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The Very Best British Procedurals, Ranked 

Ranker TV
Updated September 25, 2019 2.4k votes 474 voters 20.1k views 32 items

List Rules Vote up your favorite British procedurals, no matter when they aired.

 

Drama is injected throughout every single step of the crime solving process on the best British procedurals. The top British procedurals take viewers on a mysterious adventure from the moment a crime is committed to the high-stakes trial. This is a list of the greatest British procedural shows, including everything from Midsomer Murders to Heartbeat to Waking the Dead.

What series will you find on this list of the best English procedurals? Each episode of Agatha Christie's Poirot is based on a novel or short story by the beloved author. David Suchet starred as the title character throughout the show's 13 series run from 1989-2002. Inspector Morse is another popular British procedural show. The detectives of Death in Paradise are charged with solving crimes in an idealistic setting. Other good British procedural shows featured on this list include Sherlock, Prime Suspect, and Taggart.

Do you have a favorite British procedural TV show? Give the best series a thumbs up and get in on the conversation in the comments section.

 

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1
Sherlock is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Very Best British Procedurals, Ranked
Benedict Cumberbatch, Martin Freeman, Una Stubbs

Premiered: 2010

Number of Seasons: 3

Number of Episodes: 8

Network: British Broadcasting Corporation

Sherlock is a British television crime drama that presents a contemporary adaptation of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes detective stories. Created by Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss, it ...more

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2
Midsomer Murders is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Very Best British Procedurals, Ranked
Suzi Quatro, John Nettles, Neil Dudgeon

Premiered: 1997

Number of Seasons: 13

Number of Episodes: 95

Network: ITV, UTV, STV, ITV, Sveriges Television, + more

This is a British television detective drama that has aired on ITV since 1997. The show is based on Caroline Graham's Chief Inspector Barnaby book series, as originally adapted by Anthony ...more

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#272 of 396 TV Shows That Only Smart People Appreciate #2 of 39 The Best Original Series On Acorn TV

3
Prime Suspect is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Very Best British Procedurals, Ranked
Helen Mirren, Zoë Wanamaker, Tom Bell

Premiered: 1991

Number of Episodes: 15

Network: Public Broadcasting Service

Prime Suspect is a British police procedural television drama series starring Helen Mirren as Detective Chief Inspector Jane Tennison, one of the first female Detective Chief Inspectors in ...more

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4
Inspector Morse is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Very Best British Procedurals, Ranked
John Thaw, Peter Woodthorpe, Kevin Whately

Premiered: 1987

Number of Episodes: 33

Network: ITV

Inspector Morse is a British detective drama television series based on a series of novels by Colin Dexter. It starred John Thaw as Chief Inspector Morse and Kevin Whately as Sergeant Lewis. The ...more

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#598 of 2,298 The Greatest TV Shows Of All Time #96 of 123 The Best Serial Cop Dramas of All Time

5
Broadchurch is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Very Best British Procedurals, Ranked
David Tennant, Olivia Colman, Jodie Whittaker

Premiered: 2013

Number of Seasons: 1

Number of Episodes: 8

Network: ITV, UTV, STV

Broadchurch is a British television drama broadcast on ITV. It was created and written by Chris Chibnall and produced by Kudos Film and Television, Shine America, and Imaginary Friends. The ...more

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#166 of 779 The Best TV Shows to Binge Watch #1,030 of 2,298 The Greatest TV Shows Of All Time

6
Agatha Christie's Poirot... is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Very Best British Procedurals, Ranked
David Suchet, Hugh Fraser, Philip Jackson

Premiered: 1989

Number of Seasons: 12

Number of Episodes: 62

Network: ITV, UTV, STV, ITV

Agatha Christie's Poirot is a British television drama that aired on ITV from 8 January 1989 to 13 November 2013. David Suchet stars as the eponymous detective, Agatha Christie's fictional ...more

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#219 of 396 TV Shows That Only Smart People Appreciate #251 of 2,298 The Greatest TV Shows Of All Time #20 of 39 The Best Original Series On Acorn TV

7
The Bletchley Circle is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Very Best British Procedurals, Ranked
Rachael Stirling, Julie Graham, Sophie Rundle

