Members of the team pick their favourite programmes of 2021 and predict what will cut through next year
Deputy editor, Broadcast
Top 3 programmes of the year: Clarkson’s Farm (Amazon Prime / Expectation) – controversial former Top Gear host’s likeable side is finally revealed; Blair & Brown: The New Labour Revolution (BBC2 / BBC Studios) / Spice Girls: How Girl Power Changed Britain (C4 / 72 Films) – standout docs transported me back to the halcyon pre-Broadcast days; The White Lotus (Sky Atlantic/HBO) – matched Succession for its cast of unlikeable heroes
Programme that surprised you the most: This is MY House (BBC1 / Expectation) – the surreal guessing game that shouldn’t have worked kept me coming back more often than Fern 1
Favourite TV moment of the year: Squid Game (Netflix) – the moment the contestants realise the stakes are perilously high made me sit up
What will you be watching over Christmas: BBC1’s Superworm (Magic Light) and C4’s The Abominable Snow Baby (Eagle Eye) for the kids, honest – followed by A Very British Scandal (BBC1 / Blueprint) and hopes Joe Lycett can fill Richard Ayoade’s Travel Man shoes (C4 / North One)
A prediction for 2022: Crew shortages to be resolved, enough studio space for all and an end to Covid protocols.
Content lead, Broadcast Intelligence
Top 3 programmes of the year: It’s a Sin for the most ecstatic joy and crushing sadness in one series, 9/11 Inside the President’s War Room for its phenomenal storytelling and access and RuPaul’s Drag Race UK for being my emotional support blanket this year.
Programmes that surprised you the most: Series three of You on Netflix – a constant why am I still watching this? but still captivating and funny, despite all the murder.
Favourite TV moment of the year: Mr Blobby on BBC News
What will you be watching over Christmas: Using my parents’ Sky to finally start Succession – anyone know if it’s any good?
A prediction for 2022: Aliens visit and overwhelmed by the sheer amount of SVoD services they have to pay for in order to watch all the great shows everyone’s talking about, promptly leave
Content researcher, Broadcast Intelligence
Top 3 programmes of the year: Clickbait, Impeachment: American Crime Story, Ted Lasso
Programmes that surprised you the most: Ted Lasso (did not think it would make me laugh so much)
Favourite TV moment of the year: This Morning - Barry Humphries confuses Dermot O’Leary for Phillip Schofield
What will you be watching over Christmas: Succession and all of the Harry Potters
A prediction for 2022: Season six of Peaky Blinders will be amazing and so will the new season of Stranger Things!
Senior content researcher, Broadcast Intelligence
Top 3 programmes of the year: It’s A Sin, Stath Lets Flats, Feel Good
Programmes that surprised you the most: Undercover OAP: The Mole Agent (BBC Storyville), Clarkson’s Farm
Favourite news story or TV moment of the year: Drag Race UK season two’s anthem UK Hun? hitting number one in the charts is about as iconic as it gets.
What will you be watching over Christmas: Some good old-fashioned family fun with Succession and The Sopranos…
A prediction for 2022: In an increasingly clustered SVoD market, this might just be the year Netflix loses its streaming crown. Alternatively, the streaming wars come to a head, Netflix and Disney+ fall by the wayside and Quibi re-emerges from the ashes
Top 3 programmes of the year: This Way Up, Unforgotten and It’s A Sin
Programmes that surprised you the most: Blair & Brown: The New Labour Revolution was so watchable – hindsight is 20/20. Archive footage showed younger Blair and Brown full of energy, smiles and ambition. But in the squirmy present-day interviews, the pair looked old and weary. It all felt weirdly sad and familiar, with so many parallels today
Favourite TV moment of the year: I’m a big fan of Joe Lycett, and enjoyed him staging a walk-out on Steph’s Packed Lunch in a bid to draw attention to the issue of recycling and single-use plastics
What will you be watching over Christmas: The Girl Before
Top 3 programmes of the year: It’s A Sin (C4) – a heart-rending yet joyful portrayal of an important part of the UK’s social history; Dopesick (Star/Disney+) – the epitome of bingeable SVoD drama of corporate greed, underdog heroes and tragedy; Untold: Deal With the Devil (Netflix) - The anthology sports doc had everything in spades. This particular film was enthralling, shocking, staggering and ultimately beautiful.
