Television Review of the year: Nice shows, shame about the phone-in scandals

'Blue Peter' fined 50,000 for fakery? Ouch. It can't have been much fun inside TV in 2007 but the view from my sofa was just dandy

This year they burned effigies of Celebrity Big Brother producers in New Delhi. This year Blue Peter Blue Peter! was fined 50,000 by Ofcom for faking a competition winner. This year every major channel was caught up in a phone-in competition scandal, and most ended up donating huge sums to charity (you know things have gone badly wrong when they have to do that). This year the BBC had 2bn cut from its budget. Oh, and this year, the Queen didn't throw a hissy fit, and two telly chiefs Peter Fincham of BBC1 and Stephen Lambert of RDF resigned as a consequence. Inside-out, TV must have looked pretty horrible, but from where I was sitting, things were dandy.

Firstly, documentaries. Louis Theroux's eye was off the ball, and Paul Watson was embroiled in a distasteful was-he-or-wasn't-he row about when his interviewee died of Alzheimer's, so it was left to Molly Dineen to seize the glory for her documentary The Lie of the Land (Channel 4), a profile of farmers in Cornwall that showed an industry on the brink: cash-starved and brutal. "We've become unreal about animals," warned one of its interviewees, as he shot a glossy, healthy day-old calf in the head because letting it live was too expensive. It was deeply affecting, a countryside cri de coeur.

Next, presenters. Sadly, for every Lauren Laverne (witty, chic, intelligent) there are 10 Alan Titchmarshes (vain and platitudinous). And yet it's Titch who gets an epic series. The campaign "Please Can Someone Female Present a Landmark Show Before the Year 3000?" starts here. Andrew Marr took his History of Modern Britain at a cracking pace, scattering nuggets of tasty trivia, but his partisan approach began to tell (Macmillan deserved more than mockery) and he can feel hectoring. Matthew Collings's This is Civilisation was erudite, but he lacks charm. Jonathan Meades (Abroad Again, BBC4) is the only one who has it all: thrillingly baroque vocabulary, stern, motionless onscreen presence, a manner that's confidential but never chummy... He' s the anti-Titchmarsh of my dreams.

Best homegrown drama? A tie between Channel 4's gawky but fresh teenage drama Skins, BBC1's gentle, droll Cranford, and Channel 4's It's a Free World, by Ken Loach an involving story of how an ordinary woman became a people trafficker. The second series of The Street by Jimmy McGovern was also exceptional, culminating in a shattering episode about what happens when a juvenile murderer (Toby Kebbell) grows up. It knocked Channel 4's film about the same topic, Boy A, into a cocked hat, or whatever rhetorical shape we knock things into these days.

Lots of gaudy US imports, this year, from the camp knockabout of Channel 4's Ugly Betty (she's wearing a hideous jumper, and then, like, she falls over! Perfect for, erm, gay, male six-year-olds) to BBC2's tiresomely fantastical Heroes (will a comic-book baddie destroy the world? Or will the vacuous voiceovers do it first?). Even the initially brilliant Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip became tiringly formulaic, as there's only so many times a satirical US TV show can nearly get shut down... and once an episode is too often.

The Dodgy Boomerang Award for the most dubious career comeback goes to Danielle Lloyd, who disgraced herself on Celebrity Big Brother but is now insidiously regaining a media toehold, appearing on Katie and Peter Unleashed boasting about how ethnically diverse her friends are.

The Wrongheaded Old Man Award goes to Sir Patrick Moore, for this outburst: "The trouble is that the BBC is run by women and it shows: soap operas, cooking, quizzes, kitchen-sink plays..." (Damn that Look Back in Anger nothing but washing-up tips!)

And, finally, the hotly contested Worst Wig in a Period Drama Award goes to Victoria Wood's mophead in Ballet Shoes. Till next year, goodbye!

