2013’s coming to an end, so it’s time to stare nostalgically back at the past year of television and hand out awards to the best shows CultBox has covered over the past 12 months…
Nominations: Being Human, In The Flesh, Downton Abbey, Misfits, Doctor Who, Black Mirror, Peaky Blinders, Last Tango in Halifax, Utopia, The Escape Artist.
And the winner is… Peaky Blinders!
Peaky Blinders just nudges ahead in a crowded field of brilliant British drama, giving us a gripping story set in an immersive industrial landscape that was far more cinematic than you expect from a Thursday night drama on BBC Two. Cillian Murphy was a magnetic, sharp-cheeked lead, Sam Neill was all moustache and Ulster bluster, and it was scripted and shot with impeccable attention. This wasn’t the British Boardwalk Empire. This was better.
Best Crime Drama
Nominations: Broadchurch, The Fall, Shetland, Luther, What Remains, Poirot, The Tunnel, Scott & Bailey, Ripper Street, Whitechapel.
And the winner is… Broadchurch!
It’s been a crowded year for crime, but Broadchurch proved to be the big hitter with an eight-part mystery that kept the British public guessing and gossiping like members of the eponymous town. We all had our theories of who killed Danny Latimer, and many of us were right (I wasn’t, damnit). But the appeal of Broadchurch wasn’t simply in the whodunnit but the secrets that arose from it, articulated by a faultless cast. Bring on Broadchurch 2.
Nominations: David Bradley (An Adventure in Space and Time), David Tennant (Broadchurch), Stephen Dillane (The Tunnel), Damien Molony (Being Human), Joe Gilgun (Misfits), Matt Smith (Doctor Who).
And the winner is… David Bradley!
David Bradley’s exquisitely judged portrayal of William Hartnell ran the entire spectrum of human emotion: frustration, joy, confusion, grief… everything but ‘hungry’ really (is that an emotion?). And as he experienced each so did we. This was a man in whom we saw ourselves, our granddads, our hopes and fears, and our fandom, and Bradley channelled that in a way that paid dignified service to Hartnell while giving him plenty of space to act his socks off.
Nominations: Jenna Coleman (Doctor Who), Olivia Colman (Broadchurch), Gillian Anderson (The Fall), Kate Bracken (Being Human), Clemence Poesy (The Tunnel), Nicola Walker (Last Tango in Halifax).
And the winner is… Olivia Colman!
It couldn’t be anyone but Olivia Colman. As Broadchurch‘s Ellie Miller she embodied the concerned mum, the dedicated police officer, the neighbourhood friend, and finally the heartbroken wife, each with absolute believability. You came to think of Ellie, not as a character, or even a real person, but as a friend. It’s that kind of human performance that Colman brings to everything she does.
Nominations: Bad Education, The Wrong Mans, Vicious, Drifters, Count Arthur Strong, Psychobitches, Yonderland.
And the winner is… Yonderland!
In general, 2013 was to comedy what a canal is to a sack of cats, but there were a couple of outstanding shows. Sky1’s Yonderland just pips BBC Two’s excellent The Wrong Mans and Sky Arts’ sublime Psychobitches, simply by virtue of being a genuinely funny comedy that the whole family can watch together. How often does one of those come along? There’s something for everyone in the Horrible Histories team’s madcap fantasy-ribbing recipe of puppets, inventive characters, more puppets, and cheeky humour.
Best Children’s Drama
Nominations: Wizards vs Aliens, Wolfblood, MI High.
And the winner is… Wolfblood!
Like all the best children’s dramas, CBBC’s Wolfblood is too good to be just for an audience below the legal driving age. That’s probably why it was repeated on BBC Three earlier this year with tremendous success, giving us old fogies the chance to enjoy the supernatural show that combines the trials of being a teenager with the tribulations of being able to transform into a wolf. With intelligent writing beautifully brought to life by the young cast, it’s a children’s drama that’s anything but childish.
Best Series Finale
Nominations: Peaky Blinders, The Fall, Utopia, Doctor Who, Being Human, Misfits.
And the winner is… Being Human!
Being Human wins by a wide margin for bringing us a finale that defied prediction and expectation, and gave ultimate power to its fans by letting each viewer decide whether to give its protagonists the happy ever after they deserved, or the darker truth behind their ‘victory’. Smart and soulful: it was everything the show deserved in its last hour.
