RadioTimes.com TV 100 2020 – the full list

Michaela Coel tops our list of the biggest stars on television – but who else makes this year's rundown?

Michaela Coel (BBC)

It goes without saying that 2020 was certainly an unprecedented year, with the global coronavirus pandemic grounding life to a halt. In times of darkness and isolation, we needed the television more than ever and without a doubt the entertainment industry brought us much needed light.

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We were brought together, albeit virtually, over the last 12 months by the sterling efforts of those who work in TV and Film. We’ve laughed, cried, and shouted at the telly as we devoured brilliant dramas, comedies, sci-fi, entertainment shows, documentaries, films and sport.

Along with help from the most powerful television executives and broadcasting legends, RadioTimes.com has put together our annual TV 100 list, which celebrates the 100 fantastic people on and off screen who have gone above and beyond in 2020 to entertain us, inform us, break the mould, and who have very bright futures ahead of them.

Read on for the full RadioTimes.com TV 100 2020 list.

1. Michaela Coel

Michaela Coel

“Michaela Coel is a rare and special talent, both in front of and behind the camera, who has more than earnt her place at the top of this year’s list as writer, creator, co director and lead of I May Destroy You. It was game-changing and undoubtedly one of the most powerful shows of 2020. We are incredibly lucky to have someone with Michaela’s courage and vision at the forefront of British drama. Her originality of voice takes my breath away, she has the ability to flip from darkness to comedy and back again. It can feel uncomfortable at times, even painful, but that’s the beauty of her genius. I’m incredibly excited to see what she’s does next.” – CHARLOTTE MOORE, CHIEF CONTENT OFFICER AT BBC

2. Steve McQueen

Filmmaker Steve McQueen

“British filmmaker Steve McQueen delivered an emotional masterpiece with the release of Small Axe – a timely series which told five stories of West Indian immigrants in London between 1960 and 1980, which many are still familiar with today. The timely and educational drama was well received by viewers, with many praising its powerful storytelling and impeccable cast, including John Boyega and Letitia Wright.” – GRACE HENRY, ENTERTAINMENT AND FACTUAL EDITOR

3= Daisy Edgar Jones & Paul Mescal

Normal People
BBC/Element Pictures/Hulu

“Daisy Edgar Jones burst onto our screens during lockdown, playing Marianne in the wonderful adaptation of Sally Rooney’s Normal People. She captured perfectly the rollercoaster of Marianne’s emotional journey across the mini series. Daisy lit up the screen and gave a subtle, yet heartbreaking performance which enchanted the millions who watched.

“Paul Mescal’s breakout role was playing Connell in Normal People, brilliantly directed by Lenny Abrahamson. Paul managed to capture all the turmoil and angst of a teenage boy, trying to find his way in the world. His portrayal of young love was utterly believable as well as being tender and heartfelt.” – PIPPA HARRIS, FOUNDER OF NEAL STREET PRODUCTIONS

5. David Tennant

David Tennant, star of Doctor Who, Jessica Jones and Good Omens, at an Amazon Prime event
Getty

“David Tennant dominated our screens in 2020 – and, frankly, we have no complaints. Aside from his starring roles in Deadwater Fell and There She Goes, the former Doctor Who actor stunned viewers with his transformation into serial killer Dennis Nilsen for ITV’s gripping true crime drama Des. It was quite unsettling. And then there was Staged, the best (by far) of the new-fangled genre of ‘lockdown dramas’. Filmed over Zoom with his Good Omens co-star Michael Sheen, it was inventive and funny; it also perfectly captured the weirdness of the collective moment.” – ELEANOR BLEY GRIFFITHS, DRAMA EDITOR

6. Joe Wicks

Fitness expert Joe Wicks

“In a year where simply getting out for some exercise was a struggle due to lockdown restrictions, Joe Wicks brought that right to our living rooms as he made sure kids got their daily PE sessions. The workouts were so good, we often found ourselves joining in with the little ones!” – GRACE HENRY, ENTERTAINMENT AND FACTUAL EDITOR

7. Emma Corrin

Emma Corrin plays Princess Diana in The Crown

“It wasn’t so much that she burst onto the scene, her talent had been rumoured well ahead but at the first alert of her in The Crown, a giggle behind a pillar of flowers there was a realisation that the story of Diana was in safe and extremely talented hands.” – KATE HARWOOD, MANAGING DIRECTOR AT EUSTON FILMS

“Watching Emma is a true pleasure. Rarely does an actress so embody both the spirit and the energy of an historical figure.  She literally dances onto our screens in The Crown and once there, it is impossible to take your eyes off her or forget her performance.  She has entranced audiences worldwide and I believe she will continue to do so throughout her whole career.” – ANNE MENSAH, VP ORIGINAL SERIES AT NETFLIX 

