5 items from 2012
We've had the good, the bad and the downright terrible on TV this year. Here's Sarah Dempster's take on the televisual offerings of the last 12 months
It was the best of years; it was the worst of years. Primarily, however, 2012 was the telliest of years. There was so much telly, in fact, that there seemed a very real chance it might burst its banks and start pumping out of the sides, leaving us up to our molars in Christopher Maloney and Eggheads repeats, smelling faintly of T4 On The Beach.
Drama. It was all over the place. Here a plot, there a plot, everwhere a plot-plot. The Hour (BBC2), Everyday (C4), Line Of Duty (BBC2), The Town (ITV1), Birdsong (BBC2), Accused (BBC1), A Mother's Son (ITV1), A Young Doctor's Notebook (Sky Arts), Parade's End (BBC2), Homefront (ITV1), Secret State (C4), Room At The Top (BBC4), The Fear (C4) – all conspired »
- Sarah Dempster
TV: The Last Weekend
ITV, which has promised a season of high-quality drama in a big glossy ad campaign, got off to a decent start with this three-parter, a doom-laden adaptation of Blake Morrison's 2010 novel documenting the disintegration of friendship in a holiday cottage in Suffolk. All three parts are available to view on the ITV Player for the next seven days.
TV: Paralympic Games 2012
Relive 11 days of top sporting action with 4Od's Paralympics playlist, which contains every episode of Adam Hills's light-hearted review show, The Last Leg, as well as extended action from the games themselves.
Audio: New Yorker: Fiction
Utilising the fact that pretty much any novelist worth his or her stripes has written for them at some point, the New Yorker's fiction podcast presents the magazine's vast archive of short stories in audio form, with authors reading. Jennifer Egan, Salman Rushdie and »
- Gwilym Mumford
Parade's End (BBC2) | iPlayer
The Last Weekend (ITV1) | ITV Player
Funny Fortnight (C4) | 4Od
The Queen's Mother-in-Law (C4) | 4Od
Any diehard Downton fans tuning in to BBC2 on Friday night, hoping for a fun, easy, schmaltzy, pretty, faintly rewarding hour or so, or so-so, of bodiced bitchery, and a bit of intrigue telegraphed only by railway hooters and wobbly cartoon finger-signs pointing to "the bad 'un", will have been royally disappointed. That's the first piece of excellent news about Parade's End. Saturday morning, there must have been legions of Boden-clad sandal-criminals zombieing their way round Homebase, mouths fluttering like those of guppies, still trying to work out… but who was that one? And why did the other one, the one with the hair…? And where were the cartoon fingers? Marvellous.
Second fine piece of news »
- Euan Ferguson
Two old uni buddies and their partners in a twee Suffolk cottage: could murder be afoot?
Fine writing, trenchant class analysis, a baby-doll robe scarcely concealing an enviably beach-ready body. But enough about me. There was so much to enjoy in The Last Weekend (ITV1, Sunday) that it made one forget that its chief role may be to prepare us for the return to our screens later this week of one marvellous actor with a you've-got-to-be kidding posh name (Benedict Cumberbatch) by deploying another (Rupert Penry-Jones).
I don't know if Blake Morrison's novel is any good, but if it's half as accomplished as Mick Ford's adaptation then last year's Booker prize winner must be stripped of the award. Ordinary herberts Ian and Em arrive in their joke motor for a weekend at Daisy and Ollie's twee Suffolk cottage. Ian and Daisy had a thing 20 years ago and it's »
- Stuart Jeffries
With the Olympics out of the way ITV has thrown everything except the kitchen sink (drama) into a luscious new trail for its autumn season of new and returning dramas, which the much-anticipated Ronnie Biggs biopic Mrs Biggs, Mr Selfridge starring Jeremy Piven and of course the return of Downton Abbey – with Shirley MacLaine. The cinematic-style trailer debuted on Monday night in all its 120-second glory across ITV1, ITV2, ITV3 and ITV4 just before the launch of new ITV1 drama Thirteen Steps Down. The "Drama Lives on ITV" campaign also features The Bletchley Circle, with Anna Maxwell Martin and Rachael Stirling, The Last Weekend, with Rupert Penry-Jones, and A Mother's Son, with Hermione Norris and Martin Clunes. The BBC used the Olympics to big up its own forthcoming dramas under its "Original British Drama" banner. What we appear to be witnessing here is a drama promo arms race, with ITV »
5 items from 2012