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Top 5 British TV dramas

Date updated by thetvking on 2013-04-21 15:49:37

It’s a common scenario in the homes of the average Brit – rain is heavily pounding the windows (again) but there’s nothing on telly apart from a Hollyoaks omnibus or a three hour documentary on the death of disco. The ideal setting for a duvet day, but nothing to feast your eyes on whilst demolishing that packet of chips and salsa dip, and after all, you didn’t buy that 3D telly for experiencing another domestic on Eastenders.

So here we have it, our top list of our favourite British dramas, from classic period series’ to 50 years of science fiction.

5. Doctor Who

Doctor Who

It wouldn’t be a list of top British dramas without the 50 iconic years of Doctor Who making its way into the mix. From the theme tune, to witty sci-fi gags to the Dalek’s cries of “Exterminate”, this British TV-icon has a massive global franchise with the ability to scare, enlighten and empathise with fans of all ages.

Despite uncertainties that come hand-in-hand with every change of the Doctor, the show has gone from strength to strength with every chop and change of showrunner and scriptwriter and with the current series celebrating 50 years of time and space travel, we’re in for an absolute treat.

4. Call the midwife

One of the newest dramas to hit TV screens all over the world, Call the Midwife has attracted viewers in their ten-millions per episode. With this post WWII East-End production airing on Sony television sets in New Zealand, USA and Australia as well as the UK, this is one media sensation not to be missed.

Although the setting isn’t the most glamorous, the wake of it has seen a 16% increase in midwifery applications in the UK. The storylines are engaging and heart-warming, although can often lead to a sob or two. Periodic issues of poverty and pregnancy outside of marriage often weave in and out of the heartfelt stories, offering the viewer insight and more than just sentiment.

3. The Thick of It

Set in the middle of British politics, The Thick of It is so sharp and witty that you’ll soon change your mind on your “politics is boring” opinion. With several episodes mirroring real political events and scandals, the show is acted on a mixture of brilliant script writing and actor improvisation. The show was also the birth of one of TV’s finest productions – Malcolm Tucker. A bitter, foul-mouthed and manipulative party whip who’s job it is to keep government members in check with party-policy.

With both a movie spin-off and an American remake that doesn’t butcher the original charm and hilarity of British comedy (think The Office, Inbetweeners…oh, what a mess they made!) this political satire is one to laze away the rainy days with.

2. Sherlock


The show that overshadowed Guy Ritchie’s recent series of films and brought Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman to the forefront of Hollywood, Sherlock is the perfect coming-together of modern London and Conan Doyle’s classic storylines. The pair of actors have fallen into their roles of Holmes and Watson with such enthusiasm and chemistry that you’d be forgiven for believing the running in-show joke of them being a couple.

Two fantastic series have already aired on the BBC, with a third currently in production. It can’t come soon enough in our opinion – the mix of modern Britain, Cumberbatch’s eclectic eccentricity and almost perfect story-writing makes for one addictive British drama not to be missed.

1. Downton Abbey

Downton Abbey

Julian Fellowes’ period drama took the world by storm as the Crawley family lived out their 1920s lives on our TV screens. Over three series’, the show has seen the family through some notable events in history – the sinking of the Titanic, the Irish revolution and particularly WWII and its aftermath.

This soon-to-be British classic is wonderfully written, expertly acted and extremely captivating and with an abundance of awards under its belt, it’s a wonder why the whole world hasn’t jumped on the Downton wagon yet.  

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