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The Best BBC Television TV Shows 

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Updated April 22, 2020 8.3k votes 1.3k voters 65.3k views 186 items

List of popular BBC Television shows, ranked from best to worst. This list of the top current and cancelled BBC Television TV series includes the date when each show first aired, as well as which actors starred in the show. The best BBC Television TV programs of all time include the most viewed shows on BBC Television, as this list covers the entire history of the network. This list is sorted by popularity, so the shows with the most votes are at the top of the list.

This list below has a variety of shows in it, from Smiley's People to Sherlock.

Although television fans in different locations grew up with BBC Television on different channels, most of us got the same shows, so don't let your favorite BBC Television TV shows sink to the bottom of the list! The list of top BBC Television television shown below includes cast, creator, and premiere date when available. This list contains only TV series on the BBC Television network, even ones that are no longer on the air.

Use this factual list to build a whole new one just like it, then re-rank it to fit your opinion.

Data-driven recommendations based on voting from over 40 million monthly visits to Ranker. Try the free app
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1
Sherlock is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best BBC Television TV Shows
Benedict Cumberbatch, Martin Freeman, Una Stubbs

Premiered: 2010

Genres (Tv): Crime drama, Mystery

Sherlock (BBC One, 2010) is a British crime television series created by Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss, based on stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. The brilliant yet insensitive detective ...more

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Ranking the Best Seasons of 'Sherlock' #4 of 804 The Best TV Shows To Binge Watch #6 of 383 The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years

2
Doctor Who is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best BBC Television TV Shows
Christopher Eccleston, David Tennant, Matt Smith

Premiered: 1963

Genres (Tv): Sci-fi, Adventure, Drama

Doctor Who (BBC, 2005) is a British science-fiction television show created by Sydney Newman, C. E. Webber, and Donald Wilson. The further adventures in time and space of the alien adventurer ...more

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The Most Messed Up Things the Doctor Has Done on Doctor Who #50 of 804 The Best TV Shows To Binge Watchlisted on Longest Running Sci-Fi TV Shows

3
Merlin is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best BBC Television TV Shows
peter.glover1 added Colin Morgan, Angel Coulby, Bradley James

Premiered: 2008

Genres (Tv): Historical drama, Sword and sorcery, Medieval fantasy, Adventure

Merlin (BBC One, 2008) is a British fantasy-adventure drama television series based on the Arthurian legends. Merlin (Colin Morgan), a young and powerful wizard, sets out to fulfill his destiny: ...more

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#162 of 383 The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years #60 of 571 TV Shows Canceled Before Their Time #8 of 65 The Best Teen Sci-Fi And Fantasy TV Series

4
Luther is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best BBC Television TV Shows
bigcraig added Idris Elba, Warren Brown, Dermot Crowley

Premiered: 2010

Genres (Tv): Action/Adventure, Police procedural, Drama, Adventure film, Action

Luther is a British drama series starring Idris Elba as the eponymous character DCI John Luther. Written by Neil Cross, the first series, comprising six one-hour long episodes, premiered on 4 ...more

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#155 of 804 The Best TV Shows To Binge Watch #297 of 383 The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years #308 of 571 TV Shows Canceled Before Their Time

5
Faulty Towers is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best BBC Television TV Shows
TracyLemaster added Faulty Towers
6
Line of Duty is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best BBC Television TV Shows
Line of Duty Keeley Hawes, Lennie James, Martin Compston

Premiered: 2012

Genres (Tv): Crime Fiction, Action/Adventure, Crime, Drama, Thriller, + more

Line of Duty is a British police drama, created by Jed Mercurio, which aired on BBC Two 26 June 2012. The first series was BBC Two's best-performing drama series in 10 years, with a consolidated ...more

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#560 of 804 The Best TV Shows To Binge Watch #337 of 391 TV Shows That Only Smart People Appreciate #28 of 100 The Best British Detective Series, Ranked

7
Blackadder is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best BBC Television TV Shows
BenNicholson added Rowan Atkinson, Brian Blessed, Elspet Gray

Premiered: 1983

Genres (Tv): Sitcom, Military, Period piece, Comedy

Blackadder is the name that encompasses four series of a BBC 1 period British sitcom, along with several one-off instalments. All television episodes starred Rowan Atkinson as the anti-hero ...more

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#377 of 804 The Best TV Shows To Binge Watch #3 of 152 The Best British Sitcoms of All Time #120 of 303 The Greatest Sitcoms in Television History

8
Top Gear is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best BBC Television TV Shows
peter.glover1 added Richard Hammond, Jeremy Clarkson, James May

Premiered: 2002

Genres (Tv): Entertainment, Special Interest, Television comedy, Talk show, Automotive, + more

