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Best British TV

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In reply to an earlier post on 14 Sep 2009 07:46:04 BDT
Last edited by the author on 14 Sep 2009 08:01:07 BDT
Miss Bloggs says:
Hi J. Warner,

I'm also in Australia and may be able to help you with North Square - maybe some swapping?

Catch me at


Posted on 14 Sep 2009 06:51:55 BDT
Ms J. Warner says:
I have a huge collection of British TV DVDs - more than 500 of them! It is hard to single out favourites - most I have watched time and time again and still enjoy enormously. I believe British TV murder mysteries, drama and costume drama, comedy and documentaries are real winners - and in fact world leaders - for the following reasons.
1. You have a wonderful pool of world-class actors/actresses who aren't selected by directors for their youth, looks or teen-appeal but for their ability to create characters you care about and believe in. (Think Cracker, Pie in the Sky, Poirot, Bob and Rose, Prime Suspect, Inspector Morse, Lewis, Foyle's War, Crocodile Shoes, Auf Wiedersehen Pet, etc.)
2. You have scriptwriters with the imagination and skill to create interesting characters, give them a voice and story to tell, and create a world for them to inhabit - and many also have the ability to adapt the printed word for the screen. (Think The Life and Loves of a She-Devil, Summer's Lease, Shooting the Past, Perfect Strangers, State of Play, Holding On, The Long Firm, Edge of Darkness, Pennies from Heaven, The Singing Detective, The Crow Road, Bleak House, I Claudius, Prime Suspect, Brideshead Revisited, Cadfael, The Forsyte Saga, Blackpool, etc.)
3. You give your audience credit for having some intelligence and (mostly) don't dumb everything down. (Think Our Friends in the North, G.B.H., A Very British Coup, House of Cards, Smiley's People, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, When the Boat Comes In, Elizabeth R, Criminal Justice, as well as all those other wonderful shows mentioned here.)
4. You are social commentators as well as entertainers (Think Cambridge Spies, The Duchess of Duke Street, Edward VII, Lillie, Mosley, Traffik, Rhodes, This Life, Boys from the Blackstuff, City of Vice, A Harlot's Progress, The Lost Prince, Capital City, Life on Mars, Fingersmith, Tipping the Velvet, Upstairs Downstairs, House of Eliott, The Jewel in the Crown, Judge John Deed, Kavanagh QC, New Street Law, North Square [they need to bring this last one out on DVD], etc)
5. You have a rich and colourful history and some of the most beautiful countryside and country homes - which are frequently represented. (Think Charles II, North and South, The Barchester Chronicles, Middlemarch, Pride & Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility, Persuasion, Tess of the D'Urbervilles, Wuthering Heights, Jane Eyre, Larkrise to Candleford, Elizabeth I, All Creatures Great and Small, Midsomer Murders, etc.)
6. Your comedy is unparallelled (Only Fools and Horses, Yes Minister/Yes Prime Minister, The Vicar of Dibley, Blackadder, Absolutely Fabulous, Fawlty Towers, To the Manor Born, Hamish McBeth, Ballykissangel, Cold Feet, Drop the Dead Donkey, The Likely Lads, The Good Life, Jeeves & Wooster, Mr Bean, Hancock's Half Hour, Dad's Army, The Young Ones, Red Dwarf, Blott on the Landscape, and the list goes on and on....)
7. You have David Attenborough, Michael Palin, Sister Wendy Beckett, Simon Schama and David Dimbleby as well as the producers of Grand Designs, Coast, Who Do You Think You Are?, Two Fat Ladies, Francesco Da Mosto's Mediterranean, Italy from Top to Toe, and Venice, Brian Sewell's Grand Tour, Dan Cruikshank's Adventures in Architecture, The Victorian Garden Series, and many other entertaining and illuminating documentaries.
8. You produce some wonderful "feel good" shows that leave you feeling uplifted (Kingdom, The Darling Buds of May, Cranford, All the Small Things, Last Choir Standing, Flint Street Nativity, The Choir, Last Night at the Proms, Songs of Praise, etc), and, last but not least....
9. You know how to intrigue and thrill us. (Think Spooks, Wire in the Blood, Waking the Dead, Trial & Retribution, Messiah, Cold Blood, Rebus, McCallum, Ultraviolet, Jekyll, Touching Evil, Between the Lines, Cape Wrath, Apparitions, Afterlife, Dalziel & Pascoe, Wycliffe, Miss Marple, etc).

I do have a handful of US titles (no collection would be complete without Band of Brothers and Rome which I understand to be joint productions), plus I have a smattering of Scandanavian titles (Unit 1, The Eagle and Kurt Wallander - all exceptional police procedural series), and some Australian (including The Dunera Boys, Bodyline, Underbelly, East West 101, Blue Murder, Correlli - Hugh Jackman's first leading role and the series where he met his wife!).

But for me Brit TV reigns supreme - so I continue to buy British DVDs as free-to-air TV in Australia contentrates on soaps, quiz shows, sports, teleshopping, and local reality TV - bolstered by American sit-coms, police shows and stupefying reality programs made for an audience with a median age of 13 and the attention span of a gnat. Thank God for our ABC and SBS both of which produce some excellent local programs (although not nearly enough of them) - they seem to be the only channels that show British and European (respectively) in prime time. The commercial channels did take up more British TV when the US scriptwriters were on strike and I'm inclined to wish they would strike again! So as much as many of you complain about the declining standards of British TV, it is still a hell of a lot better than most......

Posted on 12 Sep 2009 04:17:03 BDT
Djinga says:
lol. nothing

Posted on 11 Sep 2009 19:19:07 BDT
Only Fools and Horses without a doubt! Open All Hours also...


Posted on 11 Sep 2009 14:22:57 BDT
victor says:
Watching both series of Secret Diary of a call girl at the moment,Blackadder goes forth and Doctor Who

Posted on 11 Sep 2009 14:20:30 BDT
[Deleted by the author on 11 Sep 2009 14:23:22 BDT]

Posted on 11 Sep 2009 11:16:33 BDT
Watching the 'Crow Road' from 1995 on BBC4 at the moment! this is an excellent, weird Iam Banks story which hasn't dated at all!

Posted on 11 Sep 2009 11:15:32 BDT
S. Rognes says:
Waterloo Road : Complete BBC Series 1 [2006] [DVD], Cold Feet - The Complete Collection of ColdFeet [DVD]

Blackadder, Monthy Python's Flying circus, Smith & Jones, Black books, Coupling, The Fast Show

Initial post: 11 Sep 2009 10:15:45 BDT
victor says:
Name your best British TV programs and why?
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Discussion in:  drama discussion forum
Participants:  7
Total posts:  9
Initial post:  11 Sep 2009
Latest post:  14 Sep 2009

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