It’s time to vacuum the red carpet and dry-clean your best frocks, because it’s my Review of the Year, and the awarding of the annual Grahams, the much-coveted and gloriously shiny TV-shaped baubles I distribute, without fear or favour, to both the good and the bad of the TV year. So, please, the bar is closing and it’s time to take your seats…
TELEVISION EVENT OF THE YEAR
Why, Broadchurch (ITV) of course, what else did you think I was going to say? It was the kind of imagination-grabber that comes along only rarely and Chris Chibnall’s dark, spare script and David Tennant in the role of a lifetime as a haunted cop (with Olivia Colman as his resentful Detective Sergeant) transfixed a huge audience. The question “who killed young Danny?” hovered over a nation for eight weeks, until a gripping, drawn-out finale.
THE OTHER TELEVISION EVENT OF THE YEAR (THIS TIME WITH MACAROONS)
The Great British Bake Off (BBC2), in its fourth series, became a floury cultural force attracting audiences so big that it will transfer to BBC1 next year. It also signalled the darker side of TV popularity for women, when its female contestants, particularly runner-up Ruby, were subjected to a barrage of sexist and hateful online abuse. Let’s just remember once again that these were women who went on telly to bake cakes. What a world.
THE IT GREW ON ME AND I CAME TO LOVE IT AWARD
Mr Selfridge (ITV). Having been initially rather alarmed by star Jeremy Piven’s big hair and big teeth, the lure of a bit of retail-based glamour and a fantastic supporting cast proved too strong.
THE NOT UP THERE WITH THE FIRST SERIES AWARD
This is shared by The Syndicate (BBC1), Prisoners’ Wives (BBC1), Lightfields (ITV) and The Paradise (BBC1). Loved them all the first time around, wanted to love them all the second time around. But the magic had gone.
THE WHY DID THEY BOTHER AWARD
Homeland series three (C4). Really, why? In fact, why did they bother with series two?
MOST ANNOYING HEROINE AWARD
District nurse Frankie (Eve Myles) in Frankie (BBC1). She danced around her flat, she sang in the car as she communed with Ken Bruce. She was real, honest and strong and I hated her with every fibre of my being. Thankfully, she won’t be back.
Runner-upThe White Queen (BBC1). No one noticed that the Queen had a Swedish accent, though she knew how to work a cashmere throw and a sexy pout.
THE WHAT WAS THAT ALL ABOUT AWARD
The Escape Artist (BBC1). So, hotshot barrister Will Burton (David Tennant), how did you kill your wife’s murderer? The plot was so muddled it had to be explained by another character at the end. I still didn’t understand it.
Runner-up Breathless (ITV). What happened in Cyprus? Really, is that all? This hollow story of 1960s gynaecologists and the women who love them deservedly sank without trace.
EXCESSIVE GRIMNESS UP NORTH AWARD
This is shared by The Village (BBC1) and The Mill (C4). Abuse, attempted suicide, agonising childbirth, muck and brass. Gruelling.
THE WAS IT GOOD FOR YOU AWARD
Sex Box (C4). And no, it wasn’t.
THE GREAT BRITISH BACON AWARD
Downton Abbey (ITV). “The pigs are coming!”
DISAPPOINTING ENDING OF THE YEAR AWARD
Shared between The Returned (C4), The Fall (BBC2), The Guilty (ITV) and What Remains (BBC1). Four series that lured us into watching every week thanks to a strong central theme. But by the end they’d all either bottled it (The Fall) or just went bonkers (What Remains).
THE REALLY GOOD, BUT NOBODY CARED AWARD
Equal billing for the imported ITV spy drama The Americans, the BBC2 re-working of radio favourite Count Arthur Strong (BBC2) and the superior murder mystery The Guilty (ITV) despite its weird ending (see above).
THE MOVE ALONG INSIDE THE BUS OR WE’RE NOT GOING ANYWHERE AWARD
Routemasters (BBC2) was a delightful look at London’s bus network, one that is packed with apparently cheerful and helpful drivers. Who knew?
COMPLETELY UNFORGETTABLE MOMENT OF THE YEAR AWARD
Educating Yorkshire (C4). When pupil Musharaf (Mushy P), guided by lovely Mr Burton, overcame his debilitating stammer to take his English exam and, later, address the school, a nation suddenly had something in its eye.
AND FINALLY… THE FAREWELL, IT’S BEEN GOOD AWARD
Au revoir Whitechapel (ITV), Southland (C4), Case Histories (BBC1), Poirot (ITV). We’ll miss you.