Happy Valley named best TV show in 2014

IT APPEARED to be a quaint drama featuring a former soap star in the lead role but, as acclaimed episode followed acclaimed episode, the tale of kidnap, violence and murder proved the year’s surprise hit.

Sarah Lancashire in Happy Valley. Picture: Ben Blackall
Sarah Lancashire in Happy Valley. Picture: Ben Blackall
Sarah Lancashire in Happy Valley. Picture: Ben Blackall

The BBC One police drama Happy Valley has triumphed over a host of big-budget shows to be named the best television programme of the year.


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The series, which stars Sarah Lancashire as a police sergeant in the Yorkshire valleys, beat the likes of Sherlock and Dr Who in a Radio Times viewers’ poll.

Line Of Duty, about a police anti-corruption unit and starring Keeley Hawes, came second in a list dominated by homegrown shows, while the third 
series of Benedict Cumberbatch’s Sherlock completed the top three.

The Trip To Italy, Michael Winterbottom’s comedy drama starring Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon, was fourth followed by US drama True Detective, starring Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson.

The Honourable Woman, starring Maggie Gyllenhaal, was next followed by Toast of London, with Matt Berry as an eccentric actor, and Detectorists, Mackenzie Crook’s series about metal detecting enthusiasts.

Doctor Who – in which Capaldi starred as the Time Lord – was ninth, while US import Homeland was tenth.

The annual poll was voted for by Radio Times critics.

RadioTimes.com editor Tim Glanfield said: “The critics’ top five shows that our love of quality crime and detective drama is alive and well, with both the darker, grittier side represented, in shows like Happy Valley, Line of Duty and True Detective, as well as the fun side of mystery-solving in Sherlock.

“But it’s nice, too, to see a real mix in the top 10, with left-field comedies like The Trip to Italy, Toast of London and Detectorists sitting alongside political thrillers – and of course Peter Capaldi in his first outing as Doctor Who.”


1. Happy Valley, BBC1

2. Line of Duty, BBC2

3. Sherlock, BBC1

4. The Trip To Italy, BBC2

5. True Detective, Sky Atlantic

6. The Honourable Woman, BBC2

7. Toast Of London, Channel 4

8. Detectorists, BBC4

9. Doctor Who, BBC1

10. Homeland, Channel 4


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