Number of Episodes: 7

Network: ITV, UTV, STV

The Bletchley Circle is a television mystery drama miniseries, set in 1952–53, about four women who used to work as codebreakers at Bletchley Park. Dissatisfied with official failure to ...more

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8
Shetland is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Very Best British Procedurals, Ranked

Premiered: 2013

Number of Episodes: 2

Shetland is a BBC Scotland crime drama television series starring Douglas Henshall as Detective Inspector Jimmy Perez. The story takes place on the Scottish archipelago of Shetland, though much ...more

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#316 of 396 TV Shows That Only Smart People Appreciate #4 of 41 The Very Best British Crime Dramas, Ranked

9
Inspector Lewis is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Very Best British Procedurals, Ranked
Eric Thomas added Kevin Whately, Laurence Fox, Clare Holman

Premiered: 2006

Number of Seasons: 4

Number of Episodes: 15

Network: ITV Granada, ITV, UTV, STV, ITV, + more

Lewis is a British television detective drama produced for ITV. A spin-off from Inspector Morse, like that series it is set in Oxford. Kevin Whately reprises his character Robert ...more

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#316 of 396 TV Shows That Only Smart People Appreciate #14 of 97 The Best British Detective Series, Ranked

10
Foyle's War is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Very Best British Procedurals, Ranked
Michael Kitchen, Honeysuckle Weeks, Anthony Howell

Premiered: 2002

Number of Episodes: 25

Network: ITV

This series is a British detective drama television series set during and shortly after WWII, created by screenwriter and author Anthony Horowitz and commissioned by ITV after the long-running ...more

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#1,622 of 2,298 The Greatest TV Shows Of All Time #1 of 39 The Best Original Series On Acorn TV #7 of 97 The Best British Detective Series, Ranked

11
The Fall is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Very Best British Procedurals, Ranked
Gillian Anderson, Jamie Dornan, John Lynch

Premiered: 2013

Number of Seasons: 1

Number of Episodes: 5

The Fall is a BBC drama television series set in Northern Ireland and created, written and, in its second series, directed by Allan Cubitt. The series stars Gillian Anderson as Superintendent ...more

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#67 of 396 TV Shows That Only Smart People Appreciate #41 of 97 The Best British Detective Series, Ranked

12
Luther is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Very Best British Procedurals, Ranked
Idris Elba, Warren Brown, Dermot Crowley

Premiered: 2010

Number of Seasons: 1

Number of Episodes: 14

Network: BBC One, BBC HD

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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13
Grantchester is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Very Best British Procedurals, Ranked
James Norton, Robson Green, Morven Christie

Premiered: 2014

Grantchester is a British ITV detective drama, set in the 1950s Cambridgeshire village of the same name. The show features Anglican vicar Sidney Chambers (James Norton), who develops a sideline ...more

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#337 of 396 TV Shows That Only Smart People Appreciate #5 of 97 The Best British Detective Series, Ranked #11 of 41 The Very Best British Crime Dramas, Ranked

14
DCI Banks is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Very Best British Procedurals, Ranked
Stephen Tompkinson, Jack Deam, Andrea Lowe

Premiered: 2010

Number of Episodes: 14

Network: ITV

DCI Banks is a British crime drama series produced by Left Bank Pictures for the ITV network. The series is based on Peter Robinson's Inspector Alan Banks novels and stars Stephen Tompkinson as ...more

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#12 of 97 The Best British Detective Series, Ranked #18 of 41 The Very Best British Crime Dramas, Ranked

15
Death in Paradise is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Very Best British Procedurals, Ranked
Kris Marshall, Danny John-Jules, Ben Miller

Premiered: 2011

Number of Seasons: 1

Number of Episodes: 16

Network: BBC One

This film is a British-French lighthearted drama television series created by Robert Thorogood, initially starring Ben Miller and Sara Martins, and later starring Kris Marshall and ...more

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#239 of 396 TV Shows That Only Smart People Appreciate #17 of 41 The Very Best British Crime Dramas, Ranked

16
Marcella is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Very Best British Procedurals, Ranked
Anna Friel, Nicholas Pinnock, Ray Panthaki