Arts and Entertainment
Secrets of JK Rowling's Harry Potter workings have been revealed in a new bibliography
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
Fearne Cotton is leaving Radio 1 after a decade
radio The popular DJ is leaving for 'family and new adventures'
Arts and Entertainment
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
Public Service Broadcasting are going it alone
music
Arts and Entertainment
Eddie Redmayne as transgender artist Lili Elbe in The Danish Girl

First look at Oscar winner as transgender artistfilm
Arts and Entertainment

Oscars 2015 Mexican filmmaker uses speech to urge 'respect' for immigrants

Arts and Entertainment
The Oscar nominations are due to be announced today

Oscars 2015 Bringing you all the news from the 87th Academy Awards

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
Lloyd-Hughes takes the leading role as Ralph Whelan in Channel 4's epic new 10-part drama, Indian Summers

TV Review

The intrigue deepens as we delve further but don't expect any answers just yet
Arts and Entertainment
Jason Segal and Cameron Diaz star in Sex Tape

Razzies 2015 Golden Raspberry Awards 'honours' Cameron Diaz and Kirk Cameron

Arts and Entertainment
The Oscars ceremony 2015 will take place at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles
Oscars 2015A quiz to whet your appetite for tonight’s 87th Academy Awards
Arts and Entertainment
Sigourney Weaver, as Ripley, in Alien; critics have branded the naming of action movie network Movies4Men as “offensive” and “demographic box-ticking gone mad”.
TVNaming of action movie network Movies4Men sparks outrage
Arts and Entertainment
Sleater Kinney perform at the 6 Music Festival at the O2 Academy, Newcastle
musicReview: 6 Music Festival
Arts and Entertainment
Sleater Kinney perform at the 6 Music Festival at the O2 Academy, Newcastle
musicReview: 6 Music Festival
News
Kristen Stewart reacts after receiving the Best Actress in a Supporting Role award for her role in 'Sils Maria' at the 40th annual Cesar awards
people
News
A lost Sherlock Holmes story has been unearthed
arts + ents Walter Elliot, an 80-year-old historian, found it in his attic,
Arts and Entertainment
Margot Robbie rose to fame starring alongside Leonardo DiCaprio in The Wolf of Wall Street

Film Hollywood's new leading lady talks about her Ramsay Street days

Arts and Entertainment
Right note: Sam Haywood with Simon Usborne page turning
musicSimon Usborne discovers it is under threat from the accursed iPad
Arts and Entertainment
A life-size sculpture by Nick Reynolds depicting singer Pete Doherty on a crucifix hangs in St Marylebone church
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
Escalating tension: Tang Wei and Chris Hemsworth in ‘Blackhat’
filmReview: Chris Hemsworth stars as a convicted hacker in Blackhat
Arts and Entertainment

Oscar voter speaks out

film
Arts and Entertainment
The Oscars race for Best Picture will be the battle between Boyhood and Birdman

Oscars
Arts and Entertainment
Anne Boleyn (Claire Foy), Thomas Cromwell (Mark Rylance)
tvReview: Wolf Hall
Arts and Entertainment
Tom Meighan of Kasabian collects the Best Album Award
music
Arts and Entertainment
Best supporting stylist: the late L’Wren Scott dressed Nicole Kidman in 1997
film
Arts and Entertainment
Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan as Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey in Fifty Shades of Grey

Film

Arts and Entertainment
Mick Carter (Danny Dyer) and Peggy Mitchell (Barbara Windsor)
tv occurred in the crucial final scene
Arts and Entertainment
Glasgow wanted to demolish its Red Road flats last year
architecture
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

    Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

    Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
    How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

    Time to play God

    Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
    MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

    MacGyver returns, but with a difference

    Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
    Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

    Tunnel renaissance

    Why cities are hiding roads underground
    'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

    Boys to men

    The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
    Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

    Crufts 2015

    Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
    10 best projectors

    How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

    Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
    Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

    Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

    Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
    Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

    Monaco: the making of Wenger

    Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
    Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

    Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

    Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
    In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

    In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

    This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
    'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

    Homage or plagiarism?

    'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
    Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

    A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

    Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
    A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

    Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

    A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower