From Roxanne Pallett's dire Big Brother stint to the better-than-average Bodyguard, I reflect on the best and worst moments of TV in 2018
1st January 2019

Dotted around those two landmark events, Britain slightly lost its mind over better-than-average cop drama Bodyguard and Love Island, Roxanne Pallett boldly attempted to clamber aboard the #MeToo bandwagon, Sports Personality Of The Year awarded the World Cup to England, on some obscure technicality, and if the BBC mentioned they’d chosen a female Doctor Who once, they ­mentioned it 23,942,872 times, all before lunchtime.

That didn’t necessarily make it any good, though, did it?

You’ve probably forgotten a lot of the other bits, so here’s a reminder of the best and worst moments of 2018’s television.

Worst promo song: All Together Now, Geri Spice Girl: “I’ve Got The Music In Me.” Quick. Lock it up before it escapes.

So bad it was good award: The Wave. Courtesy of the W Channel, a swimming-based quiz show, set in a fog bank off the coast of Portugal.

What could possibly go wrong? Rylan: “I can’t see. It’s so misty, I think we’ve lost him.” By the grace of God and the rescue teams, there were no fatalities. Go on, W, give it another series . . .

So bad it was bad award: An ITV2 aberration, “set in an abandoned zoo”, featuring Towie gimps and gorilla suits, called Evil Monkeys. More crystal meth than Crystal Maze.

Seance of the year: 5 Star’s Celebrity Ghost Hunt marks 100 years of women’s suffrage by attempting to contact Margaret Thatcher, in a disused Essex nuclear bunker.

Towie’s Bobby Cole Norris: “Margaret, please give us a sign if there’s anyone there.” Deathly silence. Geordie Shore’s Marnie Simpson: “Who’s Margaret Thatcher?”

Worst sitcom: John Cleese’s Hold The Sunset. And now for something completely indifferent . . .

Worst reality TV update: ITV2’s Love Island rip-off Survival Of The Fittest: “Everyone’s cleaning their teeth and getting ready for an early night.” Stay tuned, folks!

Fantasist of the year: In a class of her own, former Emmerdale star Roxanne Pallett who marked September by leaving Celebrity Big Brother in disgrace, after accusing Ryan Thomas of a non-existent assault, then fled Bear Grylls’ Celebrity Island, due to fire-related memories, before quitting Celebrity Ghost Hunt, for reasons too traumatic to reveal.

Best sporting insight/farewell: Arsene Wenger: “I’d like to finish with one simple word, I will miss you.”

Best Commonwealth Games quote: Paralympian Jonnie Peacock: “If you fail a drug test, you haven’t got a leg to stand on.”

Criminal pathologist of the year: Meet The Drug Lords: Inside The Real Narcos, Jason “Foxy” Fox: “He’s had his head and both arms cut off. Then there’s the torso with a bag wrapped round the waist, just so you can see where his arms and head have been cut off. Can you tell me about the cause of death?” Natural causes?

The Alan Whicker travel reporting award: ITV’s Our Everest Challenge — Ben Fogle, to a group of men wearing heavy climbing gear at base camp 5,400 metres above sea level: “You all going up the mountain?” “Yes.”

Biggest lies/delusions of the year: Celebrity Big Brother, Hardeep Singh Kohli: “I don’t think I’ve been as much of an arse as I could’ve been.”

Good Morning Britain, Piers Morgan: “I love salad.”

The Baftas, Iain Stirling: “Please welcome two of the funniest people on the planet, Roisin Conaty and Katherine Ryan.” (Which planet?)

And The Big Narstie Show, posh-girl-slumming-it Thandie Newton: “I saw your show and I love it. This is the London I know. This is Britain for me.” Thandie’s next TV appearance? In the royal box at Wimbledon.

Worst drama rip-off: BBC1’s Age Before Beauty. It’s Cutting It (and pasting it.)

Best comedy: Honourable mentions for Harry Hill’s Alien Fun Capsule, Inside No 9, No Activity, Love Island (it is a comedy, isn’t it?) and Would I Lie To You?

None of them, though, could touch Michael McIntyre’s Big Show, where the host set himself apart from almost every other TV comedian by attempting to make the audience laugh rather than telling them how much he hated Brexit, Donald Trump and the Tories. More of this, please.

Worst comedy: Dishonourable mentions for Famalam, The Last Leg, Have I Got News For You, Channel 4’s “feminist comedy” Riot Girls, The Mash Report and all those other satirical shows that thought spewing vile, left-wing propaganda was more important than making the viewers laugh.

