Couch Potato on the TV of 2012

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Our square-eyed web columnist looks at 2012 in television

2012, the year that gave us the Diamond Jubilee, with BBC1’s Fearne Cotton and John Barrowman, and crowned Jack Whitehall as television’s King of Comedy.

But it wasn’t all bad.

We had Danny Boyle’s phenomenal Olympics Opening Ceremony, including the greatest ever TV moment with four words: “Good evening, Mr Bond,”

from the Queen to 007, a pitch invader disrupted the Boat Race, and a dancing dog won Britain’s Got Talent.

Channel 4 crashed a Boeing 727 into the desert, while Phillip Schofield did the ITV equivalent by handing over a list of wrongly named paedophiles to David Cameron on This Morning, the 2012 National Television Awards “Factual Show Winner”.

Katie Price was a studio guest on Newsnight, which turned out to be anything but that programme’s most regrettable moment of the last 12 months, with the Jimmy Savile scandal sending the BBC into headless chicken mode not long after the corporation unwisely dressed up 29- year-old Roxanne Pallett as a schoolgirl, on Waterloo Road.

So here are my awards for the year that was.

SPUDULIKE SHOWS OF THE YEAR: Homeland. Strictly Come Dancing. Celebrity Big Brother, the Julie Goodyear series, especially the Gods and Mortals task. Football Focus, with Mario Balotelli and Noel Gallagher. Inside Men. The Best of Men. BBC4’s Old Jews Telling Jokes. TV Burp. Total Wipeout. The Apprentice, most notably the Groove Train episode. Man v Food. Barry McGuigan: Sports Life Stories. Line Of Duty.

Lifers. BBC2’s 7/7: One Day In London. Interviews Before Execution. C4’s Paralympics. Accused. The Thick Of It. Miracle at Medinah in the Ryder Cup. Bradley Wiggins’ and Team Sky’s Tour de France heroics, on ITV4. Red Dwarf X, on Dave. Last Tango in Halifax. The Snowman and the Snowdog. And Room on the Broom.

But the winner is the BBC’s Olympics coverage, with a special nod to the Opening Ceremony, Super Saturday, and Bert Le Clos.

SPUDUHATE SHOWS OF THE YEAR: The Voice. The X Factor. EastEnders. Love Shaft. Gordon (Ramsay) Behind Bars. Let’s Get Gold. The Olympics Closing Ceremony and the Paralympics Opening and Closing Ceremonies. Gabby Logan’s Olympics Tonight. Hotel GB. David Jason’s The Royal Bodyguard. Noel Fielding’s Luxury Comedy. Prisoners’ Wives. Citizen Khan. Sing Date. Show Me Your Wardrobe. The Love Machine. Don’t Stop Me Now. ITV1’s Titanic. Keith Lemon’s LemonAid. Gok Wan’s Baggae. Dale’s Great Getaway. That Dog Can Dance. 10 O’Clock Live. Mark Wright’s Hollywood Nights. Russell Brand’s Brand X (Brand Why?). Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Superstar. The Valleys. ITV2’s Switch. And Drugs Live: The Ecstasy Trial.

But the worst show of 2012, and of all time, was Live: TOWIE, a programme so appalling that it beat the BBC’s rain-drenched, calamitous Thames Jubilee Pageant to the title. That’s how bad it was.

SKY NEWS INTERVIEWER OF THE YEAR: Runner-up is Philippa Hall who asked US correspondent Greg Milam at Whitney Houston’s funeral:

“Presumably the mood there is pretty sombre?” (No, Philippa. Kevin Costner is leading the conga around the coffin).

The winner is Rachel Younger who said to John Hurt on the Bafta Film Awards red carpet: “So many roles come to mind just by looking at your face, like The Elephant Man.”

COMMENTARY OF THE YEAR: Silver medal goes to the BBC’s Ben Edwards at the Australian F1 Grand Prix: “We’re onboard the Sauber here of Kobay... erm... is it Perez? No, it’s Kobayashi. I think. And... yeah. It is Perez indeed.”

Gold, of sorts, is for Dancing On Ice’s Tony Gubba: “That was a racing gazelle followed by the forward assisted teapot, then a roll-up into a camel ride and there were some cool butterflies into a fish lift.” (Of course there were, Tony. Of course there were).

LEAST APPROPRIATE THEME OF THE YEAR: The Jeremy Kyle Show’s Valentine’s Day episode: “How did you catch an STI if you didn’t cheat on me?”

(And they say romance is dead).

WHITER-THAN- WHITE AWARDS CEREMONY: The National Television Awards, with host Dermot O’Leary insisting: “All your votes were independently adjudicated by independent adjudicators.”

ALCHEMIST OF THE YEAR: BBC News’ Dan Roan at the Olympics: “Lizzie Armistead’s cycling silver could just be worth its weight in gold.”

MOST EMBARRASSING BODIES CASE STUDY: 41-year-old Carol who, Dr Christian Jessen informed us, is: “Addicted to sticking coffee up her bum.”

WORST TALENT SHOW JUDGE: I’m feeling generous, so Louie Spence, Tulisa, Gary Barlow, and Alesha Dixon can all split the prize.

