Recently we brought you our list of the 10 British TV shows we thought you ought to be watching. By now you should have binged on most of those shows, so here’s 10 more.
10. The Inbetweeners (E4, 2008)
You may have seen the piss poor US adaptation of The Inbetweeners, but even with Taika Waititi behind the camera for around 50% of the episodes, that show sucked. The original UK version on the other hand, was genuinely funny, and truly encompassed the spirit of what it’s like to be a modern teenager in Britain. Subjects like male bonding, not getting beaten up at school, trying (and failing) to sleep with girls are all covered here, and despite being completely OTT, this British TV series feels totally authentic.
9. This Is England (Channel 4, 2010-2015)
Based on the film of the same name, This is England opted not to return to the cinemas and instead returned on the small screen with 3 separate British TV mini-series, each set in a different period of the 1980’s (’86, ’88, and ’90).
All the main cast return, older but perhaps not wiser, dealing with the many issues that come with entering adulthood. The mini-series were as funny and moving as the movie had been, but were also laced with truly powerful and dark dramatic moments that will leave you with knots in your stomach. If you thought Combo’s assault of Milky in the movie was harrowing, you’ve not seen anything yet.
8. The Great British Bake Off (BBC/Channel 4, 2010)
Come at me, bro! I don’t care what you say, The Great British Bake Off is the best thing on British TV right now. Although it was probably intended for your grandmother, it’s crossed age and gender boundaries and become essential viewing for every house in the whole of the UK, as well as people living all over the world too.
Seriously, it’s like crack for your eyes. And if you say differently, I’ll come round your house and smash your TV.
7. Friday Night Dinner (Channel 4, 2011)
Adam and Johnny Goodman are two adult brothers who return to their Jewish homestead each week for the titular mealtime, to witness the bizarre antics of their parents as much as to be fed.
Their mother Jackie (Tamsin Greig) is normal if not a little overbearing, but their father, played perfectly by Paul Ritter, is a walking caricature, seldom in clothes, completely bewildered, and as funny as he is cringe-worthy. There’s also creepy neighbor Mark Heap, who turns up at the door with his pet Alsatian, every week in the hopes that he can catch a glimpse of Jackie.
The themes are universal, but Friday Night Dinner is quintessentially British TV, and compulsive viewing for those that get chance to watch it.
6. The Mighty Boosh (BBC, 2004)
How do you describe a show like The Mighty Boosh to someone who hasn’t seen it? Laurel and Hardy on acid? Monty Python’s weird little brother? The Goodies gone wild?
I’m not sure you can sum up The Mighty Boosh in a short paragraph, so instead enjoy the clip above and hunt down copies of the TV show right now!
5. Sherlock (BBC, 2010)
I’m sure I’m preaching to the converted here, but no list of essential UK shows would be complete without the modern day spin on the Sherlock Holmes story.
4. The Last Train (ITV, 1999)
The Last Train was a six part, post-apocalyptic mini-series, which saw a small group of survivors traversing the wilds of Yorkshire, following an asteroid strike that has wiped out most of civilization.
The show has not been released on DVD, and has never aired outside of the UK, so hunting down a copy may be difficult. It’s worth the effort though. Britain doesn’t often do science fiction dramas, but when they do they are often incredibly innovative and The Last Train is among the very best.
3. Inside No. 9 (BBC, 2014)
From the twisted minds that brought us The League of Gentlemen, comes this creepy anthology series that focuses on stories that all center around a number 9 – be that a house number, room number or even a shoe size.
Inside No. 9 has been described as a modern-day Twilight Zone, and that sums it up perfectly. It’s one of those shows that sticks with you for days after watching it. So far, over 3 seasons and a Christmas special, we’ve witnessed 17th Century Witch trials, murders on a train, and even an entirely silent episode in which 2 burglars break into a house and try their very best not to disturb the resident.
2. Yonderland (Sky 1, 2013)
Bored suburban housewife Debbie Maddox (Martha Howe-Douglas), finds herself as an unintentional heroine, when a portal to a magical world opens up in her kitchen pantry.
Imagine if Terry Pratchett and Jim Henson got together to make a TV series. Yonderland would be that TV show.
1. Peep Show (Channel 4, 2003)
Taken at face value there’s nothing extraordinary about Channel 4’s hit sitcom Peep Show. That’s why I missed out on it for so many years. Then one day, with nothing else to watch, I delved right in and was hooked within a single episode.
It’s another flat share scenario, which is all too common in British comedy, but this is Bottom for the middle classes, and as such makes for some gut-wrenchingly funny and awkward moments.