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Top 10 TV treats that made us laugh and cringe in 2020

Isolated in our homes for the best part of the year, television became a lifeline — from Paul Mescal’s silver chain in Normal People to Tubridy dropping the ‘B’ bomb on The Late Late Toy Show, we round up our top telly moments of 2020

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Sally Rooney, the author of Normal People, described the piece of jewellery in the book as ‘Argos chic’

Sally Rooney, the author of Normal People, described the piece of jewellery in the book as ‘Argos chic’

Sally Rooney, the author of Normal People, described the piece of jewellery in the book as ‘Argos chic’

1. Connell's silver chain

Not since Fleabag’s Hot Priest has a piece of male neckwear sparked such a swoonfest.

Normal People star Paul Mescal positively sizzled opposite Daisy Edgar-Jones in the BBC’s most-streamed series of 2020.

And it was Connell’s signature silver chain that proved the (second) biggest distraction during the show’s steamy nude scenes.

It later raised a staggering €70,000 for Ireland’s suicide prevention charity Pieta House at auction.

2. Claire Byrne's shed

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Broadcaster Claire Byrn

Broadcaster Claire Byrn

Broadcaster Claire Byrn


Is it a sauna? A shebeen? Maybe a Santa’s grotto? Viewers had so many questions when Claire Byrne broadcast live from her garden shed earlier this year.

The RTÉ presenter was among the first to be struck down with Covid-19 back in March.

But the true professional battled on while self-isolating at her Dublin home — with not a PJ set in sight.

3. John King's 'Magic Wall'

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John King's ‘Magic Wall’ during US election coverage.

John King's ‘Magic Wall’ during US election coverage.

John King's ‘Magic Wall’ during US election coverage.


Four years ago, Donald Trump famously promised to “build a wall”.

CNN actually did it — and had viewers glued to its ‘Magic Wall’ during round-the-clock US election coverage.

Combining whizzbang graphics with old-school reportage, chart-throb John King ran away with the popular vote by finally debunking America’s convoluted electoral college system. Anyone else got a sudden urge to visit Maricopa County in 2021?

4. Baby Yoda

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Baby Yoda in The Mandalorian

Baby Yoda in The Mandalorian

Baby Yoda in The Mandalorian


Launched just in time for lockdown, Disney+ scored its first big hit with Star Wars spin-off The Mandalorian.

Forget the eponymous bounty hunter though, it’s the tiny future Jedi Master that sparked a thousand memes after appearing in the very first episode.

Those eyes, those ears — expect to find Baby Yoga socks, mugs, toys and onesies under the tree this year.

5. Nicole Kidman's coat

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Nicole Kidman’s snuggly green coat that divided the internet.

Nicole Kidman’s snuggly green coat that divided the internet.

Nicole Kidman’s snuggly green coat that divided the internet.


Sky Atlantic’s six-part murder mystery The Undoing was event television at its best.

Never mind who killed Elena Alves though — it was Nicole Kidman’s snuggly green coat that divided the internet.

The Aussie star slayed as a well-heeled New York therapist whose husband is accused of the murder.

And Vogue editors couldn’t decide whether her coat, designed for the show by Signe Sejlund, was to-die-for — or just a crime against fashion.

6. The return of The Den

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A triumphant return of Ray, Dustin and everyone’s favourite Zogabongs

A triumphant return of Ray, Dustin and everyone’s favourite Zogabongs

A triumphant return of Ray, Dustin and everyone’s favourite Zogabongs


‘Can you hear me now?’

Ronan Keating accidentally muting himself on a Zoom call to Zig and Zag was all of us in 2020.

But the triumphant return of Ray, Dustin and everyone’s favourite Zogabongs to television last month was also just the thing to save the year. Not to mention make grown men and women pine for a Den jacket all over again.

7. Nicole and Katya

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Strictly Come Dancing.

Strictly Come Dancing.

Strictly Come Dancing.


Olympic boxer Nicola Adams and Katya Jones made history as the first ever same sex pairing on this year’s Strictly Come Dancing.

Sadly the couple exited the show in week four last month after pro dancer Katya tested positive for Covid-19 and had to quit.

But not before they cha-cha-changed the face of the hit BBC show forever.

8. Emily's baffling Insta numbers

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Emily in Paris

Emily in Paris

Emily in Paris


It was the love/loathe sensation of lockdown — but Netflix original Emily in Paris left viewers with ‘un peu de’ questions. Chiefly, how Lily Collins’ supposed social media guru arrives with a paltry 48 followers on Instagram at the beginning of the ten-episode arc.

And whether moving to another city and posting about pain au chocolat could help anyone’s number of followers explode to 25,000?

9. Tubs Toy Show 'B' Bomb

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Ryan Tubridy on this years The Late Late Toy Show

Ryan Tubridy on this years The Late Late Toy Show

Andres Poveda

Ryan Tubridy on this years The Late Late Toy Show


From adorable Cork lad Adam King’s virtual hug to young singer Michael Maloney’s duet with musical hero Dermot Kennedy, the Late Late Toy Show was jam-packed with heartwarming moments.

Still, it was presenter Ryan Tubridy accidentally swearing on live television after spilling a bottle of fizzy orange that was a highlight of the annual television spectacular.

The fact that he was later forced to deny that he had dropped the ‘F’ bomb — and actually said ‘b*****ks’ — only made the moment all the more Fanta-tastic.

10. Tiger King's everything

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Joe Exotic on Tiger King

Joe Exotic on Tiger King

Joe Exotic on Tiger King


And the ‘Virtual Water Cooler Moment of the Year’ goes to ... Joe Exotic and Carole Baskin.

From mullets to murder to multiple husbands, there wasn’t a single moment of the Netflix miniseries hit that didn’t range from OMG to WTF.

And that’s without even mentioning the wild cats.

It’s still available to binge watch over Christmas on the streaming service.

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