The best and worst TV moments of 2016

Ed Balls made a mark on TV that will never be forgotten. Photo: Jay Brooks/BBC/PA Wire

Ed Balls made a mark on TV that will never be forgotten. Photo: Jay Brooks/BBC/PA Wire - Credit: PA

The average Briton spends more than 1,000 hours a year watching television which is 21 hours a week and more than 45 days a year.

Pat Butchers ghost made Peggy Mitchells departure special and memorable. Photo: BBC/Kieron McCarron

Pat Butchers ghost made Peggy Mitchells departure special and memorable. Photo: BBC/Kieron McCarron - Credit: BBC/Kieron McCarron

With these figures in mind, it's likely that you probably caught some of the biggest, best or worst TV moments of 2016.

In the second part of her review of the year, TV Editor Stacia Briggs reflects on a big year for the small screen.

Ho-Hum TV Event of the Year:


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Cold Feet returns to ITV. Like the UK's cut-price version of Friends, the Cold Feet crew limped back to our screens this autumn following a 13-year hiatus and I managed to maintain my interest for around 35 minutes. James Nesbitt, Robert Bathurst, Fay Ripley, Karen David, Hermione Norris and John Thomson – I have all seen them perform in better than this. Dull.

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Dirty Old Stop-Outs Moment of 2016:

Holly Willoughby and Philip Schofield present This Morning wearing the clothing they had on the night before after going straight to work following their night out at the National Television Awards. It's good to see that celebrities do the walk of shame, too.

Soap Death of the Year:

Kylie Platt, Coronation Street: It was an ignoble place to die – outside the Prima Doner kebab shop on the famous cobbles – but feisty whirlwind Kylie Platt didn't let that stop her breaking a few hearts as she shuffled off to the big nail bar in the sky. We should have realised that her plan to live out her days in Barbados with David would be scuppered – her eyebrows were just too good for this world.

Frightening TV Programme Names of the Year:

'Do We Really Need the Moon?' (BBC4); Dogs Might Fly (Sky One). The two weren't connected, although one involved dogs learning how to fly planes. For real.

The Struggle is Real Moment of 2016:

John Barrowman falling over during a promotional segment of Loose Women while wearing high heels. John Barrowman may look better in heels than I do, but he definitely can't walk in them better than I do.

Once Seen Never Forgotten Reality TV Segment of the Year:

Ed Balls does Gangnam Style on Strictly Come Dancing. Or perhaps I should say that once seen it cannot be unseen. Forget Leicester City, Donald Trump and Brexit, the real upset at the bookmakers this year was Ed making it past week two of Strictly. He was golden balls under the glitter ball escaping the chop week after week. Perhaps, in these dark times of division and unrest, what we need is a politician who can seamlessly segue from talking about the need for the Bank of England to have a 'systemic risk body' chaired by the Chancellor to the logistics of being lowered into Blackpool Tower ballroom on a rope while playing a flaming piano.

Best Who Do You Think You Are? Ever:

Danny Dyer, November: I've never been one of those people who is compelled to research their family tree – it's hard enough to keep up with the family members I know about, let alone get to grips with ones several centuries back. Who Do You Think You Are? on BBC1, then, doesn't often appeal: until Danny Dyer (Mick from EastEnders) was a guest. I think Danny pointing out to Cromwell's biographer in the great hall at Hampton Court that 'You could have a right rave in 'ere, couldn't you babe, eh?' will be a moment that will stay with me for a very long time. Ditto his discovery that he was a direct descendant of Edward III, which prompted him to think about buying a ruff so that he can 'just bowl about with it, if anyone questions it I'll explain why I'm wearing a ruff and then they'll have to walk away, won't they, embarrassed'. Gold.

Bad loser of 2016:

Contestant Peter not winning Come Dine with Me in January and promptly asking all the other dinner guests to leave his house: 'You won, Jane. Enjoy the money I hope it makes you happy. Dear lord, what a sad little life, Jane. You ruined my night completely so you could have the money and I hope now you can spend it on lessons in grace and decorum. Because you have all the grace of a reversing dump truck without any tyres on. So Jane, take your money and get off my property.'

Great winner of 2016:

Scarlett Moffatt wins I'm a Celebrity…Get Me Out Of Here: In one of the nicest reality shows of all time, Scarlett was deemed the nicest. A worthy winner and, for once, one you wouldn't mind sharing a cave full of critters with.

Worst Soap Storyline of the Year:

EastEnders and its obsession with refuse collection. There was Jack Branning organising groups of scouts on litter collecting duties, Vincent fly-tipping in revenge for Billy using his sister's bin and Honey fretting about foxes. I have gained more enjoyment from invasive medical procedures.

Pants of the Year:

Gary Lineker presents Match of the Day in his underpants after keeping his Leicester-based promise to present the highlights show almost in the nip if the team won the Premier League. I fancied Gary when I was young, so this was a particular treat.

Worst-Kept Secret of the Year:

Jon Snow's Game of Thrones resurrection. Even though we knew it was coming, when Kit Harington's hero came back from the dead it was still an incredible moment.

He Ain't Heavy Moment of 2016:

When Alistair Brownlee saw his brother Johnny struggling to reach the finish line in the Triathlon World Series, he didn't hesitate: he stopped and helped Johnny cross the finish line, sacrificing his own second place in the process.

Nightmare chase sequence of the year:

Planet Earth II's snake attack on baby iguanas: In one of the tensest TV moments of the year, we watched marine iguanas facing their Waterloo in the form of terrifying racer snakes who chased down and choked to death iguana after iguana before one brave hatchling made a break for it. Despite being caught at one point, it managed to slip the snake's grip and escape to a rock. The country breathed a collective sigh of relief.

Ghost of the year:

Pat Butcher in EastEnders: The final 10 minutes of Barbara Windsor's swansong were beautiful: Peggy stepped outside into a peaceful square in the golden hour before the sun went down to listen to the beautiful song of a blackbird and touchingly make her peace with another bird, Sharon, before heading home to get her glad rags on to greet the reaper in style. As she headed for the stairs, cigarette smoke in the air heralded the spectral return of another Walford mega-matriarch Pat Butcher (the wonderful Pam St Clement), the Ghost of 1980s' C&A in peacock blue and neon pink, a drug-fuelled hallucination complete with chandelier earrings and fake tan. Back together, the pair remembered old times, bickered and Peggy (the performance of her life by Barbara Windsor) asked her old love rival : 'My dear friend, you will never leave me, will you?' Her eyes full of tears, Pat replied: 'No, my darling, not for one single second.'And that was that. The pills were taken and then the credits rolled down the screen like silent tears, no music, just a sweeping shot of the Square from above before the camera tracked round Peggy's bedroom, the end of her story told to the beat of a ticking clock – a dark room, an empty pill bottle, a letter to Phil. And then the clock stopped. The Queen was dead.

I Was Expecting Something More Controversial Moment of 2016:

Donald Trump's Acceptance Speech: Which Donald would we get as he appeared for the first time as President Elect? Would he gloat? Would he brag? Would he threaten anyone? Would he levitate and spew forth ectoplasm? In the end, what we got was a docile list of rambling thank-yous, a soothing balm that promised unity in the future. He even managed to avoid mentioning the mass-deportation of Muslins, sending Hillary Clinton to prison, torturing terrorism suspects or building a giant wall on the southern border. Give him time.

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