Radio Times TV 100 edited by Tim Glanfield and Susanna Lazarus


Who are the hottest talents on television now? Which stars do the broadcasters scrabble to sign knowing that harnessing their talents to a show will make it fly? asked some of the most powerful TV executives and broadcasting bigwigs in Britain to name the stars they believe have had an exceptional 12 months.

In any list of television talent you might expect to find the names of broadcasting royalty, such as Sir David Attenborough and Bake Off queen Nadiya Hussein. But you will also find bona fide royals in Princes William and Harry, who enter the list at No 20, hailed by the BBC’s former royal correspondent not just as natural communicators but also as role models who would have made their mother proud.

The names on the list come from across the television spectrum, from breakout talent – like Phoebe Waller-Bridge – and cult heroes such as Kit Harington to Bake Off’s surprise joker Noel Fielding who, according to one of our panelists, is about to embark on a love affair with the nation

The Radio Times TV 100 panel included channel controllers, commissioners, production executives, writers and producers – from Doctor Who's Steven Moffat to actor Lenny Henry (view the full list of contributors at the end of this article). A panel of Radio Times editors – including TV editor Alison Graham – then ranked the final 100.

1. Jodie Whittaker

I have had a brilliant year. My first audition was in January so that kicked off 2017 with a huge amount of excitement. And it's continued to be full of surprises! I can't quite believe everything that's happened, I'm incredibly grateful. Thank you to Radio Times for this award! Jodie Whittaker

Jodie is not just a talented actor but she has a bold and brilliant vision for her Doctor. She aced it in her audition both technically and with the powerful female life force she brings to the role. She is destined to be an iconic Doctor. Piers Wenger, Controller, BBC Drama

2. Sir David Attenborough

Into his tenth decade David Attenborough is still digging up giant fossils, still crawling along the jungle floor with ferocious ants, still winning Baftas – in other words, just a normal year for him. Still curious, still innovating, still excited to share the latest wonders of the natural world, still the greatest story-teller there is. Mike Gunton, Creative Director, BBC Natural History Unit

3. Phoebe Waller-Bridge

Phoebe’s career shot up like a firework display in the last year. Fleabag signalled the arrival of a hugely distinctive writer with the mesmerising performing talent to match. The show won nearly every award going, including a Bafta at first crack. It’s led to a Star Wars film role as well as becoming a household name in the UK and industry sensation in the US. She’s handled it all with grace and level-headedness and is destined for ever greater things. Shane Allen, Controller of Comedy Commissioning, BBC2

4. Thandie Newton

Thandie Newton was not only magnificent this year in Line of Duty, but also the Sky Atlantic smash hit Westworld. She effortlessly took us on a journey of awakening from machine to supposed consciousness in a powerful, witty and occasionally chilling performance. An actress at the top of her game. Zai Bennett, Director of Programmes, Sky UK

5. Peter Kay

Peter Kay can do no wrong. After starting out on C4 with That Peter Kay Thing and Peter Kay’s Phoenix Nights, he well and truly broke into the mainstream with the sometimes caustic, but always gentle and surprisingly sentimental BBC3/BBC1 smash Car Share. Its finale earlier this year left viewers baying for more. But they are unlikely to get the ending they so badly want, Kay is adamant Car Share is over. Alison Graham, TV Editor, Radio Times

6. Claire Foy

Claire Foy has always had regal credentials but the last 12 months have seen her crowned the queen of Netflix. Since cutting her royal teeth in Wolf Hall as the ill-fated Anne Boleyn, she has made her mark on global television audiences as Queen Elizabeth II in the streaming service's big-budget drama The Crown. May her reign continue for years to come. Susanna Lazarus, News Editor,

7. Sharon Horgan

Sharon Horgan is quite simply an exceptional talent. A razor sharp comic writer and actress. With Catastrophe, she’s finally won the global critical acclaim she’s deserved for years. She has an unerring ability to see humour in the darkness and to go where others wouldn’t dare. More than anything, she’s unrivalled as the person you want to drink wine with on an empty stomach. Jay Hunt, Former Chief Creative Officer, Channel 4

