Here, in The Village, we love to recommend.
Sharing great TV discoveries, for example. When a Villager, on the Facebook group asked for inspiration – we delivered. So here it is: The current Best of British TV List. I’ve edited the many contributions down to the best of the best. There were 298 recommendations, in 4 hours, on the original FB post!
If you enjoy it … I’ll expand it to other categories. There are truly fantastic Israeli, Japanese even Icelandic, shows we should all know about too!
BEST OF BRITISH
If you love relatable characters (The heroine, played by Sarah Lancashire, is all of US basically, in dire straits,) you will adore Happy Valley. Catherine Cawood is funny, dark, wounded and real. She’s a police cop dealing with drug cases in Lancashire, while also trying to cope with significant tragedy in her own life. What makes it great? The writing, is perfect. You’ll love the heroine, and identify. You’ll care about the characters. And it’s twisty, turny and exciting.
Line of Duty: Jed Mercurio’s truly shocking, ( I dare even the most jaded amongst us not to be … shocked at least once an episode,) no-holds barred, take of AC-12, an anti-corruption squad led by Superintendent Ted Hastings. As the series progresses, it is revealed that the force contains a network of corrupt officers with links to organised crime. No character’s lives are safe and the female characters are treated with equal respect – and disdain. They get thrown off buildings, have their throats slit, rat out their compatriots, get sent to prison. Just as it should be. You’ll find yourself gasping and spilling your tea. Mercurio also write the lesser ( I say this aware that it will raise controversy,) The Bodyguard.
Outlander – Scottish history, time travel, wars, romance, politics, rebellions, period costumes. Outlander is beloved for an intense plot that keeps you riveted – and great acting. AND every sex scene is shot from the female perspective, unusually for TV. This makes it very appropriate for our demographic!
Killing Eve: Is actually an American colab, but is based in Europe and the UK, and is written by the brilliant Phoebe Waller Bridge ( of the also extremely fantastic Fleabag fame.) Its about a young, gorgeous psychopath female hitman, Villanelle, (extremely well-dressed, btw,) and Eve, the intelligent agent who become obsessed with her. Original, funny, clever and super stylish, this is smart escapist, irreverent fun.
The Victim: Brand new and with creepy echoes of the notorious and shocking Jamie Bulger case from the late 80s, this short series of only 4 episodes, focuses on a mother, driven mad and to violence, possibly, by grief. Is her victim her child’s murderer? Gripping, shocking and incredibly well-acted. It’s not exactly fun, but quite brilliant drama.
After Life: Ricky Gervais’ latest. You’ll start off loathing his character and will find parts of the first episode unwatchable. But my the end of the brisk 6 episode run, your heart will have softened. After Life is what happens to a nice enough person when tragedy strikes and he stops caring. Then begins to care again.
Fleabag. Something awful has happened to beautiful, wounded, Fleabag and she causes some havoc in return. This series features some of the very cringeyist family scenes you have ever watched, guaranteed. Plus Olivia Coleman stars.
For anyone missing Downton Abbey, The Crown, according to one Villager, is gripping, pulls you in right from the start. Learnt a lot about the history of England and the royal family and also changed my views about several of the royals. It is a drama and documentary at the same time, and the acting is brilliant.
Then for a trip back into a sleazy chapter of British society and politics, A Very British Scandal starring Hugh Grant about he closeted MP Jeremy Thorpe and the sometime, inconvenient he boyfriend tried to bump off. All the acting is stellar, but Hugh Grant is fantastic. Probably born to play that role, tbh.
Special Mention to: The Great British Bake-Off and The Great British Sewing Bee. For days when you wish your real life was full of sweet things and people doing old-fashioned lovely things, like sewing, baking, being nice and supportive to each other … for those nights when you could just sit in front of anything and demolish a tub of Chocolate Double Caramel and Macaron Ice Cream … this is the calorie-free TV equivalent.