Review of the Year: September 2014

Doctor Who was flying high, Downton and Strictly made a comeback and there were plenty of laughs at the Apple Watch - as well as news of a new arrival

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September means summer is over – but TV was heating up with the recently returned Doctor Who soon joined by Strictly Come Dancing and Downton Abbey for a weekend extravaganza. All, that, and we might have found out who Jack the Ripper was too. What a month!

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Doctor Who had only just begun its ninth series, but soon attracted controversy when China chose to ban a lesbian kiss from the first episode and viewers became concerned about how late the broadcasts were becoming on Saturday nights. We’ll just have to blame Strictly and its increasingly important, X Factor-beating episodes – damn their success!

David Tennant also admitted Doctor Who had been a bit “overwhelming” for him, but former co-star Billie Piper managed to top the RadioTimes.com Companion Champion competition for her character Rose Tyler – so their time on the show can’t have been all bad.

Above it all, newly crowned Twelfth Doctor Peter Capaldi was doing well with a hugely positive reaction from our readers – but his companion Jenna Coleman kept being coy about her continuing role in the series. Boy, did she know how to make us dance.

Other high-profile regenerations saw a new BBC chairman and Evan Davis take over Jeremy Paxman’s Newsnight chair (presumably with the psychiatric budget of the House of Commons halving as a result), while Jason Orange made his getaway from pop band Take That to much wailing and gnashing of teeth. No hotlines this time, though.

After Strictly and Doctor Who, Downton Abbey also returned with a (perhaps too saucy) bang as Edith almost burned the house down over a man who looked like Michael Palin. If only she lived in the present day – she could take some comfort from the announcement that the Python himself will soon have his dulcet tones back on TV as the new voice of the Clangers.

Other soft voices were continuing to be heard on ITV old hand the X Factor. After a decade of auditions, judges’ houses and bootcamp we’ve really started to get a handle on how returning judge Simon Cowell thinks – and we were glad to see him return and add some oomph.

September was a characteristically strong month for imaginary friend of the site and occasional actor Benedict Cumberbatch, as we got to know him a little better through some choice Sherlock outtakes, his inability to describe flightless birds and his epic ice-bucket challenge video (remember when that was a thing?), before stealing glances at his get-up to play Richard III in The Hollow Crown.

He also managed to beat David Tennant to a gong at the TV choice awards, getting brutal revenge for Tennant’s previous besting of him in RadioTimes.com’s TV Champion. Good for him – he needs a little boost these days.

Despite the continuing existence of Benedict Cumberbatch, perhaps the biggest news story of the month was the Scottish referendum, and it really was too close to call; we even picked out our favourite omens for the result. Hopefully, the chicken goujon didn’t sway anyone too much – but either way, Scotland stayed with the UK.

In the world of technology Pharrell’s Happy became the most downloaded track ever, while we all made fun of the Apple Watch despite knowing in our heart of hearts that we will all eventually sell our shoes and families to buy one. But the darker side of the information revolution was also seen when multiple celebrities had nude photos of themselves leaked by hackers, with more and more victims appearing over the following weeks.

Really, it was a month of ups and downs – for every great story of James Bond setting his bum on fire, you’d hear that the actor who played the spy’s classic foe Jaws had passed away. Comedian Joan Rivers also died in September, with many taking to Twitter to express their admiration for her sharp-tongued wit.

But there was plenty of good news too – W1A is coming back for another series, Matt Damon and Paul Greengrass are reuniting for more Bourne films and someone’s remaking DuckTales – Woo-oo!

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And perhaps best of all, we learned that we can soon expect another royal baby for the world and the internet to obsess over. Hurrah for September – and bring on October!


How much of this year’s television can you remember? Take our Big TV Quiz 2014 and find out!