Review: Our pick of the best TV in 2020. This week, number 10 to number six

It’s been a weird old year, but enforced lockdown has meant we have all watched a lot more TV than usual. Thanks to incredible efforts of a host of programme-makers, this year has been a pretty good vintage. Here’s my top 10 of the year, starting with numbers 10 to six.

Saturday, 26th December 2020, 4:08 pm

No.10 – The Crown (Netflix): Perhaps not as good as the first three series, this Royal potboiler is still quality, with terrific performances, particularly by Emma Corrin as Princess Diana and Josh O’Connor, as Charles. And no, it’s not a factual show, so take it as fiction and you’re fine.

No.9 – The Rise of the Murdoch Dynasty (BBC2, July): A litany of backstabbing, ambition and deceit, as you might expect of a documentary series chronicling the rise of Rupert Murdoch’s media empire. Eye-opening and, at times, breathtaking in its portrayal of a dysfunctional king and his court.

No.8 – Quiz (ITV, April): Another drama which was based on fact, this tale of the coughing major, Charles Ingram, and his exploits on Who Wants to be a Millionaire? was a showcase for Michael Sheen’s Chris Tarrant take-off, but it was Matthew McFadyen as the diffident, malleable major who really caught the eye.

Reece Shearsmith and Steve Pemberton feature at No.7 in our list

No.7 – Inside No.9 (BBC2, February): Astonishingly, Steve Pemberton and Reece Shearsmith’s anthology series shows no sign of flagging, this one a high quality mix of pathos, terror and comedy, especially Love’s Great Adventure, repeated this week.

No.6 – All Creatures Great and Small (Channel 5, September): A heart-warming hit, which has been renewed for a second series, this was nostalgia without the rose-tinted glasses. Just what we needed.

Next week: The top five

The rest of the festive schedule will have to go some to beat the Ghosts Christmas Special (BBC1, Weds, 8.30pm). This sitcom has always been a treat, but this was a real winter warmer. Special, indeed.

A new documentary series about Peter Sutcliffe, The Ripper (Netflix, streaming now), treads over a lot of old ground, but does have interviews with key players, including the victims’ families.