9. This Is England '86/'88 (Channel 4, 2010 and 2011)The key to the success of Shane Meadow's This Is England "franchise" (couldn't think of a better word) is a mixture of three things: 1) the complete embodiment of a subsection of 1980s Britain; 2) a set of impeccably written characters we feel we have known for years; and 3) a willingness to deal with issues and emotions in such a brutally honest way that it leaves us reeling. It's fair to say that Shane Meadow's pulls no punches. It is the last of these that is the key to all of Meadows' work, from Dead Man's Shoes onwards. The final two episodes of the 86' mini-series, broadcast in 2010, reached levels of intensity rarely seen on British TV. A supposedly desensitised generation collectively flinched and averted their eyes in disgust at the brutal realism of the rape scene in the final part of the third episode. Meadows gets performances out of his actors that most other directors could only dream of. It's hard to see how he can top this.