Premiered: 2016

Marcella is a British crime noir detective series produced, written and directed by Hans Rosenfeldt. Former London detective Marcella Backland is devastated when her husband leaves her and their ...more
17
Line of Duty is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Very Best British Procedurals, Ranked
Line of Duty Keeley Hawes, Lennie James, Martin Compston

Premiered: 2012

Number of Seasons: 1

Number of Episodes: 5

Network: British Broadcasting Corporation

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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18
Cracker is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Very Best British Procedurals, Ranked
Robbie Coltrane, Geraldine Somerville, Kieran O'Brien

Premiered: 1993

Number of Episodes: 25

Network: ITV, UTV, STV, ITV

Cracker is a British drama series produced by Granada Television for ITV and created and principally written by Jimmy McGovern. Set in Manchester, the series is centered on a psychologist, Dr ...more

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#781 of 2,298 The Greatest TV Shows Of All Time #44 of 97 The Best British Detective Series, Ranked

19
Wire in the Blood is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Very Best British Procedurals, Ranked
Eric Thomas added Robson Green, Simone Lahbib, Hermione Norris

Premiered: 2002

Number of Episodes: 24

Network: ITV

Wire in the Blood is a British crime drama television series, created and produced by Coastal Productions for the ITV network, that ran from 2002 to 2008. The series is based on characters ...more

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#356 of 396 TV Shows That Only Smart People Appreciate #33 of 97 The Best British Detective Series, Ranked #107 of 123 The Best Serial Cop Dramas of All Time

20
Silent Witness is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Very Best British Procedurals, Ranked
Eric Thomas added Emilia Fox, William Gaminara, Tom Ward

Premiered: 1996

Number of Seasons: 13

Number of Episodes: 91

Network: British Broadcasting Corporation, BBC One

Silent Witness is a British drama series, produced by the BBC, focusing on a team of forensic pathology experts and their investigations. First broadcast in 1996, and still on air, the series ...more

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#1,764 of 2,298 The Greatest TV Shows Of All Time #21 of 41 The Very Best British Crime Dramas, Ranked

21
Waking the Dead is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Very Best British Procedurals, Ranked
Trevor Eve, Sue Johnston, Wil Johnson

Premiered: 2000

Number of Episodes: 92

Network: British Broadcasting Corporation, BBC One

This series is a British television police procedural drama series produced by the BBC featuring a fictional Cold Case unit composed of CID police officers, a psychological profiler and a ...more

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#455 of 779 The Best TV Shows to Binge Watch #37 of 41 The Very Best British Crime Dramas, Ranked

22
Hamish Macbeth is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Very Best British Procedurals, Ranked
Hamish Macbeth Robert Carlyle, Shirley Henderson, Barbara Rafferty

Premiered: 1995

Number of Episodes: 20

Network: BBC One

Hamish Macbeth is a comedy-drama series made by BBC Scotland and first aired in 1995. It is loosely based on a series of mystery novels by M. C. Beaton. The series concerns a local police ...more

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#2,078 of 2,298 The Greatest TV Shows Of All Time #40 of 97 The Best British Detective Series, Ranked

23
Z-Cars is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Very Best British Procedurals, Ranked
Stratford Johns, Geoffrey Hayes, Jeremy Kemp

Premiered: 1962

Number of Episodes: 667

Network: British Broadcasting Corporation

Z-Cars or Z Cars was a British television drama series centred on the work of mobile uniformed police in the fictional town of Newtown, based on Kirkby, Merseyside. Produced by the BBC, it ...more
24
Heartbeat is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Very Best British Procedurals, Ranked
Sophie Ward, Peter Firth, Derek Fowlds

Premiered: 1992

Number of Seasons: 18

Number of Episodes: 372

Network: ITV, UTV, STV, ITV

Heartbeat is a British police drama series set in 1960s North Riding of Yorkshire and broadcast on ITV in 18 series between 1992 and 2010. It was made by ITV Studios at the Leeds Studios and on ...more
25
Juliet Bravo is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Very Best British Procedurals, Ranked
David Ellison, Noel Collins, Stephanie Turner

Premiered: 1980

Number of Episodes: 88

Network: British Broadcasting Corporation

Juliet Bravo is a British television series, which ran on BBC1 between 1980 and 1985. The theme of the series concerned a female police inspector who took over control of a police station in the ...more