When is Handmaid’s Tale season 5 out in the UK? Possible release date and plot

Nolite te bastardes carborundorum - isn't that right, June?

Elisabeth Moss in a scene from The Handmaid's Tale season 5 on Hulu
(Image credit: Landmark Media/Alamy/Future)

June will be facing the music for Commander Waterford’s death and going head to head with her greatest nemesis - Serena Joy 

Season 4 of the Handmaid’s Tale saw June reluctantly leave her quest to save Hannah behind, and escape Gilead. Being reunited with Luke, Moira, Nicole, and everyone she loves, wasn’t the romantic celebration everyone had imagined. June is no longer the person they knew and her singular focus for revenge on those who’ve wronged her, caused bemusement in those who’d waited so long to see her again. After a long wait, season 5 is here and we’ve got details of the Uk release date, the trailer, and plot of the latest dystopian istallment.     

For more dystopian drama, See season 3 has landed on Apple TV - most of the world is blinded by sickness, in dystopia as you’ve never seen it before. A big budget Netflix adaption of a Neil Gaiman classic comic has left viewers wondering if there will be The Sandman season 2. And after another season full of twists, some needed the Westworld season 4 ending explained - we have this covered, plus news of season 5.  

When is Handmaid’s Tale season 5 out in the UK?  

There is currently no official UK air date for The Handmaid's Tale season 5. However, we expect the next series to arrive on UK screens around mid November 2022 (following the confirmed US release date of September 14). 

We've based this on the season 4 timeline - which saw the UK release date arrive two months after it premiered to US viewers on Hulu. In America, season 4 dropped on April 28, 2021. It then was broadcast on Channel 4 in the UK from June 20, 2021 onwards.

Season 4 saw the arrival of new teenage Wife Esther Keyes, played by McKenna Grace. Now forced into Handmaid servitude because of her hand in helping June and the other Handmaid’s stay hidden from Gileadean authorities, season 5 could see fiery Esther pick up where June left off. 

In an interview with Hollywood Reporter, Grace said “I feel like there’s only one June. But there is the whole rebellion and there are all of these other girls. So, there’s one June, and I supposed there’s one Esther as well! She added: "I think she [Esther] definitely can be part of this rebellion and the new generation of Handmaids. She will cause quite a stir.” 

Where can I watch The Handmaid's Tale season 5 in the UK?

Channel 4 will be airing the Handmaid’s Tale season 5. Viewers will be able to watch the episodes weekly as they air, or later on Channel 4 catch-up service, All 4. Both are free to view. 

Channel 4 has hosted all previous seasons of the show. For those wanting to watch all previous seasons of the Handmaid’s Tale, they are all available to stream through Amazon Prime Video, with a Prime membership. Amazon Prime membership costs £7.99 per month for a monthly subscription, or £79 per year for an annual membership. This includes all benefits that come with the membership. There is a 30 day free trial available prior to any commitment. 

For those only wanting to use Amazon's video service, a separate Amazon Prime Video subscription is available for £5.99 per month. This does not include any other Amazon Prime membership services. 

Yvonne Strahovski in a scene from the Hulu series: The Handmaid's Tale

(Image credit: Landmark Media/Alamy)

The Handmaid’s Tale - Season 4 recap 

The season begins with June’s survival confirmed, after the season 3 ending saw her shot by a Guardian. Taking refuge at the safe house of Commander and Mrs Keyes, the other surviving Handmaid’s were able to give June - who got very sick before she got better - some medical care. The elderly and slightly confused Commander Keyes, is unaware his farm is being used as a safe place. The teenage Mrs Keyes reveals that her husband isn’t fertile, but in his quest for a child has her routinely raped by other men in the hope of producing one. When one of Esther’s attackers is found trespassing on the farm, June tells Esther she is to kill him - she completes this instruction. 

It’s not long before Guards arrive at the Keyes farmhouse asking questions about the escaped Handmaids. June immediately ushers everyone out, sneaking into Jezebels to ask a fellow member of the Mayday resistance where they can safely hide next. Through Mayday, June finds out that members of the Gilead military are headed to Jezebels for a final party before leaving for Chicago to fight. Also learning that Esther has been trying to poison Commander Keyes, June asks her for the poison recipe. This is to allow her to poison the Guards arriving at Jezebels, and the Handmaids can leave safely. While at the farm with Esther, Jezebels is raided and the Handmaids hiding there escape. June Is captured and tortured into revealing the location of the escaped Handmaids - which she resists.

