My Top TV Couples!

I’ve recently been rewatching a few old television favourites and it’s become clear to me that the shows I tend to invest in usually have a strong couple at their heart. Some of these are friendships, some are more than that and others morph over time from one to the other. I’m still considering my list of ultimate TV friendships (watch this space), but in the spirit of it being Valentine’s Day, I’m starting with my favourite television couples.

Of course, everyone’s list will be personal, so I’m sure there will be couples I’ve missed who you would choose, so feel free to let me know your choices in the comments! It also goes without saying that this post will contain spoilers for the shows referenced.

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Fox Mulder & Dana Scully (The X-Files)

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To me, Mulder and Scully will always be the ultimate television couple. It was a relationship that grew from their strong friendship and over the years of the series I loved seeing how much respect and love these two amazing characters had for each other. It bubbled under the surface, but never detracted from the series itself and even 20 years later, the incredible chemistry between David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson remains as powerful as ever. The magic the two of them share does not come around very often and as yet, has not been beaten. You can read more of my thoughts on these two here.

Harvey Specter & Donna Paulsen (Suits)

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I know some people may argue against the inclusion of Harvey and Donna in a couples list, but their relationship has developed so much recently, that I find it impossible not to see them as meant to be, even if they are not quite there yet! Over the last six seasons we have seen their deeply-rooted friendship grow. Yes, they’ve already been lovers once, but they share so much more than that. Sarah Rafferty and Gabriel Macht have a chemistry that is rare on television and I’m sure their long-standing friendship has added to the fabric of Harvey and Donna’s relationship. These characters wouldn’t be so wonderful on screen were they portrayed by anyone else. As with Mulder and Scully, this is certainly a slow burn, but surely these two have to end up together?!

Josh Lyman & Donna Moss (The West Wing)

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I clearly enjoy the slow burn relationships don’t I, as here is yet another one! From the start of Aaron Sorkin’s political drama I always loved the banter between the Deputy Chief of Staff and his assistant and as the series progressed, their wonderful bond became more apparent. Thanks to Bradley Whitford and Janel Moloney’s on screen connection, any other relationships each character had just never seemed quite as special as the one they shared together. Josh may have been the political player, but it became clear how much he relied on Donna and when she left to pursue her own ambitions, it gave him the push to pursue his new path and when they did finally get together it didn’t overshadow the series, as by then it was the logical and natural next step.

Alicia Florrick & Will Gardner (The Good Wife)

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I still feel incredibly sad when I think about this ill-fated pair, but there was no way they wouldn’t feature on my list, as they are probably the hottest and most moving couple on TV. The attraction between Will and Alicia was clear from the very beginning (in no large part down to the chemistry between Josh Charles and Julianna Margulies) and along with many fans of the series, I had my fingers crossed for their future. They clearly loved one another and Alicia should probably have picked Will before she ever married her dreadful husband. The time they were together treated us to some of the steamiest scenes on television (here’s one for the uninitiated) as well as some of the most emotional, but sadly it wasn’t to be, with Will being tragically killed in series five (something I still wish the internet hadn’t ruined for me in advance). It was an event I never expected, which still makes me reach for the tissues. The fact their love was cut short in such an cruel way makes their whole story all the more powerful and is probably the couple that has moved me the most on television.

Temperance Brennan & Seeley Booth (Bones)

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Bones is a series I’ve missed over the last few years and I’m slowly playing catch up, but what was clear from day one was the chemistry between David Boreanaz’s Booth and Emily Deschanel’s Brennan. I have only reached series eight (the final season 12 is airing now), but what I enjoy most about this series is how the writers were able to transition the characters from friends, to lovers, to marriage and children. It has enabled fans to see their relationship grow in a more mature and realistic way, which is something other shows could learn from.

The Doctor & Rose Tyler (Doctor Who)

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Since it’s return in 2005 Doctor Who has seen some wonderful partnerships on board the TARDIS. However, there is one that touched the hearts of many fans of the series and that was the love between David Tennant’s Tenth Doctor and Billie Piper’s Rose Tyler. Yes, nothing ever happened between them, but their bond was never in doubt and their heartbreaking farewell on Bad Wolf Bay was a classic moment that certainly made me shed some tears.

Kevin Walker & Scotty Wandell (Brothers & Sisters)

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There were many relationships within Brothers & Sisters, but for me the most heartfelt and believable one was that between Kevin and Scotty (played brilliantly by Matthew Rhys and Luke MacFarlane). Through all the Walker family turmoil, they were a breath of fresh air with their loving relationship. They weren’t free from problems (most notably Scotty’s affair), but loved each other enough not to throw their relationship away.

