The BEST BBC Shows

The top 12 shows on BBC

Around the World in 80 Days with Michael Palin

#1 - Around the World in 80 Days with Michael Palin

Michael Palin: Around the World in 80 Days is a BBC television series presented by comedian and actor Michael Palin documenting his eighty-day trip around the world. Palin was to not use any form of travel that was not around during Jules Verne's book, Around the World in 80 Days in 1873; most importantly, he was to use no aircraft. He followed Phileas Fogg's route as closely as possible during the series. However, Palin encountered several setbacks that Fogg did not, partly due to traveling with a five person camera crew, his Passepartout.

star 9.29
215 votes
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Life in Cold Blood

#2 - Life in Cold Blood

A study of the evolution and habits of amphibians and reptiles, it is the sixth and last of Attenborough's specialised surveys following his major trilogy that began with Life on Earth.

star 9.12
176 votes
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The Private Life of Plants

#3 - The Private Life of Plants

Without plants, there would be no food, no animals of any sort, no life on earth at all. Yet for most of the time their lives remain a secret to us, hidden, private events.The reason is merely a difference of time. Plants live on a different time-scale from ours. Though not obviously to the naked eye, they are constantly on the move: developing, fighting, avoiding or exploiting predators or neighbours, struggling to find food, to increase their territories, to reproduce themselves, to find and hold a place in the sun. We only need to learn to look.

star 8.92
247 votes
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Downton Abbey

#4 - Downton Abbey

Downton Abbey depicts the lives of the aristocratic Crawley family and their servants in the post-Edwardian era—with great events in history having an effect on their lives and on the British social hierarchy.

star 8.66
12,995 votes
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Pole to Pole with Michael Palin

#5 - Pole to Pole with Michael Palin

In Pole to Pole, Michael Palin follows the success of his original global trek, Around the World in 80 Days, with a race against time to get from the North Pole to the South Pole. Palin balks at nothing, tries just about anything and always finds time for a spot of tea. En route Palin stars in a crayfish documentary in Novgorod, attends a baby-rolling ceremony at a Cypriot wedding, gets stuck in a Nile traffic jam, buys chicken in Wadi Halfa, goes camel shopping in Khartoum and is prescribed tree bark by a Mpulugu witch doctor to get rid of his evil shadow. Even when things go according to plan, Palin travels in unusual ways--by dogsled on Spitsbergen, barge down the Dnieper, train roof across the Nubian Desert, van through the Sudan, hot-air balloon over Kenya and down Lake Tanganyika on the "African Queen". With curiosity, courage and his standard aplomb, Palin plunges himself into the local cultures, beating himself with birch branches in a Finnish sauna and wallowing in mud in an Odessa sanatorium. It all makes for an armchair traveller's delight.

star 8.65
120 votes
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North & South

#6 - North & South

When her father moves his family to an industrial mill town, the parson's daughter, Margaret Hale, struggles to adapt to her harsh new surroundings. As the daughter of a middle-class parson, Margaret Hale has enjoyed a privileged upbringing in rural southern England. When her father uproots the family to take work in the northern mill town of Milton, Margaret is shocked by the dirt, the noise and the gruffness of the people, but she reserves her highest contempt for the charismatic mill-owner John Thornton.

star 8.49
812 votes
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The Day the Universe Changed

#7 - The Day the Universe Changed

The Day the Universe Changed (the 10-part series) is one of the best teaching tools available today for making students aware of the great ebb and flow of ideas that have gone into the development of Western thought. Host James Burke gives a stunning overview of this evolution of thought since the days of the Greeks in this ten-part series co-produced by BBC-TV and RKO Pictures.

star 8.35
219 votes
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7 Ages of Rock

#8 - 7 Ages of Rock

A definitive landmark series charting the emergence and re-emergence of rock music as a global force, told through the musicians who have shaped this most enduring of genres.

star 8.14
189 votes
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Jane Eyre (1983)

#9 - Jane Eyre (1983)

After living a miserable life with her aunt, orphaned Jane Eyre is sent to Lowood, a residential school for children of limited means. Jane takes the advice of her friend and over many years takes her studies seriously, eventually advertising for a position as a governess. She obtains a position in the home of Edward Rochester, where his ward, Adele, has recently come to live. She soon realizes that there is something odd in the house and she regularly sees shadowy figures in windows or hears voices. No one will admit to their being anyone else in the house, however. As she and her new employers develop a deep affection for one another, the secret of the Rochester household threatens to keep them apart.

star 7.87
70 votes
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The Virgin Queen

#10 - The Virgin Queen

Anne-Marie Duff plays Elizabeth, from the young princess to the successful Queen, who turns England into a major world powerSet against a backdrop of some of Britain's most beautiful houses and landscapes, Paula Milne's powerfully-authored drama serial, The Virgin Queen, explores the full sweep of the long and eventful life of England's iconic queen - from her days of fear as a potential victim of her sister's terror; through her great love affair with Robert Dudley; into her years of triumph over the Armada; and finally her old age and her last enigmatic relationship with her young protégé, the Earl of Essex.

star 7.46
135 votes
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The Two Ronnies

#11 - The Two Ronnies

The Two Ronnies is a show which gripped the funnybones of the UK for years, and which has also proved a big hit across the seas. Starring ever shrinking Ronnie Corbett, who recently admitted sex manuals have helped his love life (he stands on them) and Ronnie Barker, owner of the Guinness world record for least number of people fitted into a telephone booth. The Two Ronnies has long established its claim as one of the most successful British comedy shows of them all; safe, yes, but often very funny and of vast majority appeal.

star 6.96
183 votes
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BBC Documentaries

#12 - BBC Documentaries

Documentaries produced by or for the BBC.

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