The best TV moments of 2022 from Paddington and the Queen to Stranger Things
2022 was the year that Paddington met royalty, Kate Bush became an anthem, a certain politician entered the jungle, and old neighbours returned to Ramsay Street.
Read more: The best TV shows of 2022
Read on for all the TV moments that got us talking during the last 12 months.
Party at the Palace – The Paddington sketch (BBC)
“Marmalade sandwich, your Majesty?” Four words that nobody expected to hear open the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Party at the Palace. But, back in June, we were met with the sight of Paddington Bear sitting across the table from the monarch, the two of them comparing notes on where they chose to stash their favourite snack.
Read more: Paddington's perfect Queen tribute goes viral
The hit sketch acquired added poignancy following the death of Queen Elizabeth II in September, to the extent that thousands of stuffed Paddingtons were left outside the gates of Buckingham Palace by way of a tribute. The toys subsequently went to good homes after being donated to a children’s charity.
Stranger Things – Max escapes Vecna (Netflix)
Triumph over adversity was the key theme of this thrilling showdown from the fourth season of the fantasy drama. Episode four found long-suffering Max (Sadie Sink) seemingly at the mercy of the evil Vecna, but in a feelgood montage, she drew upon happy memories of time shared with her Hawkins friends before escaping from the dark dimension where she was trapped.
Max’s bid for freedom was accompanied by the pulse-pounding sound of Kate Bush’s 1985 hit Running Up That Hill, and its inclusion on the show resulted in a resurgence in popularity for the song that led to it topping the charts in eight countries.
Neighbours – Kylie and Jason return (Channel 5)
Soaps are, by their nature, continuing dramas. But for a while there, it looked as though we’d reached the end of the road on Ramsay Street. So, in what was believed at the time to be the final episode of Neighbours, Jason Donovan and Kylie Minogue reappeared on the soap that gave them their big break.
Read more: Neighbours to be revived by Amazon
Scott and Charlene’s cameo may have been a largely silent one, but it gave fans the feelgood moment they were looking for. Though devotees were left with wider smiles when, a few months later, the show was announced to be returning in 2023 – this time on Amazon Freevee.
Eurovision — Ukraine wins (BBC)
A show of public support for Ukraine propelled them to an emotional victory at Eurovision, where the country’s Kalush Orchestra bagged 631 points. The rap-folk band had asked for help at the climax of their performance, and voters answered their plea.
Watch: Ukraine wins Eurovision
The United Kingdrom, meanwhile, enjoyed its best result since 1998, with the ever-smiling Spaceman singer Sam Ryder coming second.
With Ukraine unable to host in 2023 due to the continuing invasion by Russia, the next contest will be staged in the UK for the first time in 25 years, with Liverpool picked as the city of choice.
Doctor Who – Jodie Whittaker regenerates (BBC)
The 13th Doctor’s tenure in the Tardis on Doctor Who was certainly divisive. Some cheered the queer representation and the progressive casting, others were left disappointed in the quality of the storylines and the scripts. But for the BBC’s centenary, show boss Chris Chibnall pulled out all the stops for a special episode featuring past Doctors, classic companions… and a momentous regeneration.
Read more: Doctor Who fans thrilled by returning star
Yes, in the closing minutes, Jodie Whittaker regenerated not — as some had perhaps been expecting — into Ncuti Gatwa but rather David Tennant, who has returned to the series to launch Russell T Davies’ second stint as showrunner.
Gatwa is, of course, waiting in the wings. But first, we’re set to get Tennant reunited with Catherine Tate for Doctor Who’s 60thanniversary.
EastEnders – The Peggy Mitchell flashback (BBC)
Such is the fractured way we now watch TV that the tagline “everyone’s talking about” hasn’t felt accurate for while when it comes to EastEnders. Let’s face it – soaps aren’t quite the unifying force they once were. But Jaime Winstone bringing to life a young Peggy Mitchell was a moment that brought together die-hard fans, casual viewers and those who just enjoy well-told stories.
Read more: EastEnders fans call for full flashback series
Spooling back to 1979 was a risky move on EastEnders’s part, but it paid off thanks to a flashback sequence strong on atmosphere and period detail. The cast, too, were excellent – with special mention going to Daniel Delaney for capturing many of Steve McFadden’s mannerisms while playing the young Phil.
Peaky Blinders - The car bomb (BBC)
The fate of Tommy Shelby (Cillian Murphy) was left hanging until the explosive last episode of Peaky Blinders season six. Despite an awful lot of foreshadowing that led us to believe he’d be a casualty, a car bomb intended for Tommy ended up being used on Michael’s associates. And rather than shooting himself, Tommy ultimately realised that he’d been given a false diagnosis of inoperable tuberculoma.
The suggestion is that Tommy has now finally found peace. Although this is not the end of the story, what with creator Steven Knight having now confirmed — while picking up an NTA award Peaky Blinders had won for Returning Drama — that production on a movie will begin in Spring 2023.
I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here! – Matt Hancock pleads forgiveness (ITV)
Disgraced former health secretary Matt Hancock was one of this year’s late entrants in the jungle, his arrival leaving both campmates and viewers uneasy at his inclusion in the line-up. But it was his plea for forgiveness that proved especially polarising, especially when it began to feel as though he was merely saying sorry for getting caught on that now-notorious CCTV footage, rather than for the controversies surrounding PPE or care-home policy during the pandemic.
Whether Hancock now uses his I’m a Celeb appearance as a media springboard remains to be seen, though he has reportedly also filmed for an upcoming series of Celebrity SAS: Who Dares Wins.
Panorama – Partygate: Inside the Storm (BBC)
The political year may have featured more cliffhangers than most prime-time dramas, but try and cast your mind back to May, a period when Boris Johnson was still in office and both the press and public were anticipating the publication of Sue Gray’s report.
Then came Laura Kuenssberg’s own investigation into what went on behind the door at No 10 during lockdown, and it all made for a grim and indictment of the government of the day. There were the “wine-time Fridays” and boozy leaving dos, but it was revelation about the blowout on the eve of Prince Philip’s funeral that turned this bracing edition of Panorama into headline-making TV.
Wimbledon – Sue Barker signs off (BBC)
A 30-year stint bringing Wimbledon coverage to fans came to a close in 2022 as Sue Barker bowed out live on BBC1. It was understandably a teary goodbye, with a montage offering highlights of Barker career on and off the court. But it was Billie Jean King’s tribute that resonated the most: “Sue Barker – I tell you, she is the GOAT. Best ever!”
"It's been an absolute privilege. I've loved it." 🥺❤️
Sue Barker reacts to a tribute to her incredible career on the BBC.#BBCTennis #Wimbledon pic.twitter.com/xHGpcEabVH
— BBC Sport (@BBCSport) July 10, 2022
As to who will fill her shoes, Barker appeared to reveal her successor at the recent BT Sport Action Woman Awards when she discussed the future of Wimbledon with Clare Balding. “I know I’m leaving it in the safest hands, it’s absolutely wonderful to leave it with Clare,” Barker let slip.
Watch: Sue Barker opens up about leaving Wimbledon