James Walton

James Walton’s five favourite TV programmes of 2014

James Walton's five favourite TV programmes of 2014
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1. Fargo, Channel 4

In a particularly strong year for thrillers (Line of Duty, The Missing and Homeland ­among them) this was for my money the best of the lot, with a fantastically sinister central performance from Billy Bob Thornton, and story-telling that remained entirely sure-footed throughout, no matter how weird the events became.

2. Detectorists, BBC4


When it comes to sitcoms, the words 'gentle' and 'idiosyncratic' are often euphemisms for 'not funny' - but not in the case of Mackenzie Crook’s affectionate and affecting story of two metal-detecting friends in small-town Britain.

3. The Roosevelts: an Intimate History, PBS


One for fans of old-school documentary-making: seven two-hour episodes covering 100 years of American history; and all done with just the aid of beautifully-chosen footage, intelligent talking heads and a quietly thoughtful commentary.

4. Harry and Paul’s Story of the Twos, BBC2


The sitcom W1A did a fine job of giving the modern BBC a thorough kicking, but Enfield and Whitehouse were possibly even braver in their ferocious send-up of almost every much-loved programme in BBC2’s 50-year history, including their own.

5. Only Connect, BBC2


Quiz-lovers all over Britain held their breath as this unashamedly esoteric show made the move from BBC4 to the BBC2 big(gish) time—and then relaxed as it proved as elegantly tough as ever.