“Before 2020, you probably hadn’t heard the name ‘Emma Corrin’. The young actress had appeared on TV a handful of times, in shows including Grantchester and Pennyworth, but she hadn’t yet hit the big time. And then came The Crown! Season four of Netflix’s royal drama put the Corrin centre stage as Princess Diana – and what a performance she delivered. Corrin was a hit with critics and viewers alike. With her first Golden Globe already in the bag, she will surely go on to brilliant things.” – ELEANOR BLEY GRIFFITHS, DRAMA EDITOR

8. Jo Martin

Screen Shot 2020-01-27 at 15.33.01

“In just a few minutes of screentime, Jo Martin turned the Doctor Who world upside down in 2020 when she was unveiled as the secretive Fugitive Doctor. Breaking barriers as the first person of colour to play the Doctor and becoming an instant favourite with fans, Jo is already making sci-fi history – and frankly, we can’t wait to see where she takes the character next.” – HUW FULLERTON, SCI-FI & FANTASY EDITOR

9. Anya Taylor Joy

Anya Taylor-Joy

“The Queen’s Gambit became an unexpected hit last year for Netflix, with the mesmerising Anya Taylor Joy at the heart of it. Her nuanced performance has already earned her accolades across the globe, become a regular on best fashion lists, and it isn’t hard to imagine her quickly becoming the most wanted actor from now on.” – HELEN DALY, ASSISTANT EDITOR

10. Adam Hills

adam-hills

“Throughout an incredibly challenging 2020 for all of us, Adam Hills and the fantastic team on the Last Leg managed to keep the show on the road and millions of Britons entertained – adapting, innovating and improvising through lockdowns and shutdowns… with Adam even broadcasting live on Channel 4 from hotel quarantine in Australia when required. His biting satire and brilliant comedic mind was just the tonic for many to keep spirits up when everyone needed a laugh.” – TIM GLANFIELD, EDITORIAL DIRECTOR

11. Daisy May Cooper

Daisy May Cooper
Channel 4

“Daisy’s got funny on tap, she’s fast become a comedy all-rounder with entertainment pedigree in a game show, nails scene stealing turns in films and became an online sensation providing lockdown light relief. All topped off with the crowning glory and BAFTA magnet This Country, whose third series elevated and cemented it as a modern classic – roll over Phoebe Waller Bridge, there’s a new comedy queen and this one wears a Swindon top.” – SHANE ALLEN, BBC COMEDY CONTROLLER

12. Jonathan Van-Tam

Jonathan Van-Tam (Getty)

13. David Olusoga

David Olusoga OBE, who gives the 2020 MacTaggart lecture

14. Michael Sheen

Michael Sheen (Getty)

15. Carole Baskin

Carole Baskin
Carole Baskin

16. Jane Tranter

jane-tranter

“Jane Tranter is a visionary producer whose passion for each project shines through on to screen. She is able to work with and nurture experienced and inexperienced creators and bring out the best.” – NICOLA SCHINDLER, QUAY STREET PRODUCTIONS FOUNDER

17. Jon Favreau

18. Sacha Dhawan

Sacha Dhawan
Jeff Spicer/Getty Images

19. Louis Theroux

Louise Theroux: Life on the Edge
BBC

“Louis Theroux is one of the unique documentary film makers of our time. Regardless of the subject he is able to take the viewer into the most complex and dark worlds with little judgement, often humanely but with piercing insight and revelation. He’s an expert interviewer and skilfully knows how to allow each character to unveil themselves. In the same programme he can make you flinch or make you feel genuinely warm. Quite simply Louis is the master of telling stories of deep psychology and morality, little wonder that his work is enjoyed by millions around the world.” – MARK LINSEY, CHIEF CREATIVE OFFICER OF BBC STUDIOS

20. Gillian Anderson

Gillian Anderson attends the EE British Academy Film Awards 2020
Getty Images

SPOTLIGHT ON… 21. Billie Piper

Billie Piper in I Hate Suzie (Sky)
Sky UK Limited

“I Hate Suzie was one of the boldest and most refreshing series’ to hit the small screen last year with its unapologetically honest portrayal of the unravelling of a celebrity. In addition to being a co-creator, with an exec-producer credit, Billie Piper was absolutely outstanding and totally relatable in her role as Suzie Pickles. I have no doubt that she will build on the brilliance of her onscreen performance and behind-the-scenes talent in season two.” – MARINA STORTI, MANAGING DIRECTOR AT NOW TV/SKY

22. Romesh Ranganathan

23. Bill Bailey

24. Matthew MacFayden

SPOTLIGHT ON… 25. Phoebe Dynevor

BRIDGERTON (L to R) PHOEBE DYNEVOR as DAPHNE BRIDGERTON and RUTH GEMMELL as LADY VIOLET BRIDGERTON in episode 101 of BRIDGERTON Cr. LIAM DANIEL/NETFLIX © 2020

“To witness Phoebe take Daphne, a woman of agency not often seen in a period piece, and become the beating heart of the show – we knew she had something special.  Phoebe held up the drama with subtly, poise and fierce passion, morphing from naive debutante to duchess before viewers’ eyes. Taking everything in her stride, we were so proud to cast her in Bridgerton and can’t wait to see what she does next as she continues to light up the screen.” – JINNY HOWE, VP OF DRAMA DEVELOPMENT AT NETFLIX

