The Christmas holidays have given me time to catch up on Britain’s favourite pastime, television. I have watched everything from comedy to period drama, and if you are looking to fill the hours with viewing pleasure, make sure you check out my following picks:
2. Africa with David Attenborough - this series has to be one of the best documentaries I have ever watched. With stunning cinematography catching the most outrageous yet real-life images of Rhino’s flirting and Giraffe’s duelling, this new series from everyone’s favourite nature presenter is a must-watch (Wednesdays at 9pm, BBC One)
3. Modern Family - although a new series is not yet showing, fans of My Family, Malcolm in the Middle or In with the Flynns will love this American series. It’s laugh-out-loud funny, showcasing three different families and their ordinary lives, with humorous results. The gorgeous Sofia Vergara also appears, so you could just watch it for her (Sky 1)
4. Restless - a fantastic two-part series I managed to catch over Christmas, the BBC’s adaptation of the classic William Boyd book was fantastic, with enough drama and suspense to fill the 3 hours of screen time. With a stellar cast of acting greats including Hayley Atwell and Michael Gambon, fans of espionage and crime will love this series (BBC iPlayer, or available on DVD soon)
5. Ripper Street - this new series, based in the grimy streets of 19th century London, is not only gruesome but also fantastically shot. The first episode kicked off with more drama, blood and gore then an episode of Holby City. Based loosely on the events after Jack the Ripper, the series is bound to excite and shock viewers nationwide (Sundays at 9pm, BBC One)
6. Mr Selfridge - forget Downton, ITV have launched a new period drama, this time marking the opening of Selfridges, one of Oxford Street’s most iconic department stores. With a strong cast and gorgeous sets, the series has been applauded by the critics, and makes a change from the usual reality tv-crap on ITV (Sundays at 9pm, ITV One)
7. Miranda - perhaps the funniest female comic in the UK, Miranda has returned with arguably her best series ever. Half way in to the series and I’m still falling off the sofa in hysterics at the very funny antics of Miranda Hart, who just warms the whole living room with her easy-going, no-nonsense comedy. (Mondays at 9pm, BBC One)
8. Winners & Losers - the second series of this fantastic Australian series has just finished on ITV 2, but you can still catch up online and on ITV Player. The finale of series 2 ended with an explosion, a revelation, a hostage and a suicide attempt; it’s crazy what happens in Oz right! (ITV 2/ ITV Player)
And a few not to watch:
9. Splash! With Tom Daley - I didn’t realise ITV could scrape the barrel any lower, but it seems they can. The latest reality tv concept see’s celebrities (or rather, has-beens or nobodies) learn how to dive in front of the camera, with help from diver Tom Daley. I don’t know what irritates me the most; the fact ITV just won’t stop with the same-old boring celebrity-reality tv concept, or the fact that Tom Daley is so desperate for attention I now have to see him on my TV every week. Please ITV, send Splash! too the deepest, darkest depths.
10. Celebrity Big Brother - it is a shame that Channel Five seem so persistent on broadcasting Big Brother 52 weeks of the year, because the channel is actually improving across the board. Trisha Goddard is back, their documentaries and lifestyle programmes are actually interesting and the imports from the US are pretty good. But sadly this is all ruined by Celebrity Big Brother/ Big Brother. The only programme that actually has celebrities on it is Strictly Come Dancing, and thank god that is only on once a year. So please Channel 5, ditch the show and focus on your other attributes.