Fox’s Accused is based on the British series Accused, created and written by the award-winning Jimmy McGovern. Check out others of his terrific series, like these seven.
Accused on Fox is an American anthology drama series developed by Primetime Emmy® winner Howard Gordon (Homeland, 24). It tells the stories of how ordinary people came to be caught up in extraordinary situations, then accused of a crime and ending up on trial. Each episode begins in court, then goes back in time to chronicle the events that lead up to the main character awaiting the guilty-or-innocent verdict in a courtroom. As viewers, we don’t know what the actual criminal charge is or how the person ended up on trial, so we speculate while the story unfolds and reveals the details.
The 2023 Fox show is based on and follows the structure of the original British Accused, the multi-award-winning 2010 BBC series created and written by International Emmy® Awards and BAFTA TV Awards winner Jimmy McGovern. It is full of gripping performances delivered by a cast that includes award-winning actors such as Sean Bean (Game of Thrones), Olivia Coleman (The Crown), Mackenzie Crook (Pirates of the Caribbean), Tom Ellis (Lucifer), Naomie Harris (Moonlight), and Andy Serkis (The Lord of the Rings), amongst others.
Unfortunately, the BBC’s Accused isn’t currently available for streaming in the US, but other programs that McGovern created and/or scripted are streaming here, including critically-acclaimed and viewer-favorite series that are also award winners or nominees.
Below are seven that you can start binge-watching this weekend, as they are all are available for streaming in the US on BritBox, the streaming service from two powerhouses of British television, the BBC and ITV. (No BritBox? No problem. Sign up and take advantage of their 7-day free trial, whether on the BritBox website or app, or on one of the streamer’s digital channels, like BritBox on Amazon.)
Time is an intense drama that portrays the harsh realities of life in a the modern British penal system. It stars Sean Bean (The Lord of the Rings) and Stephen Graham (The Irishman), and follows their respective characters, inmate Mark Cobden and prison officer Eric McNally.
Mark Cobden is a husband and father who is responsible for the death of an innocent man. Tortured by his memories of what happened, he accepts without argument his four-year sentence as penance for his crime. However, as a former teacher and new inmate, Mark is an easy target for the ruthless prison residents, and he learns the hard way what he should and shouldn’t do while he’s amongst them.
Working at the prison is Eric McNally, an honest man and dedicated officer who does his best to protect those in his charge, like Mark. But when a dangerous convict threatens to harm someone that Eric loves, Eric has an impossible choice to make: either do the convict’s bidding to keep his loved one safe, or jeopardize that person’s life as well as his own.
Time won the 2022 BAFTA TV Award for Best Mini-Series, and Sean Bean won both the 2021 Royal Television Society, UK Award for Best Performance in a Drama and the 2022 BAFTA TV Award for Leading Actor. The series will be back for a second season.
Before Time, Sean Bean brought home the Best Leading Actor Award at the 2018 BAFTAs for his emotionally-wrenching performance as Father Michael Kerrigan in the character-driven drama series Broken, whose stories of personal devastation ultimately can restore one’s faith in humanity.
The drama follows Father Kerrigan, a Catholic priest both haunted by childhood trauma and deeply troubled by his inability to do more to help his vulnerable, working-class parishioners in the north of England. One of them is Christina (Anna Friel, Marcella), a single mother and elder caretaker who is so broke, she can’t feed her three kids. Another is Helen (Muna Otaru, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit), also a single mother, but one whose son has mental health issues. And a third woman, Roz (Paula Malcomson, The Hunger Games), isn’t one of Father Kerrigan’s parishioners, but she confesses something shocking to him anyway.
The late, great Robbie Coltrane (Hagrid in Harry Potter) won three Best Actor BAFTA TV Awards for his performance as Dr. Edward “Fitz” Fitgerald, a heavy-drinking, chain-smoking, foul-mouthed gambling addict and a brilliant criminal psychologist who consults on cases for the Manchester Police, in this gritty crime drama series that aired in the UK from 1993 to 1996. (Like Accused, this series was remade in the US.)
Cracker consists of multi-episode stories that explore the psychological motivations behind the crimes and, as the series progresses, the psychological impact of delving into the crimes on the investigators. Across its three seasons, the show features many actors whom you might recognize, such as Robert Carlyle (The Full Monty), Jim Carter (Downton Abbey), Liam Cunningham (Game of Thrones), Adrian Dunbar (Line of Duty), Christopher Eccleston (Doctor Who), and Samantha Morton (The Walking Dead), amongst others.
Another of Jimmy McGovern’s critically-acclaimed shows is Moving On, like Accused an anthology drama series. The winner of the 2018 Royal Television Society, UK Award for Best Daytime Programme, it explores complex issues of modern-day life in Britain, with each episode being a standalone story that centers on a character(s) who reaches a turning point in life and then moves on.
Addiction, debt, infidelity, sexual identity, and trust are some of the issues faced by the show’s characters, who are played by Lorraine Ashbourne (Bridgerton), Warren Brown (Strike Back), Ben Daniels (The Crown), Kerry Godliman (After Life), Sharon Horgan (Catastrophe), Lee Ingleby (Criminal: UK), and Will Johnson (House of the Dragon), amongst others.
Similar to Moving On, The Street, a two-time winner of the BAFTA TV Award for Best Drama Series, follows the lives of various individuals, in this case residents of an unnamed street in Manchester, where each episode is a standalone story that centers on one resident. From storylines involving various types of crime, to folks learning closely-held secrets about people in their personal and professional circles, the series features a star-studded cast that includes award winners Jim Broadbent (Paddington), Jane Horrocks (Absolutely Fabulous), Bob Hoskins (Who Framed Roger Rabbit), Ruth McCabe (My Left Foot), Matt Smith (House of the Dragon), and Timothy Spall (The Pale Blue Eye), amongst others.
Based on a true story, this historical drama stars Oscar® nominee Tim Roth (Rob Roy) as Reg Keys, a grieving father who fights like the dickens to get answers after his son is killed in the Iraq War. Getting nowhere with the British government, Reg decides to take it on head on by taking on then-Prime Minister Tony Blair in the 2005 general election.
Costarring Anna Maxwell Martin (Good Omens), Reg was nominated for a 2017 International Emmy® Award for Best TV Movie/Mini-Series.
Last but not least is Banished, a period drama inspired by events during Britain’s establishment of its first penal colony in New South Wales, Australia. Set in 1788, it follows the lives of the British convicts and the members of the Royal Navy responsible for overseeing everything and everyone in the penal colony. As we quickly learn, one’s survival in this godforsaken plane is dependent on others, and many of the guards are as bad, if not worse, than the convicts.
The ensemble cast of Banished includes Orla Brady (Into the Badlands), Ewen Bremner (Wonder Woman), Myanna Buring (The Witcher), Ned Dennehy (Peaky Blinders), Genevieve O’Reilly (Andor), Russell Tovey (American Horror Story), and Joanna Vanderham (Warrior), amongst others.
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