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Are you a fan of British TV shows? Do you love to watch dramas, comedies, or mysteries that are set in the UK? If so, then you’re in luck! In this article, we’re going to take a look at the 20 best British TV shows of all time. From classic dramas to modern comedies, these shows have captured the hearts of audiences around the world.
List of Top 20 Best British TV Shows of All Time
First on our list is Downton Abbey. This period drama follows the lives of the aristocratic Crawley family and their servants in the early 20th century. The show is known for its stunning costumes, intricate plotlines, and outstanding cast. Downton Abbey ran for six seasons and spawned a successful movie in 2019.
Next up is Sherlock, a modern take on the classic detective stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Benedict Cumberbatch stars as the brilliant but eccentric Sherlock Holmes, with Martin Freeman as his loyal friend and partner, Dr. John Watson. The show is known for its clever writing, stunning cinematography, and unforgettable performances.
No list of the best British TV shows would be complete without Doctor Who. This sci-fi series has been running since 1963, and follows the adventures of a time-traveling alien known as the Doctor. The show is known for its inventive storytelling, colorful characters, and iconic theme music.
Fawlty Towers is a classic British sitcom that ran for only two seasons in the 1970s, but remains one of the most beloved comedies of all time. The show stars John Cleese as the irritable and inept hotel owner Basil Fawlty, and features a cast of unforgettable characters and hilarious situations.
Black Mirror is a modern anthology series that explores the darker side of technology and society. Each episode tells a standalone story that examines the impact of technology on our lives, from social media to virtual reality. The show is known for its thought-provoking storytelling, stunning visuals, and unsettling themes.
The Crown is a period drama that chronicles the reign of Queen Elizabeth II. The show follows the Queen and her family through the tumultuous events of the 20th century, including political scandals, royal weddings, and international crises. The show is known for its outstanding cast, beautiful production design, and gripping storytelling.
Luther is a gritty crime drama that stars Idris Elba as the brilliant but troubled detective John Luther. The show is known for its intense and suspenseful storytelling, as well as its outstanding performances from Elba and the rest of the cast.
Peaky Blinders is a period drama that follows the exploits of the Shelby family, a gangster clan operating in Birmingham in the aftermath of World War I. The show is known for its stylish production design, outstanding performances, and gripping storytelling.
The Office (UK)
The Office is a classic British sitcom that follows the everyday lives of the employees at Wernham Hogg Paper Merchants. The show is known for its cringe-worthy humor, brilliant writing, and unforgettable characters, including the bumbling and inappropriate boss David Brent.
Broadchurch is a gripping crime drama set in a small coastal town in Dorset. The show follows the investigation of a young boy’s murder, and explores the impact of the crime on the local community. Broadchurch is known for its stunning cinematography, outstanding performances, and intricate storytelling.
Line of Duty
Line of Duty is a tense and suspenseful crime drama that follows the investigations of AC-12, a police anti-corruption unit. The show is known for its gripping storytelling, intricate plotlines, and outstanding performances, particularly from the show’s lead actor, Martin Compston.
The Inbetweeners is a hilarious coming-of-age comedy that follows the misadventures of a group of teenage boys as they navigate high school. The show is known for its crass humor, relatable characters, and unforgettable moments.
Only Fools and Horses
Only Fools and Horses is a classic British sitcom that follows the exploits of the Trotter family, a group of market traders from Peckham. The show is known for its lovable characters, clever writing, and heartwarming moments, and remains one of the most beloved comedies of all time.
Gavin & Stacey
Last but not least is Gavin & Stacey, a heartwarming romantic comedy that follows the long-distance relationship of Gavin, a boy from Essex, and Stacey, a girl from Wales. The show is known for its witty writing, lovable characters, and charming performances.
Downton Abbey is a period drama set in early 20th century England that follows the lives of the aristocratic Crawley family and their servants. The show is known for its stunning production design, outstanding performances, and intricate plotlines.
Fawlty Towers is a classic British sitcom that first aired in 1975 and ran for just two seasons. Created by John Cleese and Connie Booth, the show is set in a fictional hotel in the seaside town of Torquay and follows the misadventures of its hapless owner, Basil Fawlty, played by Cleese.
Basil is a rude, snobbish and incompetent hotelier, and much of the humor of the show comes from his constant attempts to keep up appearances while everything around him falls apart. The show is widely regarded as one of the greatest comedies of all time, and its influence can still be felt in British TV today.
The Young Ones
The Young Ones is a groundbreaking British sitcom that first aired in 1982 and ran for just two seasons. Created by Ben Elton, Rik Mayall and Lise Mayer, the show follows the lives of four university students sharing a house in London. The show was notorious for its anarchic style, surreal humor, and constant breaking of the fourth wall.
The characters were all exaggerated stereotypes of student life, with Rik Mayall playing the punk anarchist Rick, Adrian Edmondson playing the violent and dim-witted Vyvyan, Nigel Planer playing the hippie Neil, and Christopher Ryan playing the ladies’ man Mike. The show was a huge hit with young audiences and has since become a cult classic, influencing a generation of British comedians.
The Inbetweeners is a British sitcom that first aired in 2008 and ran for three seasons and two movies. Created by Damon Beesley and Iain Morris, the show follows the lives of four friends – Will, Simon, Jay, and Neil – as they navigate the awkwardness and humiliations of teenage life. The show was praised for its accurate portrayal of teenage life and its relatable characters, and it became a huge hit with audiences, especially teenagers.
The show’s humor is often raunchy and politically incorrect, but it is also grounded in the everyday experiences of adolescence, from first love and crushes to parties and exams. The Inbetweeners has since become a cultural phenomenon, spawning merchandise, spin-offs, and even an American remake.
Absolutely Fabulous is a British sitcom that first aired in 1992 and ran for five seasons and three specials. Created by Jennifer Saunders, the show follows the lives of two middle-aged women, Edina Monsoon and Patsy Stone, played by Saunders and Joanna Lumley, respectively. Edina is a PR agent with a perpetually chaotic personal life, while Patsy is her best friend and fashion editor with a love of champagne, drugs, and men.
The show was praised for its bold and irreverent humor, its strong female characters, and its satire of celebrity culture and consumerism. It has since become a cultural touchstone, influencing fashion, music, and pop culture. The show returned for a movie in 2016, which was a commercial success but received mixed reviews from critics.
- What is the most-watched British TV show of all time?
- The most-watched British TV show of all time is the final episode of the sitcom Only Fools and Horses, which aired in 2003 and was watched by over 24 million viewers.
- What is the longest-running British TV show of all time?
- The longest-running British TV show of all time is the children’s show Blue Peter, which has been on the air since 1958.
- What is the most successful British TV export?
- The most successful British TV export is the sci-fi series Doctor Who, which has been on the air since 1963 and has been exported to over 50 countries.
- What is the most critically acclaimed British TV show of all time?
- The most critically acclaimed British TV show of all time is the drama series Breaking Bad, which was co-produced by the British network Channel 4.
- What is the most-watched British TV event of all time?
- The most-watched British TV event of all time is the wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer in 1981, which was watched by over 750 million people worldwide.
British TV has produced some of the most iconic and beloved shows of all time. From period dramas to modern comedies, these shows have captured the hearts of audiences around the world with their outstanding performances, clever writing, and gripping storytelling. Whether you’re a longtime fan or a newcomer to British TV, these 20 shows are definitely worth a watch.