8. Adam Hills


Difficult times are a gift for satire and the often horrific nature of the past 12 months has seen Adam Hills, along with Last Leg co-hosts Josh Widdicombe and Alex Brooker, transcend the show's original disability and Paralympic brief to become an edgy topical comedy with a strand of political satire running through it. Liam Humphreys, CEO, FreemantleUK Unscripted

9. Laura Kuenssberg

Laura’s year speaks for itself and recognition of her exceptional journalism couldn’t be more deserved. From the EU Referendum to the recent General Election, and from morning until night, Laura has taken BBC viewers and listeners through historic political times with her expert insight and flair for asking the questions the audience want answered. Francesca Unsworth, Deputy Director, BBC News and Current Affairs

10. Pearl Mackie

She made a monumental assent from virtual unknown to the centre of the Whoniverse and also broke down barriers and won herself rave reviews as Doctor Who’s first openly gay companion. Pearl Mackie will be back this Christmas for one final hurrah as Bill Potts before she and Peter Capaldi bow out, but one thing’s for sure – Mackie has put her name firmly on the television map. No doubt more great things await. Tim Glanfield, Editor,


11. Kit Harington

Kit Harington

With his tour-de-force performance as Jon Snow in Game of Thrones, Kit has become a huge star and a significant player in TV and film. This year he is will appear on BBC1 in Gunpowder, a drama he co-produced, playing his direct ancestor Robert Catesby. Diederick Santer, CEO, Kudos

12. Nadiya Hussain

Nadiya Hussain is one of the most natural, engaging and effervescent talents to have emerged in factual television for years. She is not just a passionate and skilful cook, she has an exceptional gift with people, whatever their background. Her ebullience, warmth and enthusiasm bursts out from the screen whenever she appears. Patrick Holland, Controller, BBC2

13. Charlie Brooker

Charlie Brooker is a funny, prolific visionary, whose work strikes a chord with millennial audiences from Singapore to San Francisco. His provocative, dystopian Black Mirror began life on Channel 4 and has now picked up three Emmy nominations on Netflix. Earlier this year, he and his production partner in Endemol Shine's House of Tomorrow indie Annabel Jones earned UK industry recognition with a BAFTA win for an hilarious and timely 2016 Wipe, the annual BBC2 satirical review of the year. Peter Salmon, Chief Creative Officer, Endemol Shine Group

14. Jenna Coleman

Jenna is as talented as she is mesmerising on screen. As Victoria she is required to do some heavy lifting as the central character and she never misses a beat. Whatever I write for her, she turns into gold. Long live Queen Jenna. Daisy Goodwin, Creator, Victoria

15. James Corden

James Corden has become a global superstar following his move to the US to present The Late Late Show But he still returns to the UK each year to present the Bafta-winning A League of Their Own – and this June he enjoyed a successful homecoming by presenting The Late Late Show live from London. Adam Macdonald, Director, Sky1

16. Heidi Thomas

Heidi has an extraordinary ability to connect with a wide audience and make them care about the characters and scenarios she creates. As brilliantly demonstrated in Call the Midwife, her meticulous research and heartfelt emotion mark her out as one of the UK's finest screenwriters. Pippa Harris, Executive Producer, Call the Midwife


17. Richard Ayoade

Richard is a talented comic, writer and director and it’s really no surprise that his wits have lent themselves so tremendously to the role of presenter. We have loved him in Travel Man and he has put his own stamp on The Crystal Maze for a new generation of fans. Kelly Webb-Lamb, Head of Factual Entertainment, Channel 4

18. Ed Balls

Ed Balls took part on Strictly in 2016

What I liked about Ed was that he fully embraced the show. He didn't just come on to lark about (although he did end up doing that!), he really gave it his all. In five years’ time people will still remember Ed on Strictly. Len Goodman, Former Head Judge, Strictly Come Dancing

19. Noel Fielding

Noel Fielding Taskmaster

Along with the magnificent Sandi Toksvig, Noel is an utter delight to work with on Bake Off and one of the kindest, gentlest and wittiest individuals I've worked with. His genuine and disarming comic genius is such that I'm convinced the nation's love affair with Noel Fielding is only just beginning. Richard McKerrow, Creative Director, Love Productions

