With the good must come the bad and after revealing my Top 25 here are my Top 10 picks for worst British TV shows of the year.
Citizen Khan (BBC1, Aug-Oct)
As you will see throughout this list BBC1 has had an awful year for comedy and this is more than proved by the monstrosity that is Citizen Khan. Obviously trying to reach out to the Asian community Anil Gupta’s central character, first seen in Bellamy’s People, was an awful stereotype which caused a massive backlash against the BBC and in turn meant that Citizen Khan was one of the most complained about shows of the year. From Gupta’s performance and script to the supporting performances, including one from an embarrassed looking Kris Marshall, everything was so poorly done yet somehow it received a second series. No wonder the Director General was fired.
The Exclusives (ITV2, May-Jun)
Though some reality competition shows have achieved longevity, the biggest example being The Apprentice, some have also been pretty horrendous. Step forward ITV2′s The Exclusives which attempted to give one pretty young thing the opportunity to work in the exciting world of magazine journalism. Judging from the first episode this exciting world included transcribing an interview with Big Brother rejct Michelle Bass, meeting some of the nation’s least-favourite Z-List celebs at a Brit Awards after party and buying Fruitella for members of the Made in Chelsea cast. Worse still was the fact that the contestants were used to advertise a range of products as part of the weekly premium rate phone line contest and to me that was the most offensive thing about this shambles of a programme.
Mrs Brown’s Boys (BBC1, Jan-Feb)
There are some things I just don’t understand when it comes to TV comedy and one is how Mrs Brown’s Boys can get in excess of five million viewers for one episode. Brendan O’Carroll’s cross-dressing matriarch is like something out of the 1970s and the emphasis on pantomime violence and breaking the fourth wall are other things to despise about this programme. Worse still is the fact that BAFTA, in their infinite wisdom, decided to vote this the Best Sitcom of the Year and thus soiling the memory of great comedies that have won this award in the past.
The Royal Bodyguard (BBC1, Jan-Feb
The BBC1 sitcom bashing continues with The Royal Bodyguard a comedy that started last Boxing Day with pretty impressive viewing figures which quickly dwindled as the series continued. The biggest travesty though was that David Jason thought it was a good idea to abuse his national treasure status by playing a bumbling security guard who ends becoming a head bodyguard for The Queen following the stupidest of mistaken identities. Obvious, old-fashioned and most of all unfunny this was a rare misstep for Jason who isn’t a gifted physical comedian as more than anything else he has the gift of the gab. Thankfully The Royal Bodyguard wasn’t renewed for a second series and hopefully over time people will forget about it and Jason will go on to star in something that will repair his legacy as he desperately needs to following this monstrosity
Some Girls (BBC3, Nov-Dec)
BBC3 had several big sitcom hits this year with Cuckoo and Bad Education plus the continuing success of Him and Her however their fly in the ointment was the woeful Some Girls. The programme, concerning four girls at an inner-city sixth form college, was a blatant attempt by the BBC to create a female version of The Inbetweeners however whereas teenage boys are simple girls are more complex and easier to boil down into comic characters. Therefore Some Girls descended into caricature with each central character becoming a stereotype as we had the main one, the aggressive one, the sarcastic one and the dumb blonde. Though I’m sure teenage girls do spend time talking about sex and swearing it doesn’t mean that this is particularly funny and Some Girls never made me laugh once. But apparently I was in the minority and some of the broadsheets gave this show a glowing review while the viewing figures meant that this was given a second series which hopefully will make people realise that this is one of the worst comedies in recent memory.
Superstar (ITV1, Jul)
Andrew Lloyd-Webber’s previous ‘search for a star’ programmes on BBC1 haven’t exactly been amazing but they have still had decent production values, a reliable judging panel and an assured host in Graham Norton. However switching over to ITV meant that Lloyd-Webber’s latest show Superstar, in which he looked for a new Jesus, had none of these things and in addition was incredibly rushed in order for ITV to air all the episodes before the Olympics started. The disasters started from day one with Amanda Holden’s rubbish hosting style coupled with the bizarre addition of Dawn French to the judging panel meaning that this programme had none of the sparkle of I’d Do Anything or Any Dream Will Do. Superstar was also confusing as the format seemed to change almost daily while the selection of talent on display wasn’t much better with my favourite Nathan being cast out about midway through the show as Lloyd-Webber took against him. Overall this came across as a down-market attempt to flog an over-priced arena tour of Jesus Christ Superstar with the eventual winner being that memorable I can’t even recall his name.
Thelma’s Gypsy Girls (Channel 4, Jul-Aug)
The continuation of the Big Fat Gypsy Weddings strand didn’t strike me with confidence from the get-go however dressmaker Thelma Madine’s search for a new traveller apprentice did get off to a good star with a profile of the woman in question. However then the girls arrived and chaos descended with yet another attempt to laugh at these people whose lifestyles are different to ours so they must be in the wrong. To be fair the girls did little to endear themselves constantly yelling at one another, sticking each other with pins and running out of taxis during busy traffic periods. Usually in these programmes the girls would learn over time to be more mature but this didn’t happen here meanwhile Thelma hired half of the remaining candidates rather than only taking two on her which was her original claim. My only hope is that we don’t have to see how they got on as one series of loud noises and sewing is about all I can take.
Titanic (ITV1, Mar-Apr)
When Jullian Fellowes’ take on the Titanic story was originally trailered last Christmas it was met by much anticipation thanks to its all-star cast and massive budget. However after episode one had aired the general consensus was that it was awful due to the hammy acting, dodgy camerawork and many historical inaccuracies. More than that Fellowes’ decision to show the sinking of the ship at the end of every episode took away from the impact of the iconic scene while I personally was glad when some characters drowned as I thought they were very annoying. The one saving grace here was Toby Jones but even he couldn’t rescue this terrible show which squandered its budget on an elaborate set but forgot all about creating genuine characters who we could actually care about.
Towie: Live (ITV2, Dec)
I know a lot of people don’t like The Only Way is Essex full stop but for me the first couple of series were at least a naff TV show that didn’t take itself too seriously. However even I’m starting to tire of the constant cast changes and heavy scripting but the nail in the coffin had to be the dreadful live episode that focused around Arg’s charity gala. From seeing Arg in his underwear to witnessing a lot of the central cast members forgetting their lines this was just horrendous from beginning to end. More than that though this featured actual televised scenes in which their was no dialogue whatsoever and for my money that is just unprofessional but then again I’d probably rather no noise than hearing Chloe and Diags slaughter Aqua’s cheeky pop hit ‘Barbie Girl’
The Valleys (MTV, Sept-Oct)
Probably Towie has a little bit to do with The Valeys getting to the air as it is yet another constructed reality vehicle featuring young people trying to make something of themselves. In the case of The Valleys it was eight youngsters from the Welsh countryside who’d come to live in a house in Cardiff and essentially sleep with one and another and get very drunk. This of course was an off-shoot of Geordie Shore which looked like The Sopranos in comparison to this leery, poorly-constructed show with eight people who’d just want to slap if you met them in real life. Obviously their goal was to make a success of their lives at modelling or becoming a DJ however as none of them were particularly likeable my personal hope would be that they just all crawl back from where they came from and stop polluting my television screen.
So that’s it all the demons of 2012 have been expunged and here’s hoping for a better TV year in 2013.