It may not have been a very good 12 months for BP, English football or the Countdown fan-club (sorry students..) but 2010 has been a cracking year for television. Okay, so there have been some dodgy moments – we’re not going to enter into the whole PhoneShop debate again here – but unless you sift through dignity-shredding shows like Loose Women, highlights like these wouldn’t have seemed half as good. Bring on 2011..
After a couple of years as a popular but small cult-comedy, 2010 was the year in which The Inbetweeners became one of the most talked about shows on British television. The third series was littered with highlights, but Simon’s rogue testicle in ‘Fashion Show’ just about edged it. Watch the episode by clicking here. Fans who lamented the show’s passing shouldn’t worry, we can expect plenty more from Simon Bird & Co yet..
Television is for entertainment, drama, action, reality and occasionally history. Maybe even a little sport… But never science! Or so we thought.. Brian Cox’s Wonders of the Solar System had all the aforementioned ingredients by the tonne and it was more popular than the BBC could have possibly expected last Spring. Cox may might have been the campest Professor of Physics in the country, but his infectious enthusiasm brought the cosmos to us huddling masses like never before.
LiLo gets her fair share of stick from the media (..and when you consider that she is a drug-taking, drink-driving court-dodger, it’s difficult to deny that some of it is fair..) but she did something genuinely amazing this year by travelling to India to investigate child-trafficking. A quick Karma run never does anyone any harm.
What more can we say about Sherlock? Apart from ear-marking Steven Moffat as the most prolific script-writer in television right now, it also brought us the fabulously named Benedict Cumberbatch. We just love saying that name… Benedict Cumberbatch… A second series is due next year. Avec Moriarty.
Anne Widdecombe started the year with a rather divisive episode of The Bible, in which she advocated her Catholic beliefs to anyone who would listen, but she ended it by replacing Cheryl Cole as the nation’s sweetheart after an extended stay on Strictly Come Dancing. Anton Du Beke’s considerable efforts were also rewarded with career redemption following his racism last year. Smiles all round..
Karl Pilkington has long been a favourite with fans of Ricky Gervais’s podcast and this year he was given the chance to make his own travel show. We say given, but in actual fact Gervais and Merchant forced the Mancunian to head out into the great unknown, and he wasn’t too happy about it. The results were both hilarious and a welcome break after years of gushing travelogues.
The Naked Chef almost bit off more than he could chew when he tried to tackle the health problems of America’s most obese city this Autumn. The kids were gobbling pizza for breakfast, the local shock-jock was gunning for him and the local press nearly chased him out of town after he threatened to take away their cheeseburgers. We can’t imagine they would have chased him very far, after all they were a rather tubby bunch, but the thought was there. “They don’t understand why I’m here!” sobbed Oliver, before steeling himself to complete the biggest challenge of his life.
Gillian McKeith was moderately well-known for sifting through poo on TV before she went on this year’s I’m A Celebrity. Afterwards she was famous for being a total fool. But the ITV execs must have been rubbing their hands in glee – 13.5 million people tuned in to watch the medical amateur at the height of her insanity on the 4th of December.
When Matt Smith was unveiled as David Tennant’s replacement in January 2009, a sizeable section of the show’s fanbase questioned the casting and wondered whether the actor would be able to fit shooting the new series around his GCSE revision. Twelve months later and thanks to the sterling work of Steven Moffat and the electrical charisma of Smith himself, the show is riding a crest of a wave. Bring on the next series!
This year’s Apprentice was delayed by six months due to Lord Sugar’s dalliance in politics, but it was worth the wait when it finally arrived. The final drone-off might have been avoided if Baggs hadn’t been fired by a teary-eyed Sugar in the semi-final. While the old tycoon genuinely seemed taken with Stuart and all his ridiculous banter, the rest of us couldn’t stand the bloke. Once again, there were just too many soundbytes to list here, but our personal favourite was “..sometimes I have to reign in my extreme masculinity”. Let’s just hope he signs up to make a David Brent prequel series..
Winter period dramas are usually the reserve of the BBC, but their reality-peddling rivals turned all that on its head when they laid on a much-hyped but brilliant series about an upper class family struggling to secure their future at the start of the 20th century. Dame Maggie Smith was excellent as the matriach who viewed the entire world down her nose, but it was Bates who stole our hearts…
When we discovered that Shane Meadows was following up his 2006 film with a miniseries on Channel 4, expectations were sky-high. We were not disappointed. Powerful, hilarious and heart-breaking – this was television of the very highest standard. There were brilliant moments by the bucket-load, but our personal favourite was the leader of the moped gang. “You can run, but I’ll get you… in a minute.”
The most expensive drama series ever made arrived on British shores in the Spring of 2010 and brought the world of television closer to the movies than it had ever been before. But with Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks behind the camera we were expecting something special from this HBO and Seven Australia production. If you haven’t seen it yet, think Saving Private Ryan in a box-set. We’re hoping that Scorsese’s Boardwalk Empire can achieve similar success when it hits our screens in 2011.
Tom Hollander was superb in Armando Iannucci’s In The Loop, surprisingly creepy in one of the Pirates of the Carribean sequels and in 2010 he found success as the star and co-creator of an easy-going yet ingenious sitcom about a Priest promoted to an tough inner-city parish. A second series is due next year.
The Labour Government were already fighting a losing battle when the Prime Minister committed political hara-kiri by making an awkward exchange with a voter infinitely worse by denouncing her as a “bigotted woman” afterwards. Unfortunately his poorly-chosen words were caught on a rogue microphone and within minutes, the press were laying siege to the poor woman’s house. Brown was marched round there to apologise in a circus-like set piece and the footage of Gordy being played the recording during a radio interview was equally turgid. Never before has a PM been force-fed handfuls of shame on such an epic level. The Tories were laughing all the way to No. 10.
You know how most people say they “can’t stand Glee”? Well we reckon one or two of those naysayers might by telling us porkies, because the American high school show has been on E4 more often than Miquita Oliver in 2010. In just one year Glee has exploded into popular culture and single-handedly made that Journey power ballad the most hummed song since Wonderwall. Don’t expect this lot to go away any time soon..
Coronation Street was half a century old earlier in the month and ITV celebrated by killing half the cast. Happy Birthday Weatherfield! Nearly 15 million people tuned in to watch the tram tear across the cobbles, making it the fourth most watched show of the year. Unfortunately for ITV, the ‘Who Killed Archie?’ episode of EastEnders still pipped it to third spot..