Best Coat of 2013
Nominations: Len Harper’s Leather Jacket (What Remains), The 10th Doctor’s Swishy Coat (Doctor Who), Luther’s Grey Coat (Luther), Ellie Miller’s Cagoule (Broadchurch), Jonathan Creek’s Duffel (Jonathan Creek).
And the winner is… Luther’s Grey Coat!
A good year for people keeping warm and looking trendy, but none appeared as cool as John Luther, striding around London in what is presumably one of 7 identical coats that he keeps in his wardrobe. Until Sherlock returns with that outrageously fashionable fall-proof number, grey herringbone is ‘the look’.
Best Hair in a TV Show
Nominations: The 10th Doctor (Doctor Who), The 11th Doctor (Doctor Who), The 11th Doctor’s Wig (Doctor Who), The Moment as Rose Tyler (Doctor Who), Simon (The Returned).
And the winner is… Simon!
Simon’s tousled Gallic locks are a sight to behold, and even more so when you realise he’s come back from the dead. Yes, there’s more coiffure than coffin about him. What’s his secret to that ‘fresh out of the grave’ look? We may never know. There are enough mysteries for The Returned‘s second series to solve already.
Nudity of the Year
Nominations: Bruce Reynolds (A Copper’s Tale), Simon (The Returned), Rudy (Misfits), Jason (Atlantis), Simon Farnaby (Yonderland).
And the winner is… Rudy!
Lot of good looking nude folk on telly this year, but if you’ve seen one bare arse/set of abs you’ve seen them all, so Joe Gilgun’s Rudy wins for making it really interesting with his heavily tattooed canvas of skin. Face down on the floor in his birthday suit in Misfits, he looked like a naughty, man-shaped art gallery. The buns being the star exhibit.
Disappointment of the Year
And the winner is… Jonathan Creek!
You know that thing where you confuse apple juice with unleaded petrol? Yeah, no, us neither. But apparently it’s happened enough to Jonathan Creek writer David Renwick to make it a dramatic twist in ‘The Clue of the Savant’s Thumb’, which promised much and delivered oh so little. A meandering plot, turgid humour, and a ludicrous resolution made it an unfortunate entry into the once great series.
Show That Felt Like It Was Never Going to End
Nominations: The White Queen, The Tunnel, BBC Three’s Doctor Who Live: The After Party.
And the winner is… The White Queen!
Less a TV series and more an over-dressed exercise in patience and watching people give birth, The White Queen lasted so long, and its machinations moved so slowly, that by the time the last episode trundled along you expected it to be set in the early 1900s. Its finale was a cause for celebration: at about the halfway point I was worried it was going to outlive me.
Best Undead of the Year
Nominations: In the Flesh, Being Human, The Returned, the studio audience watching The Wright Way.
And the shared winners are… In the Flesh and The Returned!
Two very different depictions of the living-impaired, but it’s impossible to pick one over the other. In the Flesh was an incredibly moving story of love and prejudice told in a bleak post-Apocalyptic North, while The Returned piled stylish atmosphere and mystery on top of us in a beautifully eerie Alpine desolation. Both prove that, provided the writing is strong enough, there’s plenty of life in the undead yet.
Best Time Lord of the Year
Nominations: Matt Smith, David Tennant, John Hurt, Paul McGann, Peter Capaldi’s Eyebrows, Tom Baker.
And the winner is… Tom Baker!
Who’d have believed, a year ago, that 2013 would see no fewer than 6 versions of our favourite Time Lord on our screens? Paul McGann so very nearly took this, for managing to blow a hole in the Internet by storming back as the 8th Doctor for six-and-a-half minutes in the minisode ‘Night of The Doctor’. But there was an even bigger, more nostalgic surprise to come as Tom Baker, the man who refused to appear in ‘The Five Doctors’ all those years ago, returned as ‘The Curator’. Older, greyer, bigger bags under those saucer eyes, but my God, he never missed a beat. It was like he never stopped being The Doctor. we suspect a lot of fans – and Baker himself – feel that’s the case.
TV Event of 2013
And the winner is… Doctor Who: ‘The Day of the Doctor’!
Day of The Doctor? More like year of The Doctor! (Hold for applause.) 50 years of expectation were met and exceeded in an episode that united fandom from across the divides of age, geography, and preference of Doctor. No matter where you were watching and who you were watching with, you were taking part in television history. And it actually felt like it. Who knows how long it’ll be before we can say the same of a show again? Well, there’s always the 100th Anniversary…
What were your favourite TV moments of 2013? Let us know below…
Watch the Doctor Who 50th anniversary trailer…