life, the Netflix comedy-drama created by Ricky Gervais. 

Among the relatable stories that gruff veteran reporter Tony Johnson (Gervais) covers for the Tambury Gazette are a baby “that looks exactly like Adolf Hitler”, a man who can play two recorders with his nose, a dog poo bin mistaken for a post box and the eye-watering antics of a swingers club.

Warm, funny and life-affirming, After Life sees Johnson attempt to navigate a world in grey-scale following the death of his beloved wife and soulmate. The brilliant cast includes Ashley Jensen, Gervais’s co-star in Extras, as well as Tony Way, Diane Morgan and Kerry Godliman. 

Watch all three series on Netflix 

State of Play

How can it be 20 years since State of Play first aired on BBC? The twisty plot and epic cast (John Simm, James McAvoy, Kelly Macdonald, Bill Nighy and David Morrissey, no less) made it spellbinding Sunday night viewing.

A classic of the genre, it delves into the murky goings-on of Stephen Collins (Morrissey), an ambitious MP whose research assistant mysteriously falls to her death on the London Underground. 
Not long afterwards, revelations of an affair between the two hit the headlines. 

Step forward Cal McCaffrey (Simm), a journalist and Collins’s ex-campaign manager, who vows to uncover the truth. The hit series was later turned into a Washington DC-set movie starring Russell Crowe and Ben Affleck (adequately fine but not a patch on the original).

Available to watch on Prime Video, UKTV Play, BritBox and Apple TV+ 

The Bold Type

Centring on the lives of three young women navigating the tumultuous realms of publishing as they carve out careers at a top women’s magazine, the comedy-drama is loosely inspired by Joanna Coles, former editor-in-chief of Marie Claire and Cosmopolitan. 

A 2017 article in the New York Times described The Bold Type – set in the fictional New York-based Scarlet magazine – as “a modern gloss on Sex and the Single Girl”. 

The trio of Jane Sloan, Kat Edison and Sutton Brady are played by Katie Stevens (Faking It), Aisha Dee (Safe Home) and Meghann Fahy (The White Lotus) respectively. 

Watch all five series on BBC iPlayer 

Sharp Objects

Based on Gillian Flynn’s 2006 debut novel of the same name, Sharp Objects is a psychological thriller that stars Amy Adams as Camille Preaker, a crime reporter struggling to keep her head above water. 

Dealing with alcoholism and newly discharged from a psychiatric hospital where she was treated for years of self-harming, Preaker returns to her Missouri hometown to investigate the murders of two girls. 

Matters aren’t helped by staying in her childhood home under the critical eye of an overbearing socialite mother, played with aplomb by Patricia Clarkson. As the mystery around the case deepens, Preaker increasingly grapples with the spectres of her own past.

Available to watch on Prime Video, NOW and Apple TV+
Press Gang

Hands up if watching Dexter Fletcher and Julia Sawalha, aka bad boy Spike and strait-laced Lynda, in the cult favourite ITV children’s comedy drama made you aspire to become a journalist. No, just me? 

Press Gang, which aired from 1989 to 1993, has its roots in Scotland. It was penned by Paisley-born Steven Moffat, based on an idea coined by his headmaster father Bill about a school newspaper (both Moffats were working as teachers at the time). 

It marked the TV writing debut for the younger Moffat, who has since gone on to weave his genius into shows such as Doctor Who, Sherlock, Jekyll and Dracula. More than half the episodes of Press Gang were directed by the late Bob Spiers of Fawlty Towers and Absolutely Fabulous fame. 

Available to watch on BritBox, ITVX, Prime Video and Apple TV+

Field of Blood

Another outing for David Morrissey in a journalism saga, this time as a newspaper editor in the two-part BBC Scotland crime drama based on the book by Denise Mina, which first aired in 2011. 

Set in the 1980s, Jayd Johnson plays Paddy Meehan, an aspiring reporter on the fictional Daily News in Glasgow, seeking to unpick the tangled web surrounding the murder of a young boy. Among the cast are Still Game creator Ford Kiernan, as well as Peter Capaldi, Derek Riddell and Gavin Mitchell. 

A second series, drawing from Mina’s follow-up novel The Dead Hour, is also available. Both instalments were adapted and directed by David Kane – the lead writer on seven series of Shetland – which is further testament to its pedigree.  

Available to watch on Prime Video and Apple TV+