My 10 favourite TV performances


A while ago, my mate Robert Dick mooted assembling a list of his 10 favourite TV performances. It got me thinking, so here’s mine. What are your favourites?

* Peter Falk (Columbo in Columbo)

* Martin Freeman (Tim Canterbury in The Office)

* Tamsin Greig (Alice Chenery in Love Soup)

* Allison Janney (CJ Cregg in The West Wing)

* David Jason (Del Boy Trotter in Only Fools and Horses)

* Shelley Long (Diane Chambers in Cheers)

* James Marsters (Spike in Buffy the Vampire Slayer)

* Bob Peck (Ronald Craven in Edge of Darkness)

* Matthew Perry (Chandler Bing in Friends)

* David Suchet (Hercule Poirot in Agatha Christie’s Poirot)

Narrowing it down to 10 was tough. I didn’t have room for Patrick Stewart (Jean-Luc Picard in Star Trek: The Next Generation), Bradley Whitford (Danny Tripp in Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip), John Cleese (Basil Fawlty in Fawlty Towers), Terry O’Quinn (John Locke in Lost), Kirstie Alley (Rebecca Howe in Cheers), John Thaw (Morse in Inspector Morse), Hugh Fraser (Captain Hastings in Agatha Christie’s Poirot), Jason Alexander (George Costanza in Seinfeld), Dexter Fletcher (Spike Thompson in Press Gang) and others that have slipped my mind.

I love The West Wing. Adore it. Totally.

Wednesdays on NBC (9-10 p.m. ET)

Well, not *totally*. In no particular order, here are 10 RUBBISH things about it, which my latest rewatch has thrown up… (Spoilers ahead.)

  1. Aside from a couple of examples, the journalists in it are all sycophantic, naïve and easily fobbed-off.
  2. It gets the British idiom hopelessly fuddled at times. Aside from the usual confusion over England/Great Britain/the UK, the British Ambassador keeps referring to himself as representing ‘Her Royal Majesty’. (There’s also the preposterous idea that the Daily Mirror would pay thousands of dollars for a picture of a White House staffer standing next to a call girl. Like they’d care!)
  3. The episode where CJ goes home to Ohio is very dull.
  4. The episode where CJ is followed by a documentary camera crew is terribly hackneyed. It also features loads of characters presented as regulars who we never see at any other time.
  5. How Toby is treated in the final year or two is awful. Not only what they have him do, but also how he’s then absent from most of the final season.
  6. Amy Gardiner really annoys me. Her doe-eyed arrogance makes me reach for the fast-forward button.
  7. The notion that anyone would consider Leo – an ex-drug addict and alcoholic, who’s tied to the last president and has just had a heart attack – as a Vice President nominee is laughable.
  8. The 9/11 episode. Well intentioned, sure. But so, so patronising. In fact, almost everything to do with real-world Middle East countries is just horrendous. The story that bridges seasons five and six sees characters go to Gaza then solve the Israeli/Palestinian crisis over a long weekend. Yuck.
  9. Great characters routinely get dropped to semi-regular status or forgotten about all together: Laurie, Gina Toscano, Lionel Tribbey, Will Bailey, Bob Russell, Charlie, Joe Quincy, Mallory, Elsie Snuffin…
  10. Joey Lucas should have been promoted to the regular cast as soon as she appeared.

See, I didn’t even MENTION Mandy!