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It’s that time again where we blow the dust off the past year before we enter into a new year of telly. I’ll be honest, compiling this year’s best TV has been difficult. It’s not been a bad year of TV; but it’s not been the most stellar either.

However, despite this I’ve whittled down to my top 40. My choices are based on what has either blown me away, or simply just been a pleasure to watch. As with any list there will be omissions (it is down to personal taste after all), feel free to add your own choices in the comments.

40. Cuffs – BBC1


The BBC cut it after one series, but despite that Cuffs had the difficult job of filling the 8pm slot. It ‘s very reminiscent of US rookie shows – which personally I don’t think is a bad thing, plus its representation of LGBT characters (who are not in a soap) before the watershed was a step in the right direction.

39. Poldark – BBC1

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Sweeping Cornish scenery and Aidan Turner, what more could you ask for?

38. London Spy – BBC2


I love a good spy story done well, so I’d been waiting for London Spy which had been a long time on hold before it actually aired. It was more of a gentler in the shadows spy drama, which I don’t mind, compared to Ben Whishaw‘s other spy outing in Bond. At times the series tried to be too ‘arty’ focusing more on interesting lingering camera angles than driving forward the plot.

37. Secret Life Of 4, 5 & 6 Year Olds – Channel 4


We’ve all been there; not many of us remember though. And that’s part of the appeal, seeing these little humans figuring out who they are and where they fit and thinking “was I ever like that?”

36. Up The Women – BBC2


Another BBC cut, which is a shame as it’s a great comedy that’s cleverly intertwines the suffragette movement with some odd characters that you can’t help but love, despite most of them being completely hopeless.

35. Wayward Pines – Fox


It is bonkers, annoying in places but oddly addictive. Wayward Pines become more than a mystery when we discover that the community is the future of civilisation. A scary thought in itself.

Wayward Pines returning for second series

34. No Offence – Channel 4

no offence

No Offence pulls off a great mix of comedy and drama with a great cast of strong female leads in Elaine Cassidy and Utopia‘s Alexandra Roach. 

No Offence commissioned for a second series

33. Orange Is The New Black – Netflix


OITNB returned to great hype, unfortunately, it didn’t quite live up to it. Although still very enjoyable, at times it felt like Jenji Kohan lost what made the series successful in the first place by focusing on too many peripheral characters, taking away from the characters we really cared about.

OINTB Season 3 review

32. The Musketeers – BBC1


A darker series saw Marc Warren step in as a worthy adversary after the departure of Peter Capaldi, while Milady got more backstory. And yes, I still love Athos despite my dislike of beards.

The Musketeers series 3 review

Rupert Everett, Matthew McNulty join The Musketeers S3

31. This Is England ’90 – Channel 4


It’s a grim world but it’s ability to make us care about the characters despite their many flaws draws us back every time. The dinner scene was painful to watch but showed the cast at it rawest and best.

Check out the rest of the countdown in the coming days.

30 – 21, 20 – 11