The Arqiva British Academy Television Awards (or the TV BAFTAs, for short) will take place on 12th May, so in readiness for this prestigious event the DTSFT Team
have let me out of the cupboard under the stairs and extended my daily computer allowance are celebrating the best of today’s British TV favourites.
Personally, I think that there aren’t that many British TV shows with substance around *cough* TOWIE *cough*, but what it lacks in quantity, it definitely makes up for in quality.
Here are some British TV shows that keep me glued to the screen:
What’s it about? It’s the 1960s in Oxford and a young Detective Constable Endeavour (yes, Endeavour) Morse joins City Police and helps them to solve murders. Oh, and he likes opera and classical music. A lot of it.
I can’t praise this show enough. To be honest I never watched Inspector Morse (which I hear is very good) but having seen this (and of course, Lewis, another fantastic spin-off) I am definitely going to watch the John Thaw series.
It’s a classic detective series set in the lovely region of Oxford, with fascinating storylines and characters that you can’t help but love – a rather handsome Shaun Evans is mesmerizing as Morse, Roger Allam provides a warmth to the otherwise moody tone of the show as Thursday, and even cocky git Jakes (played by Jack Laskey) adds a nice edge!
And it’s not just who and what you see on-screen that makes it brilliant: the direction, music (the fabulous, fabulous music) and editing are all done wonderfully and intended to create a certain effect.
It’s a shame it’s only just started so it couldn’t be considered for the BAFTAs, because it’s a serious contender. I hope it comes back for another series!
What’s it about? A retelling of the classic series of Sherlock Holmes books by Arthur Conan Doyle, set in modern day London.
When I first found out about Sherlock, I was intrigued but not too sure if it would work. How wrong I was! I think most of us can agree that the first and second series have been amazing, and Benedict Cumberbatch (who plays Sherlock) and Martin Freeman (who plays John Watson) are a
bromance force to be reckoned with. Even though our period dramas are fantastic, British TV seems to fall short when it comes to modern programmes, and I think Sherlock has managed to fill that gap and set the bar for others (even if it is a very high bar). It makes for perfect viewing if you like your Sunday nights less corsets and Victoria sponge and more dark alleyways and rambling psychotic monologues.
If you’ve been living under a rock that’s been living under a rock for the past few weeks, I’m sure you know that a third series is currently being filmed and it’s due to air late this year/early next year. I personally can’t wait.
Inspector George Gently
What’s it about? When transferred to Durham from London, Inspector George Gently teams up with ambitious young Detective Sergeant John Bacchus to solve murders.
I think this show is seriously underrated and I can’t believe that BAFTA haven’t even realised how awesome it is. But in some weird way, I think the fact that it’s going on under the radar adds to its appeal, sort of like an underground movement…
I did say before that B-Batch and Mar Freezy have a great partnership on and off screen that no-one could come close to, but I reckon Gently and Bacchus (played wonderfully by Martin Shaw and Lee Ingleby respectively) are good contenders. Their relationship on screen is respectful, touching and hilarious, especially when Gently schools Bacchus’ ig’nant ass on a few social issues. What I love most about it is that the characters seem to be straight-forward enough at first glance, but as Gently and Bacchus delve deeper into a case and more evidence comes to light, these seemingly normal characters start to unravel and much, much darker sides are revealed.
*POTENTIAL SPOILER* A new series is being filmed after that cray cray cliffhanger at the end of last series which left our heroes bleeding out on a church floor. Did they both make it? We’ll have to see.
God I watch waaaay too many murder mysteries. #23goingon80
What’s it about? When eleven-year-old Danny Latimer is found dead on the beach in sleepy town Broadchurch, DI Alec Hardy and Broadchurch local DS Ellie Miller have to find the killer, uncovering untold secrets about the town’s residents in the process.
If you’ve haven’t been watching Broadchurch these past few weeks you need to watch it and soon, because you’re missing out. David Tennant definitely stands out as DI Alec Hardy, in what has been (in my opinion) his best role since Doctor Who. Yeah I said it. I think he’ll definitely be up for a BAFTA next year, and if not him then Olivia Colman, who is always a joy to watch.
I have honestly never seen a murder mystery set out in this way, so it’s been very refreshing to watch. It also makes the tension much greater because it’s all taking place in one area where everyone knows everyone, so when the killer is revealed it’s going to be a big shock for the other characters as well as the viewers. As I write this, the final episode is showing tonight at 9pm…
*UPDATE* I’m sure you’ll agree that the finale was fantastic, and you punched the air (or did some sort of celebration) at the news that a second series is on the way, which, as creator and writer Chris Chibnall teased, will be ‘a very different story’. Intriguing!
