Review: Discover the top five in our review of the year's best telly

It’s the top five of Remote Control’s hit parade of the best TV of 2020. We’ve already seen documentaries, comedies and reboots of old favourites from numbers 10 to six, but what will hit the top spot?

Thursday, 31st December 2020, 5:00 pm

No.5 – Des (ITV, Sept): With a bone-chilling performance by David Tennant, this drama about the serial killer Dennis Nilsen didn’t rely on sensationalism, but built an oppressive atmosphere through a series of set-piece interviews.

No.4 – Normal People (BBC1, May): That rare thing, a terrific adaptation of a great book, this featured career-making turns from Paul Mescal and Daisy Edgar-Jones in a bittersweet tale of young love.

No.3 – Ghosts (BBC1, Sept): A proper family sitcom from the team behind Horrible Histories, this really hit its stride in its second series, providing proper belly laughs and a few lump in-the-throat moments.

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Michaela Coel created the startlingly original BBC drama series I May Destroy You. Picture: BBC/Various Artists Ltd and FALK

The Christmas special was Ghosts at its best, and is worth catching on iPlayer.

No.2 – Mortimer and Whitehouse Gone Fishing: In these troubled times, sometimes you need TV to provide balm for the soul, and that’s what Paul Whitehouse and Bob Mortimer did, all the while exploring ageing, friendship, grief and health and encouraging men of all ages to have a chat with their mates. Delightful.

No.1 – I May Destroy You (BBC1, June): A tour de force from Michaela Coel, I May Destroy You played with form and content, creating a story tackling consent, sexuality, the gig economy, creativity, drugs and many more subjects.

Using flashbacks, dream sequences, comedy, shocks and dialogue brimming with life, it was head and shoulders above anything else this year.

Black Narcissus (BBC1, Sun-Tues, 9pm) was a pot-boiler based on a novel of repressed nuns losing themselves – and their minds – in the Himalayas. It downplayed the mania, though, and ended up bland.

Billy Connolly has announced he is retiring from performing and It’s Been a Pleasure (ITV, Mon, 9.30pm) was a perfect example of why he will be missed. Hilarious and heart-breaking in equal measure.