My Favourite TV Programmes of 2010 (Part 2)

24 lists of favourite things during Advent this year, and two of them are devoted to telly. The other list concentrates on comedy, but this one rounds up the rest.

My Favourite Non-Comedy TV Programmes of 2010

You might notice some of the major events of the year, such as the General Election and the World Cup, are missing. This is because I didn’t think the coverage was up to much. The nadir was the BBC’s “election night party” on a boat full of celebrities, which the whole nation was fervently hoping would sink.

1. Sherlock, BBC1

Brilliant drama, great acting, just the right amount of humour, and two terrific stories out of three.

2. Wonders of the Solar System, BBC4

Awesome documentary, “and that’s why I love physics so much”. A star is born.

3. Dr.Who now with Matt Smith as the Doctor, BBC1

He had a really hard act to follow, but they pulled it off, just.

4. Ashes To Ashes Series 3, BBC1

I can understand anyone who thought it dragged on a bit, but they ended it all very well.

5. Film 2010 now with Claudia Winkleman, BBC1

At last the film programme moves into the 21st century with a proper presenter + critics format.

6. Lost, Series 6, Sky1

Kept our interest up right to the end, although of course it didn’t tie up all the loose ends, and was never going to.

7. Downton Abbey, ITV1

Compulsive guilty pleasure.

8. Hustle, Season 6, BBC1

Continued to be very sharply written.

9. Top Gear, Series 15, BBC2

Not the best series, in fact seemed almost half-hearted at times, and yet still essential viewing.

10. Trinny & Susannah: What They Did Next, Channel 4

Unexpectedly funny one-off.

11. Late Kick-Off, BBC1

Woo hoo, Matt Holland gets his own show.

12. QI, Series 8, BBC1

A genuine national treasure.

13. Question Time, 32nd Year, BBC1

Seems to get better and better.

14. A History of Horror with Mark Gatiss, BBC4

Like Brian Cox above, the presenter’s enthusiasm made the series.

My Favourite Blogs of 2010 (Part 3)

Continuing my one-per-day Advent list of favourite things this year, here’s the third list of blogs, this time ones which are vaguely to do with my current gainful employment, namely industrial marketing, web design and SEO.

My Favourite Online Marketing-Related Blogs of 2010

1. Smashing Magazine


Wonderful blog for web designers. Great stuff on coding, glorious resources for photography and graphics, and even quality free WordPress themes. Also see sister title Noupe.

2. Occam’s Razor by Avinash Kaushik

Brilliant insights and guides to using Google Analytics, both at beginner and advanced level. I often find myself referring back to archived posts in this one.

3. Seth Godin’s Blog

Probably the most well-known marketing blog in the world, and continues to provide excellent – and commendably brief – food for thought on an almost daily basis.

4. Copyblogger

Another blog with a massive circulation, with more good stuff about online copywriting and content marketing than any of us can probably take in.

5. Savvy B2B Marketing Blog

A bunch of independent marketers who got together to create a joint blog, from what I understand. General B2B online marketing issues covered, but a cut above most others in the field.

6. Search Engine Journal

My favourite news and analysis blog for SEO issues. Also covers PPC and social media.

My Favourite Live Performances of 2010

Next up in my blog-based Advent Calendar is a list of the best live acts I saw this year. These are really in no particular order!

Half Man Half Biscuit, The Junction, Cambridge, March 2010

The Saw Doctors, The Junction, Cambridge, November 2010


(Not the best video, and what’s worse, from a gig a few days later too, but it captures the atmosphere!)

The Unthanks, Cambridge Folk Festival, August 2010

Show Of Hands, Cambridge Folk Festival, August 2010


(The video’s from 2007, but I don’t remember this performance being that different!)

My Favourite Radio Programmes of 2010

This list, part of my one-a-day series during Advent, rather overlaps with the favourite Podcast list, but it concentrates more on programmes I listened to live.

1. Kermode and Mayo’s Film Review (BBC Radio 5 Live)

It’s won every award going, and certainly needs no further accolades, but it’s expanded beautifully into its two-hour slot after years in a shorter, less consistent format. Wonderful chemistry between the presenters.

2. The Danny Baker Show (BBC Radio 5 Live)

Sadly under long-term temporary management due to Danny’s cancer diagnosis, this two hours on Saturday morning had become an utter delight, as every Candyman show always was. How he inspires such fabulous contributions from listeners will forever remain a mystery. Get well soon.

3. Ashes Test Match Special (BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra)

A perfect storm: Ashes commentary on clear-as-a-bell digital radio, a great iPad app for listening on (with a sleep timer), and an in-pillow speaker. Never have I woken up in the middle of the night and been delighted to do so.

4. More Or Less (BBC Radio 4)

Typically well-made Radio 4 series which can be a little hit-and-miss in its choice of subject matter, but rarely fails to get you thinking.

5. The Ghost Trains of Old England (BBC Radio 4)

There were probably a hundred Radio 4 documentaries which might have ended up here, had I caught them, but I was so glad I listened to this one-off programme, which was quite intriguing.

My Favourite Movies of 2010

I’ve conjured up 24 lists for the 24 days of Advent, and next up are my favourite movies of 2010. It was a reasonable year for movies – no, come to think of it, a good year. Here are my nine favourites, with their trailers:

1. Toy Story 3

2. The Social Network

3. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1

4. Inception

5. Four Lions

6. The Infidel

7. Scott Pilgrim vs. the World

8. Another Year

9. Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll

My Favourite Blogs of 2010 (Part 2)

Continuing my one-per-day Advent list of favourite things this year, here’s the second list of blogs. The first covered humorous blogs, and the third will cover marketing- and web design-related blogs; this one rounds up the rest. I guess it might be called the “serious blogs” list. Quite heavily biased towards information and science this year, now I’ve done it.

More Favourite Blogs of 2010

1. Information Is Beautiful

If you like information and graphics, you’ll love this. Written by David McCandless, a London-based author, writer and designer: “A passion of mine is visualizing information – facts, data, ideas, subjects, issues, statistics, questions – all with the minimum of words. My pet-hate is pie charts. Love pie. Hate pie-charts.”

2. Mashup Charts

I love mashups, and may even do a list of those if I get round to it. This is just about the biggest and best-presented resource around for the latest and greatest video and audio mashups from around the world.

3. Richard Taylor

Sometimes he seems to be the only person in Cambridge trying to hold our council to account, and it’s about time someone did. Needless to say, the council hate him trying to reveal what they get up to, but a brilliant example of how a blogger can go places where local media have never been brave enough to tread.

4. Sciencetext

Really good tech chat from writer David Bradley. “I intersperse the tech tips with tech talk and discussion of the issues surrounding the evolution of modern digital technology.”

5. Strange Maps

Lovely, lovely blog about maps. “Frank Jacobs loves maps, but finds most atlases too predictable. He collects and comments on all kinds of intriguing maps – real, fictional, and what-if ones.”

6. The Guardian Political Science Blog

New blog hosted by the former MP Dr Evan Harris, ousted at the election by boundary changes and much missed. Lots of good reading about science and politics.

7. Letters of Note

Letters of Note is “a blog-based archive of fascinating correspondence, complete with scans and transcripts of the original missives.” Simply fascinating.