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TV and Culture Guide: What to Watch, Read and Listen to this January

TV and Culture Guide: What to Watch, Read and Listen to this January
Staying in
December 2023
Reading time 4 Minutes

A new year means new must-reads, music and TV

From the return of the region's favourite presenter Robson Green to James Arthur's new album ahead of his homecoming tour this year, here's our pick of the best entertainment this month.
What to Watch

The Tourist

New Year’s Day
BBC One and iPlayer
The thriller series The Tourist aired on New Year's Day 2022, and the BBC plans for the second season to be just as popular when it airs this year. Starring Jamie Dornan, the drama will be relocating from Australia to Ireland and Elliot and Helen will be confronted by friends and foes as they attempt to uncover the secrets of Elliot’s past. FYI – if you fancy binge watching all six episodes before you head back to work, they’ll be available to stream on BBC iPlayer from 6am on New Year's Day.

Fool Me Once

New Year’s Day
When ex-soldier Maya sees her supposedly-murdered husband on a secret nanny cam, she uncovers a deadly conspiracy that stretches deep into the past. Michelle Keegan was spotted filming on Burdock Way in Halifax town centre for this new Harlan Coben limited thriller series. Michelle and Joanna Lumley lead the cast.

Robson Green's Weekend Escapes

New Year’s Day
BBC Two and iPlayer
TV star Robson Green is back for a second series of his Weekend Escapes showcasing the North’s breathtaking landscapes and wealth of activities that are perfect for the mind and body. On each of his journeys, Robson tries an outdoor activity with a different famous face across the North East, Cumbria, Yorkshire and the Scottish Borders – from former TV personality Denise Welch to actors Kevin Whately and Mark Benton. Could this be the perfect way to banish the winter blues?

The Traitors

3rd January
BBC One and iPlayer
We just can’t contain our excitement for season two of The Traitors, having already binge-watched the first season, as well as the US and Aussie series. There will be 22 cast members taking part in the show and Claudia Winkleman is returning as host – but just who will The Traitors be and will The Faithfuls work it out? For those who haven’t seen it, here’s how it works: Traitors choose to 'murder' Faithfuls (removing them from the game) but Faithfuls are also given the chance to ‘banish’ Traitors (voting them off). The winner is a Traitor who remains undetected or a Faithful who gets to the end without being murdered. Episodes two and three will be available on iPlayer immediately after the first episode has aired.

Read More: 10 of the Best TV and Film Locations to Visit in Yorkshire

Waterloo Road

2nd January
BBC One and iPlayer
The third season since Waterloo Road’s relaunch will see eight new episodes available as a full boxset on BBC iPlayer, and they’ll air weekly on BBC One for those who aren’t into binge-watching. The new series will continue to explore real topics affecting teens and school staff but will Headteacher Kim Campbell (Angela Griffin) and her team have what it takes to stop the school from sinking?


7th January
Brenda Blethyn is back on our screens as DCI Vera Stanhope is reunited with her former colleague Joe Ashworth. In episode one of the new season Vera investigates the suspicious death of a market trader and reveals a web of secrets, while an enigmatic figure from her past returns. As the highly-anticipated 13th series of the hugely popular crime drama gets set for our screens, locations manager Andrew Edwards shared secrets from behind the scenes with us and told us just where we can expect to see the region's favourite Detective Chief Inspector this time. Find out more here.

What to Read

We Loved

Jackie Watson
As temperatures dropped at home, I found sunshine in this page-turner which transports readers to glorious Greece. Five days on a Greek island should offer time for a young woman to determine her future and when Anna unexpectedly falls in love with the quaint seaside village of Apokeri, a whole new life could be on the cards. But all isn’t what it seems as she encounters complex characters and finds herself enveloped in secrets. The question is: how far will she go to protect her new love? This feel-good debut is perfect for all lovers of women’s contemporary fiction, or anyone seeking sunshine. Newcastle-born Jackie Watson is the author of the new Apokeri trilogy, and Apokeri Bay is the first in the series.

Kristin Hannah
Take a trip back to the remote and unforgiving landscape of Alaska in the 1970s, where teenage Leni is trapped between the impulses of an unstable father and the desperate optimism of a mother in denial. As the winter draws closer, Leni must face the reality of her fractured home and what it means to be truly isolated. Hannah brilliantly examines the lengths people will go to in order to survive and the healing power of community. The tension of the book builds relentlessly with an ending that will leave you breathless. An ideal wintry read.

Rob Burrow, Kevin Sinfield
This wonderfully illustrated book has captured our hearts with its inspiring celebration of friendship from rugby legends and best friends Rob Burrow and Kevin Sinfield. The book contains simple and affirming messages of friendship, support and compassion between the two friends and has been brought to life by leading UK illustrators. Burrows, originally from Pontefract, and Sinfield played for Leeds Rhinos and became fast friends. Both have since become champions for charitable causes and you can read more about the pair’s work for the Motor Neurone Disease Association here. For every book sold, a donation will be made by Macmillan’s Children’s Books to MNDA and Leeds Hospital Charity.

Read More: Six New Memoirs From Famous Faces

On Our To-Read List

The Atlas Complex
Olivie Blake

9th January

In this finale to The Dark Academia there’s a race to survive as the Society recruits are faced with that they're willing to betray for limitless power – but who will be destroyed along the way? This novel is cliffhangers galore.

Cathy Sweeney

18th January

One winter morning on an ordinary day in Dublin, a woman leaves her husband and her teenage children and never comes back. She travels first by car, then train, then ferry then 48 hours later, alone in a cottage in Wales, she faces up to what she has been ignoring – signs of a breakdown. This is a thoughtful account of marriage and motherhood in the modern world.

Lottie Hazell

25th January

For Piglet (a childhood nickname that stuck), getting married is her opportunity to reinvent herself. Thirteen days before they are due to be married, Kit reveals an awful truth sure to spoil their happiness, but wouldn’t it be a waste for them to throw everything away now? This cleverly crafted debut is bound to be a popular one.

What to Listen To

Uplifting Podcasts for a Positive Start to the New Year

Hosted by psychologist Dr Laurie Santos, this podcast explores the true nature of happiness and how we so often look for it in the wrong places. In a recent highlight, Dr Santos looks at the value of workplace friendships and how important they can be for us.

A fear of failure is something that everyone struggles with. This podcast is a hilariously touching exploration of guests’ failures and what can be learned from them. We recommend jumping straight in with Miriam Margolyes discussing disappointing her parents.

A perfect option for when you need to clear your head. From examining how we sleep to looking at the power of kindness in our lives, this podcast is a great option for anyone who wants to lead a more mindful life.

Read More: Six Inspirational Podcasts from North East and Yorkshire Voices

New Music for 2024

Ballad of a Bystander
The Reytons

19th January

The Reytons, a popular indie-rock band from Rotherham, have announced their third studio album, Ballad Of A Bystander. For fans of vinyl, the album will also be exclusively pressed to zoetrope picture disc, limited to 1,000 copies and hand-numbered to order.

Bitter Sweet Love
James Arthur

26th January

New James Arthur music? Yes please! Bitter Sweet Love features two recently released singles, Blindside and A Year Ago, and we can’t wait to hear what James has been working on since we last heard from him.

Black Friday
Tom Odell

26th January

Since the release of the title track in September 2023, we’ve been looking forward to hearing more from Tom Odell. It’s great to hear more dates have been added to the Black Friday Tour in 2024 including a show at The Piece Hall, Halifax on 30th June.

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