With the absolute worst of them being BBC2’s Frankie Boyle’s New World Order. Less of this, please.

This Morning's guest of the year: Kirsty Wright, whose proud boast is: “I can lift a can of beans with my vagina,” and will be a shoo-in for Britain’s Got Talent 2019 if she can learn to open them as well.

Worst drama: Equally solid claims here for the all-new preachy, right-on Doctor Who, The Little Drummer Girl, Wanderlust, Hard Sun, The Split, Age Before Beauty,

Strangers, Press and Collateral, with the character Viz comic forgot, DI Kip Glaspie, the pole-vaulting policewoman.

But the worst of the lot was unquestionably BBC1’s big budget bollo Troy: Fall Of A City, which really should be in the comedy section as it made me laugh so hard and was, apparently “based on the works of Homer”. Simpson, presumably. Bella Dayne played Helen, “the world’s most beautiful woman”/Victoria Beckham with added protein.

Best Brexit debate: Love Island. Georgia: “What do you think of Brexit?” Hayley: “What’s that?”

“We’re leaving the EU, so things like welfare and, like, things we trade with would all be cut down.” “So that means we wouldn’t have any trees?”

“Cheese?” “No, trees.”

Most tempting offer: Edinburgh Nights, Nish Kumar: “Where else but Edinburgh could I start my day with a lovely bit of axe-throwing?” Just name your venue and stand perfectly still.

Worst comeback: Dancing On Ice was just edged out by BBC1’s horrendous reboot of The Generation Game with Mel & Sue, which was simultaneously the Best Brucie Tribute ever.

Best comeback: Who Wants To Be A Millionaire, with Jeremy Clarkson, in a foul mood.

The "Doctor Livingstone I presume" award: ITV’s brilliant Last Laugh In Vegas. Bobby Crush: “I’m a pianist from the UK.”       “A penis?” Correct.

Most disappointing contestant in the last ever Big Brother: Lewis F. Call yourself an “arsonist”?

Meteorologist of the year: The One Show’s resident Einstein, Alex Jones, during March’s big freeze: “On the weather map, tomorrow and Thursday, it showed all this white stuff. Is that snow?”

BBC weatherman Ben Rich: “Yes.”

Worst one-off show: ITV’s Big Singalong Live, in honour of the NHS’s 70th birthday. Sara Cox, Ashley Banjo, Tony Hadley, Amber Davies off Love Island and others attempted to break the world singalong record, during a torrential summer downpour, in Abbey Road. And failed.

Or to put it another way, they didn’t get by with a little help from their friends.

Best of the rest:

  • ITV’s coverage of the Royal Wedding
  • 24 Hours In Police Custody
  • SAS: Who Dares Wins
  • The Five Billion Pound Super Sewer
  • BBC2’s Life And Death Row: The Mass Execution
  • Adrian Chiles: Drinkers Like Me.
  • Last Laugh In Vegas
  • Strictly Come Dancing, Celebrity Island With Bear Grylls
  • The Apprentice
  • Celebrity Hunted (with Johnny Mercer MP and Kay Burley)
  • Gogglebox
  • Ed Balls’ Travels In Trumpland
  • Judge Robert Rinder’s Who Do You Think You Are?
  • Graham Norton’s Eurovision commentary
  • Dec carrying Holly Willoughby for three weeks on I’m A Celeb
  • Bez getting his girlfriend to bid for his items on a celebrity edition of Bargain Hunt, with Jarvis Cocker
  • Sean(n) Walsh snogging his Strictly partner, Katya Jones
  • Doddie Weir on The One Show
  • Good Morning Britain mega-blob Piers Morgan doing the one thing no white, middle-class, heterosexual male was meant to do in 2018 – speak his mind.

Worst of the rest:

  • BBC1’s Royal Wedding coverage
  • All Together Now
  • Good Evening Britain
  • David Baddiel singing at the Sports Personality Of The Year awards
  • The X Factor
  • Survival Of The Fittest
  • The Charlotte Crosby Show.
  • I Don’t Like Mondays
  • For Facts Sake
  • Britain’s Best Home Cook (MasterChef in a care home)
  • Genderquake
  • Big Brother
  • The Circle
  • All gratuitous tributes to The NHS/suffragettes
  • Almost anything to do with Brexit
  • Ben Hanlin — Live & Deadly: Drowned, on ITV2, which came with the best health and safety announcement of the year, from host Vick Hope: “It goes without saying, don’t lock your head in a box of water, don’t handcuff yourself and don’t throw yourself in a lake."

Unless Live & Deadly: Drowned comes back in 2019. Then rule out nothing.

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