FOOTBALL PRAISE OF THE YEAR: England’s triumphant Soccer Aid coach Sam Allardyce who said, after a change of tactics saw his side overturn a half-time deficit: “We put Ben Shepherd to man-mark Clarence Seedorf. That was the difference for us.”

WORST FOOTBALL PUN: Gary Lineker after Poland’s Euro 2012 exit: “I sense the scenes in the Gdansk fan park are fairly miserable. Must be murder on Gdansk floor.”

NEWS CAPTION OF THE YEAR: BBC News misspelling the name of the BBC’s new Director General, George Entwistle.

REALITY-SHOW CONTESTANT: Celebrity Big Brother’s Julie Goodyear, ahead of I’m A Celebrity’s Eric Bristow and Ex-Corrie actor Ken Morley on C4’s Five Go To Lanzarote.

MOST POINTLESS RE-LAUNCH: Runner-up is Daybreak, with Lorraine Kelly and Aled Jones, behind Channel 4’s Sunday Brunch, aka Same Thing For The Weekend.

UNLIKELIEST POP ICON: Strictly Come Dancing introducing Sid Owen as a “pop star”, which was beaten only by these words from Celebrity Big Brother’s Michael Madsen: “Frankie Cocozza’s real talent is in writing and singing.”

GEOGRAPHY EXPERT OF THE YEAR: Jenni Falconer on This Morning: “Longleat’s in Somerset. That’s the Wiltshire area, isn’t it?”

No. It’s the Somerset area. And Longleat is in Wiltshire. The Wiltshire area.

MATHS WHIZZ OF THE YEAR: The BBC’s David Coulthard at the Bahrain Grand Prix: “Mark Webber is on his way to a fourth consecutive fourth place. And what do four fours give you? Third place in the championship and 48 points.”

But that was topped by Sky Sports’ Rob Hawthorne, at Newcastle United v Man City: “When City won the title here back in 1968, it was a six-goal thriller. City won 4-3.”

BIGGEST BBC JUNKET: Andrew Marr, who seemed to visit everywhere on earth for History of the World, including down the back of a female producer’s jeans at the wrap party, deserves a mention, as do Stargazing Live’s Liz Bonnin, who was sent to South Africa to look at clouds at night, Richard Hammond, who was jetted out to Kenya to look at rhinos in the pitch black during the quiet season, and Kate Humble who stared at steam in Hawaii for Volcano Live.

The winner, however, is Kate Humble for her selfless trips to Norway, Ecuador, Chile, Canada, Egypt, Argentina, Greenland, Mexico, India and Bermuda for Orbit: Earth’s Extraordinary Journey.

DAYBREAK’S COMPETITION QUESTION OF THE YEAR: “In a standard pack of playing cards, which card follows the 10?”

I checked mine. It’s the eight of hearts.

BREAKING SPORT OF THE YEAR: Sky Sports News’ David Craig, on football transfer deadline day: “As we all know, Jamie Vardy has been banging in the goals this season for Fleetwood Town, hasn’t he?”

I’ve talked about nothing else all year.

MOVIE CRITIC OF THE YEAR: Runner-up is Dermot O’Leary on the Bafta Film Awards red carpet for E! Entertainment: “Brad Pitt, you strike me as a man who would be wearing a nice pair of socks.”

The winner is actress Natalia Tena, in Sky Living’s studio for the Oscars, discussing the Best Picture nominations: “I haven’t seen The Descendants. But I saw the trailer.”

BEST TV NAME OF THE YEAR: The West Midlands Police traffic officer on This Morning who gave a drink-driver a breath test, PC Jack Daniels.

UNDERCOVER INVESTIGATION OF THE YEAR: In third place, BBC1’s Watchdog revealing Sainsbury’s petrol pumps sometimes add 1p onto the total.

In second place, Watchdog revealing that tickets to Rolling Stones concerts are a bit on the pricey side.

But the winner is Watchdog, wasting everyone’s time investigating the number of “whole crisps” in a bag of Walkers Deep Ridge (between 11 and 14, for the record).

ASTROLOGER OF THE YEAR: Russell Grant’s Olympics prediction for bronze-medallist-to-be Tom Daley: “A Saturn/Mercury link keeps his mind focused, inspiring him to take control of his own destiny and come out with a gold.”

I don’t know how he does it.

PSYCHIC OF THE YEAR: Jayne Wallace, on This Morning, who attempted to guess the identity of a mystery celebrity waiting backstage by holding their watch: “I feel there’s a really strong creativity with her. I’m getting words and writing with her. She’s got a book. She’s a deep thinker. She’s driven. She’s artistic. She’s creative. She’s passionate. She’s sophisticated...”

She’s Lionel Blair.

WORST AXE-WIELDING OF THE YEAR: BBC1 cancelling Total Wipeout.

But don’t worry. I’m sure they’re replacing it on Saturday night with a groundbreaking entertainment show, something brand new to kick off 2013.

So let’s have a look, shall we? Ah yes. Saturday night, BBC1, Richard Hammond’s Secret Service: “A hidden camera show in which actors play pranks on unsuspecting members of the public.”

Maybe not then. Happy New Year!