20. Princes William and Harry

Prince William and Prince Harry have won heartfelt praise for the way they are using their privileged position to make a difference. Both have chosen to speak publicly about how their mother's death has affected them throughout their lives. The Princes have revealed a vulnerability which royalty rarely acknowledges: Harry admitted that he was driven to the brink of a breakdown and sought professional help. They have tried to help others by spearheading the Heads Together campaign to make mental wellbeing every bit as important as physical health. Both young men have become admirable role models. Diana would have been proud. Jennie Bond, Former BBC News Royal Correspondent

21. Sandi Toksvig

22. Gary Lineker

23. Sally Wainwright

24. Steven Moffat

25. Matt LeBlanc

26. Asim Chaudhry

  • SPOTLIGHT ON: Asim Chaudhry. Fans of People Just Do Nothing will know Asim Chaudhry as his legendary, perverted and severely deluded comic creation Chabuddy G. The Bafta-winning BBC3 mockumentary follows an incompetent group who run Kurupt FM – a pirate radio station in west London – and Chaudhry plays the crew’s manager. He was instrumental in creating the series, having shot and edited it when it started out on YouTube, and even won an RTS award and Bafta nomination for the role.

27. Julie Hesmondhalgh

28. Danny Dyer

29. Millie Bobby Brown

30. Iain MacLeod

  • SPOTLIGHT ON: Iain MacLeod. Iain MacLeod’s time as Emmerdale producer has seen the soap go from strength to strength with a string of award wins, including the show's first Bafta in 16 years. His storylines – most notably the exit of John Middleton's Ashley Thomas – have been hailed for taking Edinburgh to new heights. MacLeod has played with the genre in a way that hasn't been tried before, most notably a point of view episode featuring Ashley which highlighted a day in the life of someone suffering with dementia. Add to that the soap's week of interlinked episodes which culminated in a massive car crash – a stunt that would have been the envy of many 9pm primetime dramas.

31. Elisabeth Moss

32. Jeremy Clarkson

33. Chris Chibnall

34. Scarlett Moffatt

35. Kate Oates

  • SPOTLIGHT ON: Kate Oates. Ever since taking charge of Coronation Street, Kate Oates has put women front and centre with high-profile storylines, from Bethany’s grooming to Michelle’s baby loss plot line. Under her stewardship, the show has become a national talking point again, both for the public and the press, even landing on the Radio Times cover earlier this summer. And there is plenty in the pipeline to excite us: for the first time Coronation Street is switching to a regular six episodes-a-week pattern, plus Oates is overseeing the expansion of the exterior lot in Salford. And Christmas promises an extra special present in the return of cobbles favourite Carla Connor.
Kate Oates

36. Sam Heughan

37. Tom Hardy

38. Babou Ceesay

  • SPOTLIGHT ON: Babou Ceesay. The tragic tale of murdered schoolboy Damilola Taylor was retold on BBC1 last year with Babou Ceesay playing his father, Richard – a performance that earned him a Bafta nomination for Best Actor. He eventually lost out to Adeel Akhtar (Murdered by My Father) but Ceesay's star is firmly on the rise: he also landed a leading role in John Ridley's Sky Atlantic drama Guerrilla, appearing alongside Freida Pinto in the miniseries executive produced by Idris Elba.

39. Aidan Turner

40. Richard Cowles

  • SPOTLIGHT ON: Richard Cowles. As Creative Director of Entertainment at ITV Studios, Richard Cowles is responsible for some of the most successful formats on television. He co-created I'm a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here! which, 16 series in, remains one of the most-watched shows on television, and was behind the 2013 relaunch of Saturday Night Takeaway. But his runaway hit this year has been Love Island. The dating reality show, first revived in 2015, took on a life of its own this summer, inspiring water-cooler conversations up and down the country and riveting fans with its perfect alchemy of casting, editing and narration. With a winter spin-off already in the works, Cowles will be looking to recreate that magic formula.

