Radio Times Top 40 TV Shows of 2016: 30 to 21

The votes have been counted and the results are in... here's our critics' countdown of the year's best telly


30. The Hollow Crown (BBC1)

Director Dominic Cooke had no choice but to take an axe to Shakespeare’s history cycle – how else do you cut four three-hour-plus plays into three two-hour TV dramas? But rather than gutting Richard III’s savage rise and fall, he cut to the heart of Shakespeare’s plays and gave us medieval slaughter to savour. Benedict Cumberbatch was always going to dominate, but his heinous Richard only rose because of the bodies beneath him: Sophie Okonedo’s malevolent Queen Margaret, Adrian Dunbar’s broken Duke of York. They all bled for this series –we should be grateful for the sacrifice. James Gill