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The United Kingdom has a long and rich history of producing some of the best television shows in the world. From drama and comedy to mystery and science fiction, there’s something for everyone on UK television. Here are the top 10 must-see UK TV shows of all time.
A science fiction series that has been on the air since 1963, “Doctor Who” follows the adventures of the Doctor, a Time Lord who travels through time and space in the TARDIS. Whether you are old enough to remember Tom Baker’s iconic scarf or were watching when David Tennant bid farewell to his fans, the long history of Doctor Who offers hundreds of hours of well-written, thoughtful and compelling stories that are still just as enjoyable to watch today. If you have never seen an episode of Doctor Who before, then there’s no better time to get started.
This modern retelling of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s famous detective stories stars Benedict Cumberbatch as the iconic detective Sherlock Holmes, and Martin Freeman as his loyal friend and companion, Dr. John Watson. Sherlock has powerfully reinvented the iconic detective for our time, with brilliant casting choices and a distinctive literary-cinematic feel that makes the series irresistible to TV audiences.
Set in the early 20th century, “Downton Abbey” follows the lives of the Crawley family and their household staff. The show explores the social changes of the time and the conflicts between the upper and lower classes. The show continues to be a real crowd-pleaser that explores both the lives of the nobility and the lives of their servants within the period between 1912 and 1926. For fans of history or would-be historians, it’s a must see.
This historical sitcom stars Rowan Atkinson as the cunning Edmund Blackadder, who finds himself in various historical periods and uses his wit and cunning to get by. No matter how many twists or turns, Blackadder always undergoes or creates chaos and mayhem. Blackadder is a series that is sure to entertain. While the historical themes explored in each series are very different, each one is masterfully handled and never fails to deliver the laughs.
This Netflix original series explores the reign of Queen Elizabeth II and the events that have shaped her reign and the modern monarchy. Netflix’s The Crown contains all the elements of a good series like energy, plot, and intrigue, but is elevated by brilliant writing and powerful performances by Claire Foy, Olivia Colman, and Imelda Staunton. There is plenty of drama, both political and personal.
Just when you think you’ve seen it all, you come across a show like Peaky Blinders. Set in post-World War I Birmingham, “Peaky Blinders” follows the lives of the Shelby crime family as they navigate the criminal underworld and the political landscape of the time. Honed to near perfection on the BBC and proving a hit in the US, this show is every bit as gripping as we had hoped it would be! It’s a complex story, handled with grace by a group of outstanding actors. If you love shows based in history that pull you along in a compelling story, then this series is for you!
This classic comedy series stars John Cleese as the bumbling hotel owner Basil Fawlty and follows the misadventures of the staff and guests at Fawlty Towers. If you enjoy classic British humour (and who doesn’t?) and haven’t seen this show, you’re missing out. You’ll get a kick out of the dated references, particularly to mid-1970s British culture. The show may be over 40 years old now but definitely deserves to be watched by new audiences. The humour will literally have you in stitches from start to finish.
This comedy series follows the antics of the IT department at Reynholm Industries, and their attempts to navigate the often absurd world of corporate technology. Super-geek Roy is trapped in his own little world. Moss is trying to rebel against his role as a mindless drone. Jen is the super-efficient supervisor who can’t get a break. If you’re looking for a workplace comedy, then go with the IT Crowd.
The Vicar of Dibley is hilarious comedy about life in a small rural village. This comedy series stars Dawn French as the Reverend Geraldine Granger, the new vicar of the sleepy English village of Dibley. The Vicar of Dibley is accessible and enjoyable., doesn’t take itself too seriously, and all of the characters are fun or likable, which really helps to set the tone. It’s a charming comedy that will make you laugh out loud more often than not.
This mystery drama follows Detective Inspector Alec Hardy and Detective Sergeant Ellie Miller as they investigate a murder in the close-knit community of Broadchurch. This show is recommended to anyone who likes a good murder mystery. The cinematography and acting are well done, with the suspense growing over time within each of the episodes, making it such that it’s hard to stop watching. Broadchurch delivers on the intrigue that many fans of crime series like this are looking for. The show has been praised for its brilliant writing as well as its stellar cast.
These are just a few of the many amazing UK TV shows that have captured audiences around the world. Whether you’re a fan of drama, comedy, mystery, or science fiction, there’s a show guaranteed to capture your heart and imagination. The UK has a truly impressive television heritage, and these top 10 shows are a testament to the country’s exceptional talent and creativity in the entertainment industry. They are shows that are timeless and will continue to be loved and cherished for many years to come.
Keep an eye on our TV guide, for exact time schedules and more information on where and how to watch some of these shows. See what else is new on our blog.