41. Brendan O’Carroll

42. Tom Burke

43. John Middleton

44. Simon Dickson and Lorraine Charker-Phillips

45. Harry and Jack Williams

46. Lenny Henry

47. Prue Leith

48. John Thomson

49. Daisy May and Charlie Cooper

  • SPOTLIGHT ON: Daisy May and Charlie Cooper. Hot on the heels of Phoebe Waller-Bridge – whose BBC3 series won fans around the world – come siblings Daisy May and Charlie Cooper, the writers of This Country. The mockumentary delighted audiences when it aired on the BBC's online channel earlier this year with its sharply-observed take on their upbringing in the Cotswolds – a version of the twee county that doesn't make it onto the front cover of Country Living magazine. The pair play cousins Kerry and Kurtan who take viewers on a tour of their village Northleach, via such events as the community's annual scarecrow making competition to the new tattoo business of local 'hardwoman' Mandy. With a second series already commissioned, the next year is looking bright for this talented twosome.

50. Ore Oduba

51. Michelle Keegan

52. Guy Freeman

  • SPOTLIGHT ON: Guy Freeman. The tragic events at Manchester Arena last May, which saw a suicide bomber kill 22 people attending an Ariana Grande concert, inspired One Love Manchester – a star-studded gig played at the city's Old Trafford grounds and attended by thousands of survivors, headlined by Grande herself. The production became the most-watched TV programme of the year so far and the man who helped turn it around in just a week was Guy Freeman. As executive producer, he pulled together a crew and director with just a few days' notice and delivered seamless coverage to millions of viewers at home. A remarkable and unprecedented feat.

53. Damien Timmer

54. Keeley Hawes

55. Ardal O’Hanlon

56. Rufus Sewell

  • SPOTLIGHT ON: Rufus Sewell. Anyone who watched Victoria last year was either Team Melbourne or Team Albert. While the monarch famously went on to marry the latter, the ITV period drama took a popular detour by introducing her Prime Minister, Lord Melbourne, as an eligible contender for her heart. Rufus Sewell was the man tasked with bringing him to life, and he did so to great plaudits. A surprise series two return delighted the drama's many fans and when he's not strolling the corridors of Buckingham Palace, Sewell can be found starring in Amazon's alt-history dystopia Man in the High Castle, playing SS Obergruppenführer John Smith – a role poles apart from the kindly Lord M.

57. Wunmi Mosaku

58. Paul Hollywood

59. Matt Smith

60. Sian Brooke

61. Lucy Fallon

  • SPOTLIGHT ON: Lucy Fallon. Coronation Street has enjoyed a bumper year, thanks in large part to Lucy Fallon who played vulnerable teenager Bethany Platt with skill and sensitivity as her young character was sucked into a ring of grooming and sexual exploitation. The storyline has won high praise from viewers and critics and in just two-and-a-half years Fallon has become one of the country's most recognisable soap stars, nominated for a string of awards for her efforts.

62. David Olusoga

63. Oliver Kent

64. Peter Capaldi

65. Adeel Akhtar

66. Jed Mercurio

  • SPOTLIGHT ON: Jed Mercurio. What is the biggest drama on the BBC? Many would say Line of Duty. The fast-paced thriller moved from BBC2 to BBC1 in 2017, a switch that reflects years of growing ratings and a highly complex plot following anti-corruption unit AC-12 as they bring bent coppers to justice. The man behind it all? Jed Mercurio, who weaved his multi-strand series into one big web earlier this year. With two more series commissioned by the BBC, viewers still have much to come from Ted Hastings and his crack team. But they'll have to wait for it. The in-demand Mercurio is currently working on new six-part drama The Bodyguard before moving Line of Duty towards its final act.
Thandie Newton stars in BBC One's Line of Duty

67. Benedict Cumberbatch

68. Suranne Jones

69. Riz Ahmed

70. Hannah Fry

71. Mike Gunton

  • SPOTLIGHT ON: Mike Gunton. As Creative Director of the BBC Studios' Natural History Unit, Mike Gunton is no stranger to wildlife documentaries. But with Planet Earth II, the executive producer created something truly remarkable. The documentary series – which aired last autumn – featured extraordinary footage from the animal kingdom, none more so than the snake vs iguana chase that provided the climax of the first episode. The scenes went on to claim two Bafta awards – including the viewer-voted TV moment of the year – and captured a global audience, racking up millions of views online. Planet Earth II will go down in history as among Attenborough's finest.