26. David Attenborough

SPOTLIGHT ON… 27. Jason Watkins

Cheltenham Literature Festival

“It was another exceptional year for BAFTA winning Jason Watkins, one of the most respected actors in the business. Two very different performances in two very different ITV crime dramas – as journalist Brian Masters in Des, and as a mild mannered detective in McDonald and Dodds, reinforcing his status as one of the country’s best loved actors.” – DAMIEN TIMMER, MANAGING DIRECTOR AT MAMMOTH SCREEN

28. Josh O’Connor

29. Bob Mortimer

30. Malorie Blackman

31. Frankie Boyle

32. Mo Gilligan

33. Emerald Fennell

34. Rege-Jean Page

35. Lennie James

36. Ruth Wilson

37. Anne Mensah

37. Jay Blades

SPOTLIGHT ON… 39. Robert Popper

Robert Popper (Getty)

“There are not many writers who have single handedly penned every word of a comedy spanning six series, Robert Popper is astonishingly rare. The triumphant success of Friday Night Dinner comes from the reverence Robert holds for the idiocy of family life. He hoovers up details and sprinkles them over these great characters with a mischievously astute relish. Friday Night Dinner is a classic British comedy that is continuing to find new audiences and that, fundamentally, is down to Robert’s brilliant talent and commitment to making people laugh.” – FIONA MCDERMOTT, HEAD OF COMEDY AT CHANNEL 4

40. Shonda Rhimes

41. Lucy Prebble

42. Guz Khan

43. John Boyega

44. Youssef Kerkour

45. Hugh Grant

46. Bong Joon-ho

47. Luke Neal

48. Letitia Wright

SPOTLIGHT ON… 49. Noel Clarke

Noel Clarke in Bulletproof (Sky, EH)

“Noel is a proper leading man. From the buddy crime romp Bulletproof South Africa on Sky to the forthcoming Tiger thriller Viewpoint on ITV, you can’t take your eyes off him on screen. He’s come a long way since Doctor Who and I’d even put a bet on him as the next James Bond ( sorry, jinxed that Noel!).” – PETER SALMON, CHIEF CREATIVE OFFICER AT ENDEMOL SHINE

50. Weruche Opia

51. Mackenzie Crook

52. Natasia Demetriou

53. Oti Mabuse

54. Gordon Ramsay

55. Gino D’Acampo

56. Fred Sirieix

57. Shelley King

58. Ian Bartholomew

59. Bradley Walsh

60. Lucy Kirkwood

61. Greg Davies

62. Alex Horne

63. Emily Morgan

64. Gbemi Ikumelo

65. Sophie Rundle

66. Martin Compston

67. Alison Hammond

68. Jake Tapper

69. Anne Marie Duff

70. Nicola Walker

71. Letitia Dean

72. Tim Davie

73. Claudia Winkleman

74. Pedro Pascal

75. Jane Hudson

76. David Oyelowo

77. Zoe Henry

78. Asa Butterfield

79. Paul Whittington

80. Peter Morgan

81. Paddy McGuiness

82. Freddie Flintoff

83. Mike Bartlett

84. Nigella Lawson

85. Heidi Thomas

86. Millie Bobby Brown

87. Victoria Asare-Archer

88. Chris Lang

89. Ashley Taylor Dawson

90. Susanne Bier

91. Rylan Clark Neal

92. Lisa McGee

93. Julie Gardner

94. Clare Pizey

95. Nicola Roberts

96. Tom Hollander

97. Joe Cole

98. Monty Don

99. Beth Honan

100. The Vivienne

RadioTimes.com TV 100 contributors

  • Charlotte Moore, BBC Director of Content
  • Shane Allen, BBC Comedy controller
  • Patrick Holland, BBC Two Controller
  • Peter Salmon, Chief Creative Officer, Endemol Shine
  • Damien Timmer, Managing Director, Mammoth Screen
  • Dame Pippa Harris, Founder of Neal Street Productions
  • Georgia Brown, Director European Originals, Amazon
  • Marina Storti, Managing Director, NOW TV, Sky
  • Kenton Allen, Chief Executive of Big Talk Productions
  • Zai Bennett, Managing Director of Content at Sky
  • Michaela Fereday, Executive Producer at Red Productions
  • Nicola Shindler, television producer and executive, and founder of production company Quay Street Productions
  • Kate Harwood, television producer and Managing Director of Euston Films
  • Noemi Spanos, Executive Producer at Euston Films
  • Laura Klimke, Head of Development at Euston Films
  • Sir Lenny Henry, actor, writer, comedian and television presenter who co-founded Comic Relief
  • Mark Linsey, Chief Creative Officer of BBC Studios
  • Caroline Hollick, Head of Channel 4 drama
  • Fiona McDermott,  Head of Comedy at Channel 4
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