Over the years, television programming from the United Kingdom has gained a worldwide audience. In some countries, such as the United States, British TV shows are routinely shown on specific networks, such as the Public Broadcasting System. In other situations older series of British shows are sold into syndication on local channels around the globe. This has led to a situation where a number of UK based shows have endeared themselves to viewers everywhere, and earned the title of being among some of the top rated British TV shows of all time. Here are as few examples.
Without a doubt, one of the most popular British TV shows of all time is the science fiction classic, Dr. Who. Beginning in the early 1960’s, the show follows the exploits of the Time Lord, known simply as the Doctor, as he travels through time and space with a variety of sidekicks. Over the several decades that the show has aired, several actors have played the lead role. As each new Doctor appeared, the character would undergo a phenomenon known as a regeneration, effectively making the change a part of the story line.
When it comes to British comedy, few shows can claim the amount of acclaim garnered by Are You Being Served? This show, set in Grace Brothers department store, ran from the early 1970’s to the early 1980’s, and revolved around the antics of the men and women employed in the Men’s and Ladies’ Apparel departments. Even viewers today get a kick out of the double-entendres that were a staple of the each annual series, including references to Mrs. Slocum’s cat. While most of the cast members are no longer with us, the episodes continue to be shown around the world today.
Another worldwide favorite show from the United Kingdom is the long-running Last of the Summer Wine. The first series aired in the early 1970’s, and revolved around the interaction of three retired friends. Over the years, the cast would change, including the three principle characters. At present, the show is still in production after thirty-five years, and may continue to last for many years to come.
Coronation Street is another example of a long running British show that has earned fans all over the world. Nearing its fiftieth year of production, this UK soap opera, has addressed all sorts of issues over the years, including class wars, infidelities, social issues, and just about any other important issue of the day. Many of the best performers in Great Britain have appeared on the show over the years, and it remains an important cultural icon in England today.
Newer shows have also captured worldwide attention over the years. Some, like Vicar of Dibley and Keeping Up Appearances, were staples of UK television during the 1990’s and are now enjoyed exclusively in repeats. Others, such as the action thriller, MI-5, is still in production, with older episodes running in the United States, Canada, Australia, and many other countries. With such a rich legacy of entertainment, it is no wonder that people in many different countries and cultures continue to delight in the performances of British actors and actresses, and are likely to do so for many years to come.