Top Gear is a British television series about motor vehicles, primarily cars, and is the most widely watched factual television programme in the world. It began in 1977 as a conventional ...more

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#221 of 804 The Best TV Shows To Binge Watch #131 of 383 The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years #396 of 590 The Best TV Theme Songs of All Time

9
Monty Python's Flying Ci... is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best BBC Television TV Shows
Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam

Premiered: 1969

Genres (Tv): Sketch comedy, Satire, Comedy

Monty Python’s Flying Circus is a British sketch comedy series commissioned by David Attenborough, created by the comedy group Monty Python and broadcast by the BBC from 1969 to 1974. The shows ...more

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#212 of 804 The Best TV Shows To Binge Watch #66 of 147 The Greatest TV Title Sequences Ever #43 of 391 TV Shows That Only Smart People Appreciate

10
Fleabag is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best BBC Television TV Shows
Fleabag Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Hugh Skinner, Sian Clifford

Premiered: 2016

Genres (Tv): Comedy

Fleabag (BBC Three, 2016) is a British comedy series created by Phoebe Waller-Bridge, based on her 2013 one-woman show. A young woman (Waller-Bridge) tries to cope with life in London while ...more

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The Most Tragically Funny Quotes From 'Fleabag' #402 of 804 The Best TV Shows To Binge Watch #199 of 391 TV Shows That Only Smart People Appreciate

11
The Fall is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best BBC Television TV Shows
Gillian Anderson, Jamie Dornan, John Lynch

Premiered: 2013

Genres (Tv): Crime drama, Thriller

The Fall (BBC Two, 2013) is a British-Irish crime drama television series created by Allan Cubitt. Metropolitan Police Superintendent Stella Gibson (Gillian Anderson) sets out to capture a ...more

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#204 of 804 The Best TV Shows To Binge Watch #193 of 391 TV Shows That Only Smart People Appreciate #37 of 100 The Best British Detective Series, Ranked

12
Torchwood is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best BBC Television TV Shows
HenriqueCésarMadeira added John Barrowman, Eve Myles, Kai Owen

Premiered: 2006

Genres (Tv): Action/Adventure, Crime, Drama, Adventure film, Action, + more

Torchwood is a British science fiction television programme created by Russell T Davies. A spin-off from the 2005 revival of long-running science fiction programme Doctor Who, Torchwood aired ...more

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#242 of 804 The Best TV Shows To Binge Watch #25 of 344 The Best Sci-Fi Television Series Of All Time #271 of 383 The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years

13
Killing Eve is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best BBC Television TV Shows
Sandra Oh, Jodie Comer, Fiona Shaw

Premiered: 2018

Genres (Tv): Drama

Killing Eve (BBC America, 2018) is a British drama television series developed by Phoebe Waller-Bridge, based on the novels by Luke Jennings. Eve Polastri (Sandra Oh), a desk-bound MI5 Officer, ...more

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The Best Characters On 'Killing Eve', Ranked #239 of 804 The Best TV Shows To Binge Watch #177 of 383 The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years

14
The Great British Bake O... is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best BBC Television TV Shows
peter.glover1 added Sue Perkins, Mel Giedroyc

Premiered: 2010

Genres (Tv): Special Interest, Game show, Cooking show, Home improvement

The Great British Bake Off (also called Bake Off or GBBO) is a British television baking competition, produced by Love Productions, in which a group of amateur bakers compete against each other ...more

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Behind-The-Scenes Stories From 'The Great British Bake Off' To Make You Love It Even More #366 of 804 The Best TV Shows To Binge Watch #36 of 151 The Best Reality Competition Series

15
The Office is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best BBC Television TV Shows
Ricky Gervais, Martin Freeman, Mackenzie Crook

Premiered: 2001

Genres (Tv): Sitcom, Mockumentary, Satire, Drama, Comedy

The Office (BBC Two, 2001) is a British television mockumentary sitcom created, written, and directed by Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant. The series follows the day-to-day lives of office ...more

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#269 of 804 The Best TV Shows To Binge Watch #23 of 152 The Best British Sitcoms of All Time #78 of 303 The Greatest Sitcoms in Television History

16
Shaun the Sheep is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best BBC Television TV Shows
peter.glover1 added John Sparkes, Justin Fletcher, Richard Webber

Premiered: 2007

Genres (Tv): Animation, Children's television series, Comedy

Shaun the Sheep is a British stop-motion animated television series, a spin-off of the Wallace and Gromit franchise. The series stars Shaun, a sheep previously featured in the 1995 short film A ...more

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#188 of 371 The Best Kids Cartoons of All Time #209 of 727 The Best Cartoons of All Time #361 of 383 The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years

17
Death in Paradise is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best BBC Television TV Shows
peter.glover1 added Kris Marshall, Danny John-Jules, Ben Miller

