The Year in Review: Best television of 2010

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The Independent Culture

Prime Ministerial Debates

BBC/ITV/Sky

Despite live pyrotechnics from both EastEnders and Coronation Street, the three leadership debates provided the event television in 2010. Often dull, and corseted by pre-agreed rules, they still reshaped the political landscape.



Grandma's House

BBC2

Stiff competition from Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon in The Trip and Marc Wooten's La La Land, but Simon Amstell's downbeat family comedy edged it with a beautifully written script and a set of note-perfect performances framing the star's weirdly compelling decision not to act at all.



The Great British Bake-off

BBC2

Other reality shows had bigger audiences and better grotesques (The Apprentice's Baggs the Brand and I'm a Celebrity's Gillian McKeith). This one had the best cakes and burrowed its way to a surprisingly complex emotional filling through layers of perfectly baked Victoria sponge.



Sherlock

BBC1

Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss's updating of Holmes to contemporary London provided the wittiest escapism of the year – and Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman took a great double act in a new and refreshing direction.



This is England '86

Channel 4

The popular vote may have been for Downton Abbey but if you preferred your historical drama with fewer toffs and more edge, Shane Meadows' account of the further adventures of Woody, Lol, Shaun and their friends was unbeatable.

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