In a tumultuous year, one thing remained certain: there was always something good on telly. Whether there was something better on the radio, or elsewhere, is debatable. Prestige dramas, nerve-wracking thrillers, landmark documentaries and awe-inspiring natural history were among the programmes that kept us glued to our screens in 2016. TV itself took on new forms: BBC Three moved online and series including Thirteen and The Living and the Dead premiered on BBC iPlayer prior to broadcast, while Channel 4 launched Walter Presents, a niche online platform for foreign-language television.
Conversely, the nation mourned as The Great British Bake Off switched channels, proving that linear scheduling still really matters. Celebrating the best of British TV isn’t difficult, but selecting it certainly is. To make things easier we have focused on new programmes, despite the magnificence of many returning series. With a range of highlights across channels and genres, here is the best of 2016 from BFI curators.