OK, OK, I know it’s finished, but I’ve only just got into this so cut me some slack!
What’s it about? A vampire, a werewolf and a ghost live together and try to become accepted in society while battling their own personal (and actual) demons.
I managed to catch the last episode of Series 4 and I quite enjoyed it, so when I saw that Series 5 was on I decided to follow it, and it was brilliant. I’m quite into the supernatural genre (you would think it was crime dramas from this post!) but sadly there aren’t many around at the moment, and the ones that we do have often get cancelled way too early…but that issue needs a whole post to itself!
Series 5 was amazing (if not a little too short) and at the moment I’ve gone back to the beginning and I’m watching Series 1, which is just as good. The cast gel extremely well together and the show provides just as much laughs as it does in horror. But what I think makes it great is that even though it’s all about vampires and werewolves and so on, it’s still relatable – it addresses issues that in fact make us human, such as addiction, relationships and coming to terms with and accepting change.
It still stings that the show was axed, but I congratulate Toby Whithouse for creating a brilliant show with memorable characters. And for introducing us to Damien Molony, a fantastic actor with a beautiful face and abs to boot. Oh yes. Thank you very much indeed.
What’s it about? The lives and loves of the Earl of Grantham and his family and the servants.
If there’s one thing British TV does well, it’s period drama, and Downton Abbey is a perfect example. It’s was created and written by the award-winning screenwriter Julian Fellowes, so you know already that it’s going to be brilliant. Every episode has the right amount of drama, humour and romance, and I like how the stories are set against the changing times e.g. from World War I to the roaring 20s and so on. Not only that, but the costumes are gorgeous, the music is rich and soaring, and the cast is pretty much perfect and they bring a lot of heart to their characters. (Side note: I am STILL miffed about Dan Stevens getting killed off from the show. I saw a picture of Matthew Crawley’s lifeless body lying next to his car and it made me angry. Seriously).
Surprisingly Downton hasn’t received any BAFTAs this year, but a fourth series is currently being filmed and is set to include some new characters – including a black jazz singer called Jack Ross (played by the very lovely Gary Carr) who is going to ruffle a few feathers and perhaps break a few hearts!
What’s it about? Amateur cooks from across the UK show off their best (and worst) cooking skills in a competition to become…erm…Masterchef!
Who doesn’t like Masterchef? It’s got food in it!
I used to watch this when it was on back in the day and hosted by Lloyd Grossman, and today it’s just as fascinating and unintentionally funny. John Torodes and Gregg Wallace are great hosts and have a good bit of banter together, with the former’s expressive language and attention to detail, and the latter’s cockerney geezaa attitude and inventive sounds made when he likes something.
But essentially, Masterchef is all about the contestants, and they never fail to entertain. They show up, they cook, they sweat, they get nervous, they cry, they cook some more, they burn things, injure themselves, rush around, cry some more, and then cook some more. I really do admire them though because I don’t think I could handle that sort of pressure. I couldn’t even make a cheese sandwich in front of the judges without falling to pieces and cutting my hand off in the process.
Speaking of shows where the contestants never fail to entertain…
What’s it about? Twelve businessmen and businesswomen undergo of series of tasks in order to become Lord Alan Sugar’s apprentice, under the watchful eye of cool cat Nick Hewer and B.A.B.E (Bad-Ass Beyotch Er’yday) Karren Brady.
The Apprentice is my favourite reality TV show and I love live-tweeting through each episode with my friends (because I’m that cool *sobs bitterly*). I like the fact that Lorshuga takes it extremely seriously, which he rightly should – he’s looking for someone professional and enthusiastic who’s got a good business brain and is willing to work hard for and with him, whereas other TV shows are just looking for the next gimmick.
But like I said before, it’s about the contestants. Every series brings a new set of idiots and enough priceless quotes to write a novel (“I do exactly what it says on the tin”, “I’m the blonde assassin”, “My name is Nargis. Did you know that there are over 6 million cat owners in the UK, and most of them live in London?”). Having said that, though, it’s easy for us to just sit behind our Twitter accounts and cuss them all out, but we can’t be sure of what we would do if we were in their position. We can say that we’d win each task no problem, but really, who knows? We might turn out to be just as bad as them, or worse.
But we’re not in that position. So hi-ho, hi-ho, it’s back to Twitter we go…
There’s an advert that’s been floating around the BBC for a week or so signalling the new series (which starts Tuesday 7th May, set your reminders) but until then, I’ll leave you with some wise and enlightening words from one of the previous contestants:
“I think outside the box, so much that if I was an apple pie, instead of apples inside, it would be orange.”
– Alex Epstein, 2010