Top 10: television

Mad Men (AMC/BBC4)

The best American show of the decade: a tale of Martini-drinking ad executives set in the early 1960s that is as rich and complex as any novel.

Sex and the City (HBO/ Channel 4)

It sounds daft now but, once, these Manhattan girls really did seem like sexual revolutionaries.

Bleak House (BBC1)

Charles Dance (Mr Tulkinghorn) and Gillian Anderson (Lady Dedlock) in twice-weekly half-hour episodes. In other words, total bliss.

Peep Show (Channel 4)

Filthy sitcom that takes the viewer deep - perhaps too deep - inside the male psyche.

The Thick of It (BBC4/2)

Eat your heart out, Newsnight. The show that nailed the Labour government.

Doctor Who (BBC1)

Thank you, Russell T Davies, for proving that so-called family television is not a thing of the past.

Little Britain (BBC2/1)

Childishly repetitive, and not always very funny, Matt Lucas and David Walliams nevertheless captured shouty, greedy, ignorant Britain today with piercing (and shameful) accuracy.

The Office (BBC2)

Oh, the genius of The Office, which gave us David Brent and his party dance.

I'm a Celebrity . . . Get Me Out of Here! (ITV1)

Bushtucker trials and giant egos. In a decade swamped by reality TV, this was my favourite . . . for about five minutes.

Life on Mars (BBC1)

Flares, Ford Cortinas and time travel. Nostalgia for grown-ups that was so clever and wry, I was never embarrassed to be caught watching it.


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Rachel Cooke trained as a reporter on The Sunday Times. She is now a writer at The Observer. In the 2006 British Press Awards, she was named Interviewer of the Year.

This article first appeared in the 14 December 2009 issue of the New Statesman, The Muslim Jesus