Buffy Summers & Spike (Buffy The Vampire Slayer)

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Some may be surprised that the relationship on my list from Buffy is not the one between Buffy and Angel! Yes, theirs was one of the core elements of the series in the early years, but Buffy and Spike’s short-lived relationship was the one that has always interested me the most. When you think about it (and leave aside the undead aspect!), they were a far better match for each other. Perhaps it was the fact Buffy was older than the teenager who fell for Angel, but her connection with Spike came across as a more mature one. They knew each other’s faults and accepted them anyway and some of the scenes between James Marsters and Sarah Michelle Geller in those later episodes remain some of my favourites.

Doug Ross & Carol Hathaway (E.R)

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E.R remains my favourite medical series (more on that here) and although it had some lovely relationships during its 15 years, one always stood above the rest and that was the love affair between Doug and Carol. The fact it became so iconic in the 90s (and was the first big break for each of George Clooney and Julianna Margulies) is more impressive when you think that Carol wasn’t even meant to survive the pilot episode. They went through ups and downs, split up and got back together more than once, but you couldn’t help but root for them and the icing on the cake was Clooney’s surprise return for the last few moments of the episode which saw Carol leave Chicago behind for the love of her life.

Chuck Bass & Blaire Waldorf (Gossip Girl)

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Chuck and Blaire were the best schemers in Gossip Girl, manipulating situations and characters to their advantage and there were many times when I really couldn’t stand them! However, the writers created something very clever in their relationship. Despite their underhanded behaviour, they seemed to bring out the best in each other, which in turn changed my perception of them and thanks to the acting talents of Ed Westwick and Leighton Meester they became my favourite characters in the show. Had they not ended up together I’d have been thoroughly disappointed.

Carrie Bradshaw & Mr. Big (Sex And The City)

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The Mr.Big debate was a big one during Sex And The City’s run, with fans divided as to whether Carrie should end up with him or not. He may have been an idiot for the majority of the show, but I was always of the view that deep down they were soul mates. Despite all the pain and hurt, they always seemed to come back to one another and he would do anything for her. I also loved the fun they seemed to have and Chris Noth and Sarah Jessica Parker sparkled in their scenes together.

Sydney Bristow & Michael Vaughn (Alias)

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J.J Abrams’s spy drama was a highlight of American television at the time of its original run and the will they won’t they dynamic of Sydney and Vaughn captured the hearts of its fans (including me). Yes, there were some utterly bonkers plot developments along the way, including Vaughn’s faked death, but Jennifer Garner and Michael Vartan always ensured the relationship between Sydney and Vaughn was genuinely lovely to watch right until the end.

Ross Poldark & Demelza (Poldark)

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Yes, Aidan Turner’s torso has generated a great deal of attention since Poldark was brought back to our screens in 2015, but the best character in my view is the fiery Demelza, superbly played by Eleanor Tomlinson and their romance is what keeps me tuning in each week. They may be from different backgrounds, but they are undoubtably stronger together and do truly belong together. I’m looking forward to seeing what lies ahead in series three after the ups and downs of the last series.

Lizzie Bennet & Mr Darcy (BBC, Pride & Prejudice)

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Colin Firth may be a successful Oscar-winning actor, but he’ll always be best known for his iconic portrayal of Mr Darcy in the BBC adaptation of Pride & Prejudice. The British public fell under his spell and that of his counterpart Jennifer Ehle. In my opinion, they created the definitive Lizzie and Darcy and every scene they had together sparkled, making them one of the TV couples of the 90s in Britain.

Ianto Jones and Captain Jack Harkness (Torchwood)

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The relationship between Captain Jack (John Barrowman) and Ianto Jones (Gareth David-Lloyd) in Torchwood was hugely important for British television and remains one of my favourites of recent years. What was lovely about the pairing was that they may have been very different personalities, but were in fact perfectly suited. They were playful, affectionate and stood by each other through all the crazy happenings in their lives and Ianto’s emotional death in Children Of Earth was heartbreaking for fans of the show. We felt his loss as much as Captain Jack. Heck, does any other fictional character have a shrine like Ianto’s in Cardiff?!

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So, those are my top fifteen television couples. I look forward to hearing about who you would choose!

The Name’s Bond…..My Top Choices for the next 007

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With the release of Daniel Craig’s fourth Bond film Spectre inching ever nearer, along with the hype and expectation, speculation is also growing as to the future of this very British screen icon. It’s currently not certain whether Daniel Craig will remain with the franchise and reported interviews with him this week suggest that perhaps he’s ready to move on from James Bond.

With that in mind, I’ve been considering who I would most like replace Daniel in the role. It’s certainly not going to be an easy task for whoever it is, with Daniel revamping the world of Bond over the last decade for a new generation, which was certainly needed. As much as I enjoyed the Pierce Brosnan films, they had become rather silly and in a world of Jason Bourne and more serious spy thrillers, Daniel’s rougher, harder, more damaged Bond was very welcome. I’m hoping he’ll stay for one last film, but perhaps, if as successful as Skyfall, he’ll see this as a good time to pass the baton on to someone new.