June is unrelenting in her mission to protect the other Handmaids, until she is brought to see Hannah - who no longer recognises her. She is told Hannah will be harmed if she doesn’t cooperate. The Handmaids are captured when June gives up their position and along with June, are taken to a Magdalene Colony accompanied by Aunt Lydia. Here, they will work all day but still be expected to try and become pregnant for Commanders by night. When their driver steps out for a toilet break, the Handmaids overthrow Aunt Lydia and escape the vehicle. Two are shot in the process, and Alma and Brianna are hit by a train. Only June and Janine survive. Meanwhile in Canada, Serena Joy is given the news in custody that she is pregnant.

Making their way to Chicago, June and Janine join rebel fighters hiding out in a disused rock climbing gym. Their leader says they can only stay in exchange for sex, and Janine offers to be the to do it. In Canada, Serena Joy summons Rita and tells her about the baby - she doesn’t want Fred to know about it. Realising Serena’s kindness is a ploy to get her to stand up for her in court, Rita immediately goes to Fred to tell him about the baby. In Gilead, Aunt Lydia is being forced to retire following her series of blunders with the Handmaids in her care. She makes a deal with Commander Lawrence that he’ll get her position reinstated in return for her passing him secrets about the other commanders. 

Gilead bomb Chicago and a disorientated June can’t find Janine in the aftermath. Moira, working for international aid with Canada, finds June. Moira’s girlfriend says they can’t possibly take Gilead’s number 1 most wanted Handmaid with them -  it will jeopardize their future aid work if they take her. Not listening, Moira sneaks June onto their escape boat anyway. Hannah and Janine are left behind. 

June becomes an asylum seeker and is staying in a hotel with Luke while it’s made official. She is then reunited with Nichole, Rita, and Emily. An angry June learns of Serena’s pregnancy and visits her in custody. Serena initially believes the visit is for the two to make amends, but June makes it clear that she only wishes Serena to feel the same pain and suffering she’s inflicted on others. In desperation to keep her baby, Serena teams up with Fred reluctantly, for them to both fight June in court together and stand a chance of keeping their child. 

See more

In court, June recounts her life of imprisonment with the Waterfords, and the life a Handmaid was expected to endure. Fred defends his actions, using the rising Gilead birth rate as a reason Handmaids are so important. The first uncomfortable inkling that Gilead beliefs are infiltrating Canada comes when a group of Waterford fans and supporters arrive at the court to cheer the Waterfords on. June begins attending a former Handmaid support group and the attendees are disgusted when Emily’s former Aunt Irene attends a meeting. She asks for Emily’s forgiveness, and she refuses to grant it. Later driving to Irene’s house to ask if she’d testify against Gilead, Emily finds her dead by suicide. Back in the support group, Emily admits she felt glad about Irene’s death, and hoped she had something to do with it. 

June tries to enlist Commander Lawrence to help her get Hannah into Canada - he refuses. She instead turns to Nick, who says he’ll do everything he can to help her. The two are still caught in their feelings for each other, kissing at every opportunity. June also learns that Janine has been delivered back to Aunt Lydia. Janine hears of a new and insubordinate Handmaid about to be punished by the Aunts. Learning that it’s Esther Keyes, she kindly warns Esther just to do as she’s told - a lesson Janine learned when they removed her eye for talking back. In Canada, Serena is visited by Naomi and Warren Putnam who tell her her child belongs to Gilead. Naomi is full of warnings that the baby could be taken away, assuring Serena she’d be the one to take care of it should this happen. Warren tells Fred he is unlikely to be welcomed back to Gilead.

June reacts badly when told that Fred has had all charges against him dropped. He will be working with the Canadian government to uncover the secrets of Gilead, in exchange for freedom. Not willing to let this happen, June hatches a plan with Tuello and Commander Lawrence: Gilead will exchange 22 women working for the resistance, in exchange for delivering Fred back to them. Thinking he’s on his way to an immunity hearing, Fred is taken to Gilead and taken by Commander Lawrence and Nick. June arrives and passionately kisses Nick in front of an astounded Fred before June is left alone with Fred. June asks Fred to choose between a gun and a whistle.

Choosing the gun, June then uses the whistle to summon a band of murderous former Handmaids and they chase a terrified Fred through the woods. The women brutally murder him, before hanging him from a wall. They decorate the wall with Fred’s own words “Nolite te bastardes carborundorum”, roughly translated from Latin as “don’t let the bastards grind you down”. June removes Fred’s wedding ring finger to deliver to Serena in the post. Returning to the house she shares with Luke covered in blood, Luke is horrified when he puts two and two together and realises what June’s done. Telling him she’ll give Nichole one final cuddle then go, season 4 draws to a close.

Elisabeth Moss in a scene from the Hulu series: The Handmaid's Tale - season 5

(Image credit: Landmark Media/Alamy)

What will the plot be in The Handmaid’s Tale season 5?