72. Mary Berry

73. Sarah Lancashire

74. Molly Windsor

75. Jack Thorne

76. Gemma Whelan

77. Michaela Coel

  • SPOTLIGHT ON: Michaela Coel. Michaela Coel's name has been firmly on the map for a few years now, ever since she burst onto the scene with her Channel 4 comedy Chewing Gum. Landing a Bafta award for her first series, Coel put out a second run this year, which was met with equal acclaim. Fans will be disappointed to hear there are no current plans to make more, but Coel's decision to call time on her hit show is testament to the exciting potential of this in-demand all-rounder. We'll all be waiting with baited breath to see what she does next.

78. Mark Gatiss

79. Mel Giedroyc

80. Tom Hughes

81. Hassan Akkad

  • SPOTLIGHT ON: Hassan Akkad. Hassan Akkad was a schoolteacher in Syria before he fled the civil war and embarked upon the perilous journey to Europe – a passage littered with fatalities in recent years. Akkad decided to film his voyage and the footage he captured riveted and horrified TV audiences when it was chosen to air as part of BBC2's Exodus: Our Journey to Europe last year. The series humanised the refugee crisis, putting a face on a story that was making headlines around the world, and won a Bafta award for Best Factual Series in May. KEO Films have been commissioned for a follow-up with Akkad now employed as an Assistant Producer on the programme.

82. David Benioff and DB Weiss

83. Olivia Colman

84. Eleanor Tomlinson

85. Ricky Whittle

86. Adrian Dunbar

87. Louise Rainbow

88. Idris Elba

89. Tom Davis

  • SPOTLIGHT ON: Tom Davis. The concept of Murder in Successville is both bizarre and brilliant. Each episode DI Sleet (played by Tom Davis) enlists the expertise of a real-life famous face to investigate a murder in Successville. The catch? Successville is a celebrity hotspot and the homicide count is high: casualties have included Reese Witherspoon, Daniel Radcliffe and Bruno Tonioli. Three series in and the surreal BBC3 hit has gained a loyal following thanks in large part to Davis's imagination and quick thinking.

90. Jeff Pope

91. Shirley Ballas

92. John Oliver

93. Sue Perkins

94. Piers Morgan

  • SPOTLIGHT ON: Piers Morgan. Love him or hate him, Piers Morgan is one of the most talked-about presenters in the country. The Good Morning Britain host riles and delights viewers – and his Twitter followers – in equal measure with his outspoken opinions on everything from President Trump and Brexit to ageism and Kim Kardashian. But with co-host Susanna Reid he has breathed new life into ITV's morning schedule and ensures GMB dominates the column inches on a near-daily basis.

95. Emma Willis

96. Maxine Peake

97. Nicola Walker

98. Jack Whitehall

99. Malachi Kirkby

  • SPOTLIGHT ON: Malachi Kirby. 26-year-old Malachi Kirby broke onto the scene last year with the remake of Roots – one of the TV events of the 1970s. The London-born actor followed in the footsteps of LeVar Burton and John Amos to play the hero of Alex Haley's Pullitzer-winning novel in a big-budget American retelling, airing over here on BBC4. Kirby won rave reviews for his performance, shining bright alongside acting heavyweights Forest Whitaker, Lawrence Fishburne and Anna Paquin, and consolidated his breakthrough with a role in Charlie Brooker's now Emmy Award-winning third series of Black Mirror, appearing in episode Men Against Fire.

100. Brit Marling


Read about the Radio Times TV 100's top 10 stars aged 30 and under – or the Top 20 behind-the-scenes talent

See a full list of Radio Times TV 100 contributors here

Click through to the next page to see which celebrities, controllers, commissioners and production executives contributed to the Radio Times TV 100