I’ll be watching you

And as with pop, so with TV. Of course, publishing this so early excludes the TOTP CHristmas special and To The Manor Born reunited, but, heck, let’s throw caution to the wind, shall we?

20. The IT Crowd
The sitcom returned for a lovely, funny, charming second series, after a too-long wait since the first.

19. Challenge Anneka
The Boxing Day Tsunami ep was technically 06, but as if I would have included it last year. And the kiddie album ep was so touching. ‘The Challenge Programme’, back how it used to be, only with the added disadvantage of rubbish ITV scheduling! Go back to the Beeb, Annie, now!

18. Dispatches
An interesting, though often over-excited, series of documentaries, which were also very useful for their frequent religious themed episodes.

17. The Kylie Show/White Diamond
Got to Be Certain! Tears on My Pillow! Made in Heaven!!!!!! No further explanation needed.

16. The Retreat
Following the wonderful The Monastery and its a little less wonderful, but still good, sequel, The Convent, this show set in an Islamic retreat followed the law of diminishing returns, but was still more moving, challenging and enlightening than most shows out there.

15. Charlie Brooker’s Screenwipe
I know this position seems a bit low, but it’s not on frequently enough. And the columns he writes are slightly funnier. Still amazing, though.

14. Ugly Betty
Now, were this a series focussed more on Alexis, Marc, Amanda, Justin and Christina, WHO ARE ACE, or were all its episodes to be as awesome as the final three eps of series 1, this would trounce all-comers. But sadly, it is a bit patchy. And the second series thus far apears to have no direction, which is a real shame.

13. Life on Mars
I only got into this in the second series, but it really was a cracker, wasn’t it?

12. Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares
The formula is becoming a bit wearing, but it’s still fantastic entertainment. And hopefully the US version will up the fantasticness even more.

11. Neighbours in London
It has been a bit rubbish this year, all told, as my nationally famous LC post on it would attest to. But the London episodes were so ludicrious and yet so wonderful. So they and they alone deserve their spot here.

10. Sarah Jane Adventures
Now, I liked Torchwood, although it was admittedly patchy. But this series blew it out of the water, and showed it how sci-fi adventure was done. And, by all reports, TW has accordingly upped the ante for series 2. Best kids’ show for adults since Press Gang.

9. Balderdash and Piffle
Now you might think a show about dictionaries and language would be boring. But you would be so WRONG. This is an absolute gem, and if you haven’t seen it yet, make sure whenever the next series gets going, you are there.

8. Mary, Queen of Shops
OK, so this is basically just Mary’s Shopping Nightmares. But fashion boutiques are not a popular subject for TV, and Mary was so wonderful, that it didn’t feel as derivative as it obviously was, and thus was a real treat.

7. Heroes
Wonderful concept, wonderful characters, wonderful suspense, wonderful effects. A few laboured, boring and saggy bits, but still the defining show of the year for many.

6. Any Dream Will Do
The ‘Poor Poor Joseph/Close Every Door’ ending was perfect and made Maria’s ‘So Long…’ bit seem positively nice. Just a wonderful, wonderful series, and stomped all over this year’s X Factor which was terrible, and even SCD, which had Len and Bruno losing the plot, and thus, the audience’s respect. Andrew Lloyd Webber for the win!

5. Gavin and Stacey
Won a ton of comedy awards and rightly so. Funny and so, so sweet, the best BBC3 sitcom since, well, Pulling, which was also rather good.

4. Come Dine With Me
This show follows amateur dinner party hosts over the course of a week, competing to win a cash prize. And its mix of car-crash vs amazing food makes it a total winner. The only downer was the bizarre scheduling.

3. Masterchef Goes Large / Celebrity Masterchef
6:30 cookery shows are one of my fave things EVAR, and this is the boss of them all. Admittedly, the final is always a let down and the voiceover is FROM HELL, but the format, the contestants, the food, the wondering ‘could I do that? what would I cook?’ make it one of TV’s highlights. And best of all, because they do a ‘normal’ version and a ‘celeb’ one, we get two series a year. Result!

2. The Apprentice
It’s always great, but this year suffered a little from repeated task syndrome and the boringly predictable Sugar-picks-the-dull-one-despite-the-other-one-being-miles-better-like-always finale. Especially as Simon was clearly rubbish in several tasks. But it had Lohit, and the Judoon, and K-Grimes, and evil Katie and feckless Paul and ‘I AM your boss’ Rory Laing. And, of course, Nick and Margaret. So it was still the aces.

1. Doctor Who
Well, of course. Two words: Martha Jones. Two more words: The Master. Two more: Captain Jack. Two more: Human Nature. Two more: Sally Sparrow. Two More: Kylie Minogue. Two more: David Tennant. Nothing could touch this. Even the duff epiosdes (The Shakespeare Code for example) were better than most other TV could dream of being. Gridlock was a joy. Human Nature/The Famliy of Blood were awesome. Blink was wonderful. The final trilogy was a stonker. The only thing that consistently let it down was the Rose-worship and the stupid Martha-Doctor love (which even RTD admits was a mistake, and is the reason the amazing Freema isn’t the main companion in series 4. Though I have hopes for Donna, and I know Martha will come back uber-fierce), but that aside, best TV of the decade. Probably.


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