28 December 2012 4:07 PM, PST | The Guardian - TV News | See recent The Guardian - TV News news »

From Birdsong to The Hour, via Hunted and The Fear, British drama has had a great year. It's all down to these essential ingredients. Plus, Limmy's darkest bits

A spoonful of sugar

This was the year a heartwarming drama about slimy, crying heads bursting through cockney women's ha'pennies became a mainstream hit. Call The Midwife delighted many with its hearty mix of saccharine storylines and syphilitic ulcers. If you wanted one, you had to have the other. Meanwhile, Sky Arts wooed and repelled us in equal measure with John Hamm's beautiful face and piles of stinking gangrenous limbs in A Young Doctor's Notebook. An odd trend for a year in which we basically just wanted our TVs to give us a cuddle and tell us everything was going to be Ok.

Spies with nice hair

The death of Spooks left a gaping hole on BBC1, which was swiftly filled »

- The Guide

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