Premiered: 2011

Genres (Tv): Action/Adventure, Drama, Adventure film, Action

Death in Paradise (BBC One, 2011) is a British-French crime drama television series created by Robert Thorogood. After investigating the murder of a police officer on a Caribbean island, British ...more

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#627 of 804 The Best TV Shows To Binge Watch #349 of 391 TV Shows That Only Smart People Appreciate #18 of 100 The Best British Detective Series, Ranked

18
The Vicar of Dibley is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best BBC Television TV Shows
Dawn French, Liz Smith, Emma Chambers

Premiered: 1994

Genres (Tv): Sitcom, Comedy

The Vicar of Dibley is a BBC television situation comedy created by Richard Curtis and written for actress, Dawn French, by Curtis and Paul Mayhew-Archer, with contributions from Kit ...more

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#6 of 152 The Best British Sitcoms of All Time #250 of 303 The Greatest Sitcoms in Television History #77 of 290 The Best Female-Led TV Shows

19
Father Brown is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best BBC Television TV Shows

Premiered: 2013

Genres (Tv): Costume drama, Detective fiction

Father Brown is a British television period drama which began airing on BBC One on 14 January 2013. It features Mark Williams as the eponymous crime-solving Roman Catholic priest. The series is ...more

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#725 of 804 The Best TV Shows To Binge Watch #317 of 391 TV Shows That Only Smart People Appreciate #2 of 100 The Best British Detective Series, Ranked

20
Only Fools and Horses is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best BBC Television TV Shows
bigcraig added David Jason, Roger Lloyd-Pack, Paul Barber

Premiered: 1981

Genres (Tv): Sitcom, Comedy

Only Fools and Horses is a British television situation comedy created and written by John Sullivan. Seven series were originally broadcast on BBC One in the United Kingdom from 1981 to 1991, ...more

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#2 of 152 The Best British Sitcoms of All Time #258 of 303 The Greatest Sitcoms in Television History #312 of 391 TV Shows That Only Smart People Appreciate

21
Red Dwarf is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best BBC Television TV Shows
Chris Barrie, Craig Charles, Danny John-Jules

Premiered: 1988

Genres (Tv): Sitcom, Comedy, Science Fiction

Red Dwarf is a British comedy franchise which primarily comprises ten series of a television science fiction sitcom that aired on BBC Two between 1988 and 1993 and from 1997 to 1999, and on Dave ...more

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#283 of 804 The Best TV Shows To Binge Watch #24 of 344 The Best Sci-Fi Television Series Of All Time #14 of 152 The Best British Sitcoms of All Time

22
Keeping Up Appearances ... is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best BBC Television TV Shows
Patricia Routledge, Geoffrey Hughes, Clive Swift

Premiered: 1990

Genres (Tv): Sitcom, Comedy

Keeping Up Appearances is a BBC television sitcom created and written by Roy Clarke for the BBC, centred on the life of eccentric social climber Hyacinth Bucket, who insists that her surname is ...more

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#557 of 804 The Best TV Shows To Binge Watch #10 of 152 The Best British Sitcoms of All Time #183 of 303 The Greatest Sitcoms in Television History

23
Blackadder Goes Forth is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best BBC Television TV Shows
Rowan Atkinson, Tony Robinson, Stephen Fry

Premiered: 1989-09-28

Genres (Tv): Comedy, History, Period piece, War

Blackadder Goes Forth is the fourth and final series of the BBC sitcom Blackadder, written by Richard Curtis and Ben Elton, which aired from 28 September to 2 November 1989 on BBC One. The ...more
24
Spooks is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best BBC Television TV Shows
peter.glover1 added Richard Armitage, David Oyelowo, Lara Pulver

Premiered: 2002

Genres (Tv): Espionage, Action/Adventure, Spy film, Drama, Thriller, + more

Spooks is a British television drama series that originally aired on BBC One from 13 May 2002 to 23 October 2011, consisting of 10 series. The title is a popular colloquialism for spies, and the ...more

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#499 of 590 The Best TV Theme Songs of All Time #11 of 70 The Best Ever Spy TV Shows #5 of 99 The Best Espionage TV Shows

25
The Sarah Jane Adventure... is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best BBC Television TV Shows
peter.glover1 added Elisabeth Sladen, Daniel Anthony, Alexander Armstrong

Premiered: 2007

Genres (Tv): Teen drama, Action/Adventure, Drama, Children's television series, Adventure film, + more

The Sarah Jane Adventures is a British science fiction television programme, that was produced by BBC Cymru Wales for CBBC, created by Russell T Davies starring Elisabeth Sladen. The programme ...more

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#636 of 804 The Best TV Shows To Binge Watch #165 of 344 The Best Sci-Fi Television Series Of All Time #392 of 422 The Best TV Shows to Rewatch