The Handmaid’s Tale season 5 is expected to see June facing the consequences of Commander Waterford’s murder, and the widowed Serena raising her profile in Canada. June and Luke are expected to continue their mission to reunite with Hannah.  

According to Hollywood Reporter, the official synopsis reads: “June faces consequences for killing Commander Waterford while struggling to redefine her identity and purpose. The widowed Serena attempts to raise her profile in Toronto as Gilead’s influence creeps into Canada. Commander Lawrence works with Aunt Lydia as he tries to reform Gilead and rise in power. June, Luke and Moira fight Gilead from a distance as they continue their mission to save and reunite with Hannah”.

They continued to report that on killing Fred, June actress Elisabeth Moss said “June was not going to all of a sudden get a little therapy and be fine. It couldn’t be that way; that’s not how life works. It was really important to me and so I feel like there’s no way for June to end up in any other place but that. She has been changed too much. Her life is this war on Gilead and that’s her purpose in life. There’s nothing else that can be done”.

Fans on social media appear to overwhelmingly want to see Serena face her comeuppance in season 5, with many hoping to see her become a Handmaid. One wrote “I want season 5 of the Handmaid's Tale to drop. I just can't wait to see Serena become a handmaid. She deserves all the pain in the world OKAY!” Another agreed, saying “where is the Handmaid’s Tale season 5? I need to watch serena become a handmaid already”.

See more

What cast members are returning for The Handmaid’s Tale season 5 

  • Elisabeth Moss as June Osborne
  • O. T. Fagbenle as Luke Osborne
  • Yvonne Strahovski as Serena Joy Waterford
  • Madeline Brewer as Janine
  • Ann Dowd as Aunt Lydia
  • Max Minghella as Nick
  • Samira Wiley as Moira
  • Bradley Whitford as Commander Lawrence
  • Amanda Brugel as Rita
  • Sam Jaeger as Mark Tuello
  • McKenna Grace as Esther Keyes
  • Zawe Ashton as Oona
  • Joseph Fiennes as Commander Fred Waterford (flashbacks)
  • Genevieve Angelson as Mrs Wheeler

In a shock announcement, Emily actress Alexis Bledel will not be returning to the show for season 5. In a statement, the actress said "After much thought, I felt I had to step away from The Handmaid's Tale at this time. I am forever grateful to [creator] Bruce Miller for writing such truthful and resonant scenes for Emily, and to Hulu, MGM, the cast and crew for their support".

a close up of Alexis Beidel in The Handmaid's Tale

(Image credit: Channel 4)

New character Mrs Wheeler played by Genevieve Angelson, is set to be a big supporter of Serena. Wheeler is a wealthy Canadian women and supporter of Serena's views and everything she's accomplished in Gilead. Speaking to TV Line, the actress said "In order to play Mrs. Wheeler, I couldn’t say ‘I’m playing a bad guy.’ I had to say, ‘I’m playing someone who’s willing to do anything to continue the human race, and that’s what we’re up against. So, do I want to be the person I am being? Maybe not. But I am accepting that is my reality, that is what I’m doing. That was how I got by with that".

Will there be a season 6 of the The Handmaid's Tale?

Yes, season 6 of the The Handmaid's Tale is now confirmed, and this will be the final season of the dystopian drama

The news of the sixth and final season came just before the release of now penultimate season 5 - which premiered to US audiences on September 14. Variety reports that show creator, showrunner, and executive producer Bruce Miller, said in a statement "It has been a true honor to tell the story of Margaret Atwood’s groundbreaking novel and chillingly relevant world, and we are thrilled to bring viewers a sixth and final season of ‘The Handmaid’s Tale". He continued "We are grateful to Hulu and MGM for allowing us to tell this story, which unfortunately has remained as relevant as ever throughout its run, and are in awe of our incredible fans for their unwavering support, and without whom we never would have gotten to this point". 

President of ABC Entertainment, Hulu and Disney Branded Television Streaming Originals Craig Erwich, added "Five years ago, almost to the day, ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ made history when it became the first show to win an Emmy for a streaming service. In the time since, it has been a privilege and pleasure to work with some of the finest creative talent in our industry on this show – a distinct and exceptional group of people who continue to produce the highest quality television that has made and continues to make significant cultural impact. Bruce, Warren, Lizzie and the entire team at MGM have been amazing partners, and we hope fans enjoy these last two seasons".

Related Channel 4 Features:   

Video of the Week 

Lucy Wigley
TV writer - contributing

Lucy is a multi-award nominated writer and blogger with six years’ experience writing about entertainment, parenting and family life. Lucy has contributed content to PopSugar and moms.com. In the last three years, she has transformed her passion for streaming countless hours of television into specialising in entertainment writing. There is now nothing she loves more than watching the best shows on television and telling you why you should watch them.