International Women’s Day: The Women You Should Be Watching On TV

In honour of Internation Women’s Day, here’s a quick countdown of the women we should be paying more attention to on our television screens…

WARNING: SOME SPOILERS FOR THE HOUR, BEING HUMAN,  GAME OF THRONES, FRESH MEAT, SHERLOCK, AND SILK


Lix Storm (The Hour)
ANNA CHANCELLOR
lix large International Womens Day: The Women You Should Be Watching On TV
As a female war correspondent in 1956, Lix Storm is fierce by necessity as well as nature. Though her role in BBC series The Hour is supporting, it’s her blunt approach and sense of humour that make Lix stand out in an ensemble cast. Her story of working as a front line correspondent during World War Two particularly sticks in the mind – unsentimental and plain, it gives us just a hint of the life that Lix has had in a time when women were usually consigned to the home.

Annie Sawyer (Being Human)
LENORA CRICHLOW
anniesawyer International Womens Day: The Women You Should Be Watching On TV
Kind, caring, and very dead, ghostly Annie Sawyer is the kind of character who grows over time. From confronting the boyfriend who murdered her in series one to surviving through the deaths of her best friends in series four, Annie is open, sweet, and possessed of the kind of inner strength that shows up when it needs to and never changes the fundaments of her happy-go-lucky personality. She demonstrates perfectly the idea that kind, young women can be strong too.

The Stark Women – Catelyn, Sansa, and Arya (Game of Thrones)
MICHELLE FAIRLEY, SOPHIE TURNER and MAISIE WILLIAMS
catelynstark International Womens Day: The Women You Should Be Watching On TV
Three in one – two generations of women from HBO’s Game of Thrones, and all three exceedingly different. Catelyn Stark faces down assassins, takes captive the son of the most powerful man in Westeros, and organises a military campaign from the shadows, all for the love and honour of her children. Her two daughters, Arya and Sansa, are chalk and cheese, but each of them stands firm through the destruction of their childhoods – Arya on the run, cut off from her family for fear of death, and Sansa engaged to an abusive King, stuck inside a gilded cage.

Vod (Fresh Meat)
ZAWE ASHTON
vod International Womens Day: The Women You Should Be Watching On TV

Brash, careless, possessed of a terrible work ethic – Vod is a lot of fun. With an idiosyncratic style, a self-destructive search for fun, and a passion for learning that gets buried underneath everything else, Vod’s navigation of University life is always engaging, whether she’s accidentally overdosing or realising that she’s actually enjoying her degree. She’s loyal but pretends not to be, and her growing friendship with housemate Oregon is one of the highlights of Fresh Meat. They even manage to pass the Bechdel test.

Molly Hooper (Sherlock)
LOUISE BREALEY
molly International Womens Day: The Women You Should Be Watching On TV
I’ve already made my feelings on Molly Hooper pretty clear, but it always bears repeating: she is the missing role model a lot of people have been waiting for. She is just as observant as Sherlock himself when it comes to the emotional details of people’s lives (John’s sister, Lestrade’s wife), she’s pursued a career that probably earned her more than a tough time from some, and she lends herself without hesitation to her friends when they need her. Her ability to trip so completely over her own words never undermines her because we listen to her regardless – and so does Sherlock.

Martha Costello (Silk)
MAXINE PEAKE
martha International Womens Day: The Women You Should Be Watching On TV

Martha is something you don’t see on television too often. A barrister, she’s nearly always softly spoken, and sharp and intelligent in court without sass or sashay. She overworks willingly but it doesn’t stem from loneliness or a lack of men in her life. She’s perfectly happy on her own, and navigates the power-hungry, male-dominated, sexually harrassing elements of her profession with glorious dignity. Any mistakes only serve to make her look more accomplished, and in turn create a truly three-dimensional female protagonist.

Honourable mentions: Cersei Lannister (Game of Thrones), Irene Adler (Sherlock), River Song (Doctor Who), Amy Pond (Doctor Who), Bel Rowley (The Hour), Sally Donovan (Sherlock), Donna Noble (Doctor Who), Carrie Matheison (Homeland)