Oscars, Olympic medals, Baftas – pah! You can keep ’em. The annual Grahams are the ones that matter, based entirely on my year’s viewing. There’s no favouritism (there is, actually) and any axes I want to grind are firmly locked in the shed (for now, anyway).
So let’s welcome 2017 by looking back on 2016 and my annual awards.
Wasn’t That Brilliant Award
Such a good year – Happy Valley, The Night Manager – but the red plastic string bag of gold-covered chocolate coins goes to Line of Duty. Jed Mercurio’s febrile cop drama had everything – those amazing, complex interview scenes lasting 25 minutes and an armed chase on a bin lorry!
Turkey Of The Year
There were a few plump beasts this year – Jericho, Marcella, Paranoid, Close to the Enemy. But the award goes to The Fall, which returned for a pointless third series in which nothing happened, very, very slowly. Until the last 20 minutes of the final episode, which was the most bloody and deeply unpleasant 20 minutes of 2016.
DIY Task Of The Year Award
That scene with the drill in The Missing. Oh, the nightmares. Oh, the noise.
You’re The Best Award
This is Sarah Lancashire’s to take home and keep forever. We’ve just seen her as Caroline in Last Tango in Halifax, but in Happy Valley she returned as the oh-so-believable, wounded, brave (incredibly brave) Katherine, the cop with a soul.
We Shall Not Look Upon Their Like Again Award
The Great British Bake Off. What happened? Really, what happened? One minute it was the biggest show on television and then, overnight, it was dismantled. Gone to C4 without its beating heart, Mel, Sue and Mary. Go on, I ask again, what happened?
Isambard Kingdom Brunel Award For Services To Civil Engineering
Jericho, ITV’s weird Yorkshire Victorian Western where Jessica Raine battled with a plait-tastic hairstyle as everyone said “viaduct” a lot. Now, I love viaducts, but they are not sexy. And stop saying “viaduct”.
Run Like The Wind Award
To the plucky marine iguanas in Planet Earth II pursued by racer snakes, so called because they are snakes and they go like the clappers. It was terrifying.
Career Change Of The Year Award
Ed Balls, former Shadow Chancellor who seamlessly emerged, fully formed, into a whole new career as a light entertainer. He wasn’t simply the joke act, he tried flipping hard to get better. Which takes us into…
Moment Of The Year Award
Ed riding Katya like a pony, gangnam style, on Strictly. My eyes, my eyes!
Hang On, What Was The Point Of All That Award
Stephen Poliakoff’s turgid Close to the Enemy. Seven episodes, and for what? A Richard Curtis ending. And leading man Jim Sturgess sounded as if he’d just walked in from Blackadder Goes Forth.
Where’s The Soap Award
No, this isn’t a two nuns in the bath joke. It’s Ross Poldark (Aidan Turner) having his troubles sponged away by his wife Demelza in a very small tin bath in Poldark. I will say no more.
A Nice Pair Of Ripe Peaches Award
Well hello, Tom Hiddleston’s bottom. A brief glimpse of his taut orbs in The Night Manager brought the internet to a standstill and sent his star right into the stratosphere. Until he started going out with Taylor Swift.
Hey, Nice To See You Again Award
Cold Feet. Generally, things shouldn’t come back (Are You Being Served?, Porridge) but Mike Bullen’s reboot of his adored, barbed romantic comedy was a joy.
Ha Ha, Fooled You Award
To Vogue editor Alexandra Shulman, who put one over on documentary-maker Richard Macer in Absolutely Fashion. She claimed an anniversary cover would be an illustration – but it was a sumptuous portrait of the Duchess of Cambridge. A brilliant ruse.
A Good Enough Reason For Brexit
Versailles, an absolute Euro-pudding of bad accents and even worse acting, with Louis XIV looking like a member of Duran Duran.
Put Some Shoes On Award
To the insufferable Nina in Love, Nina. She was a nanny, she didn’t wear shoes on the streets of London. Why, why, why? We were never told. It was DREADFUL.
Wow, That Was Amazing Award
Phoebe Waller-Bridge, writer and star of Fleabag. A remarkable black comedy, full of pain and anger. But, dearie me, it was filthily, coruscatingly funny. She’s a star.