Programmes that surprised you the most: The Tower (ITV) – Had me hooked from start to finish. Low-fi, but with proper edge. Gemma Whelan and Jimmy Akingbola can be an on-screen partnership for a long time; The Outlaws (BBC1) – an exceptional show, criminally underrated; Gods of Snooker – a phenomenal achievement to make snooker feel sexy and noir-esque. It’s snooker!
Favourite TV moment of the year: I’m tempted to say Piers Morgan’s paper-thin skin when something doesn’t go his way, because it’s just too funny to watch him lose his sh*t when he’s in the wrong. But Emma Raducanu winning the US Open was exceptional. Her tennis and temperament were outstanding. Oh, and as an aside, she proved Piers Morgan wrong – delicious.
What will you be watching over Christmas: I will be bingeing Succession S3 as I’ve not yet had a chance to watch it. Plus I have high hopes for Mark Gatiss’ rendering of M R James’ The Mezzotint on BBC2. BBC1’s Around The World in 80 Days also is on the agenda
Prediction for 2022: One of the major SVoDs will be folded into another. It could be Discovery+ being subsumed by HBO Max or it could be a consolidation play. There will be a big M&A piece next year which we’re all shocked by
Top 3 programmes of the year: It’s A Sin, Mare of Easttown, Maid
Programmes that surprised you the most: Only Murders in the Building, Drive to Survive
Favourite news story of the year: Favourite news story was the Ever Given tanker getting stuck in the Suez Canal for a week and the memes it inspired.
What will you be watching over Christmas: I’ll be getting into the festive mood by finding out what all the fuss is about Succession!
Top 3 programmes of the year: Squid Game, The Underground Railroad, and The Outlaws
Programmes that surprised you the most: The third season of Sex Education was most surprising to me this year from how it brilliantly captured so many important diverse topics without haste or a forced sense of moral imperative. It consistently broke barriers on its representation of disability and sex along with non-binary and queer relationships, whilst remaining a hilarious comedy at its core
Favourite TV moment of the year: Channel 4 Black to Front Day. It was rewarding and gratifying to see new black talent especially those that have leaned upon digital platforms for visibility get showcased on primetime television
What will you be watching over Christmas: Strictly Come Dancing Christmas special and joining the adventures of Doctor Who in the Eve of the Daleks new year’s day episode. I will also be looking forward to watching Claire Foy play the Duchess of Argyll alongside Paul Bettany in the BBC1 drama A Very British Scandal on Boxing Day
Prediction for 2022: I expect (hope) fewer shows on Covid in addition to an increase in the fantasy genre
Online content manager
Top 3 programmes of the year: Brassic for its silliness, Succession for its brilliant writing and acting performances, Uprising for its moving storytelling.
Programmes that surprised you the most: I really enjoyed Only Murders in the Building on Disney+. A pleasant light whodunnit with plot twists aplenty. The silent episode was particularly intriguing. I also hadn’t expected to watch Match of the Day so often in 2021, but then I didn’t expect West Ham to record 21 league wins in the calendar year
Favourite TV moment of the year: I generally try to avoid US domestic news where possible, but the coverage and subsequent documentaries around the events of 6 Jan, at the Capitol Building, have been gripping to watch.
What will you be watching over Christmas: If I can surgically remove the remote control from the hands of the kids, I’m looking forward to checking out The Tourist, which launches on New Year’s Day.
Prediction for 2022: Channel 4 will not be privatised. Plus, my Match of the Day viewing average will diminish