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Spectre is coming soon, but who will be next?

So, below are the candidates from within which I hope the next man to step in to that dinner jacket comes from. Yes, I did say man. I’ll start by saying, personally, I think James Bond must be two things – Male and British. The character created by Ian Fleming was a man and it’s a very masculine role. I don’t believe I’m doing a disservice to my gender to say I think the character should remain a man. I also firmly believe the role should be played by a British actor. Yes, we Brits are taking more and more American roles in Hollywood, but Bond is very much linked to the culture of the country (he took part in the Olympic opening ceremony alongside the Queen for goodness sake!) and with such a strong pool of homegrown talent available, I’d be frustrated if the role was played by anyone else.

With those disclaimers out of the way, here are my top choices. Time will tell if any of them go on to put on a tux and enjoy their martini, shaken not stirred.

Idris Elba

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Not very original I know, but Idris Elba has been on my list for years. He has all the attributes for Bond. He’s a brilliant actor, who has a big enough profile thanks to The Wire, Luther and his film work (following his role of Mandela, he is receiving strong praise for the forthcoming Netflix feature Beasts of No Nation). He is full of charisma, and has the physicality to convincingly portray the action man side of the character. We’ve also already seen he can play a slightly troubled, tormented soul in Luther and he’d certainly charm the ladies. After all the hoo-ha around him, perhaps this ship has now sailed, but he’s certainly still high up on my list.

Damian Lewis

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The latest rumour mill suggests Damian Lewis is now the frontrunner to take over from Daniel Craig and that wouldn’t be a bad choice at all. He clearly has the British suave looks and he’s proven himself capable of leading a franchise (let’s face it Homeland isn’t the same without him is it?). His recent television roles also highlighted his versatility as an actor, not just capable of British period dramas. Homeland means seeing him with a licence to kill would not seem farfetched and the wonderful series Life (still my favourite of his) demonstrated his ability for humour, which every Bond also needs to have.

Tom Hardy

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A little younger than Damian Lewis and so possibly a stronger contender when considering longevity in the role is Mr Hardy, whose star is certainly well on the rise. After recent successes in the Dark Knight Rises, Mad Max and Legend, he has shown he has the talent needed to inhabit the role of 007 and is quite an exciting choice, which would be a bit less predictable than Damian Lewis.

Tom Hiddleston

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I admit I had been sceptical about the idea of Tom Hiddleston stepping in to 007’s shoes. He’s a great actor, but could I really see him as Bond? While sitting in the UK premiere of High-Rise tonight (review here), I suddenly could – seeing him in a sharp suit, sipping champagne from a martini glass, it was a perfect Bond image! He’d need to work on the physicality of the role, but he’s young (an advantage over Damian Lewis), he’s popular internationally thanks to his role as Loki and he’d bring something different to follow after Daniel Craig. The more I think about it, the more I like the idea!

Rupert Penry-Jones

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I admit this pick may be fuelled a little by the fact Rupert Penry-Jones was my favourite of the Spooks team, but that’s certainly no bad reason. Across four years of the BBC’s spy drama, he displayed all the personality traits for a great Bond – charm, intelligence, vulnerability and a damaged past (and yes he’s rather attractive too). I can however see that he may be getting a bit too old now, especially if Daniel sticks around for a fifth film and looks-wise may be too similar to Daniel Craig to follow in his footsteps, but it would be an interesting choice to consider.

Tom Hughes

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If the producers were willing to look at taking the character of Bond slightly younger, then I’d hope Tom Hughes would be on the list of possibilities. Admittedly still rather unknown, he’d bring a fresh new Bond for a new generation. Plus not everyone (especially those who hadn’t seen films such as Layer Cake) knew Daniel Craig when he took over. Still best known for his roles in the BBC’s Silk and the recent Cold War espionage drama The Game, he would be a refreshing Bond.

Aidan Turner

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From Poldark to Bond? Why not? Aidan Turner is growing in popularity since leaving Being Human. He’s been in The Hobbit and of course is now generating excitement across the country in the BBC’s revival of Poldark (series 2 is currently filming). I have yet to watch Poldark and catch Aidan Turner fever, but I can already imagine him in MI-6. He’s young, charming, would clearly have no problem with the pace and fitness levels needed for the role and would look great in a dinner jacket.

Oliver Rix

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As this is my wish list to choose from I can’t leave off one of my favourite actors at the moment. Oliver Rix is still better known for his theatre work, most notably playing Aumerle alongside David Tennant in the RSC’s Richard II. Currently involved in the new American television series Of Kings and Prophets, perhaps his profile is about to grow if it’s successful. He’s certainly got the looks for Bond as well as the charisma, but as with Tom Hughes, he may be a little too young, but you never know!

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So those are my top choices. If one of these goes on to be the next 007, I’ll be more than happy. Time will tell!

Spectre opens in the UK on 26th October 2015 (6th Novmeber in the USA).