The BEST BBC Two Shows

The top 50 shows on BBC Two

Madagascar

#1 - Madagascar

Over 80% of Madagascar's animals and plants are found nowhere else on Earth. Discover what made Madagascar so different from the rest of the world, and how evolution ran wild there.

star 9.62
403 votes
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The Trap: What Happened to Our Dream of Freedom

#2 - The Trap: What Happened to Our Dream of Freedom

The Trap: What Happened to Our Dream of Freedom is a BBC documentary series by British filmmaker Adam Curtis, well known for other documentaries including The Century of the Self and The Power of Nightmares. It began airing on BBC Two on 11 March 2007. The series consists of three, one-hour programs which explore the concept and definition of freedom, specifically "how a simplistic model of human beings as self-seeking, almost robotic, creatures led to today's idea of freedom." What does freedom actually mean today? This series of films by BAFTA-winning producer Adam Curtis argues that our freedom is a limited kind of freedom. It shows how a simplistic model of human beings as self-seeking, almost robotic, creatures led to today's idea of freedom. This model was apparently derived from techniques developed by nuclear strategists during the Cold War. Genetic biologists, anthropologists, radical psychiatrists and free market economists took it further until it became a new system of invisible control.

star 9.49
296 votes
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Life on Earth

#3 - Life on Earth

Life on Earth (1979) is an epic 13-programme series, presented by David Attenborough, offering a chronological account of the flora and fauna of planet Earth over a period of 3,500 million years. Whether recounting the first journey from the sea to the land, the development of insects and flowers, or "The First Forests" and "The Lords of the Air", Attenborough's enthusiasm is infectious. He guides us through The Infinite Variety of life from microbes to marsupials, via an unforgettable meeting with mountain gorillas, to conclude with The Compulsive Communicators, mankind itself. Three years in the making, involving 1.5 million miles of travel and featuring some of the most beautiful, breathtaking and ambitious photography then seen on television, Life on Earth was the first natural history blockbuster. It redefined TV by showing that an epic, serious wildlife documentary could be a massive success. As such, it remains a true television landmark and paved the way for further entries in what became known as his Life series.

star 9.43
245 votes
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Wild China

#4 - Wild China

Created in co-operation with China's own national broadcast service, Wild China examines the country's rarely documented range of wildlife. Take a look at some of China's most impressive natural sites such as the ancient Han kingdom, the Mongol steppes, the Silk Road and the Tibetan Plateau.

star 9.40
216 votes
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South Pacific

#5 - South Pacific

South Pacific is a British nature documentary series on the natural history of the South Pacific region, including many of the coral atolls and New Zealand. Both wildlife and human cultures developed in a unique variety, largely determined by such natural conditions as huge distances, sea depths, currents and winds.

star 9.40
548 votes
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Horizon

#6 - Horizon

Horizon is BBC Two's flagship 50-minute science documentary series. In September 2014 it celebrated its 50th anniversary and it continues to enjoy outstanding critical acclaim. Recognised as the world leader in its field, it regularly wins a sweep of international science, medical and environmental film accolades, and has recently won the Royal Television Society Award and the Prix Italia. In 2002, the British Academy of Film & Television Arts presented Horizon with the BAFTA Television Award for Best Factual Series or Strand. In 2003 it won the prestigious Images et Science award for best medical documentary and the Carl von Linne Award at the Living Europe film festival in Sweden. That year, a Horizon co-production with WGBH Boston won the Emmy for best documentary.

star 9.37
2,561 votes
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The Smell of Reeves and Mortimer

#7 - The Smell of Reeves and Mortimer

Possibly Vic and Bob's finest hour, The Smell Of Reeves And Mortimer displays the madcap duo at their most surreal, anarchic best with characters such as the bra-wearing men Pat Wright and Dave Arrowsmith; awful folk duo Mulligan and O'Hare and flatulent farceurs the Petomanes. Among the many other highlights were occasional visits from Slade, the 1970's glam-rock group, brilliantly imitated by Reeves, Mortimer, Paul Whitehouse and Mark Williams, plus hosts of other guests including Little Britain's Matt Lucas, Caroline Aherne, Charlie Higson and Sting.

star 9.28
211 votes
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Charlie Brooker's Screenwipe

#8 - Charlie Brooker's Screenwipe

Screenwipe is a television programme about television programmes; the cost, the surprising amount of work and bureaucracy involved, how programmes are selected for broadcast, and, usually scathing, analysis of specific programmes and genres. Brooker often pays particular attention to more obscure channels on satellite, freeview and cable, such as those dedicated to gambling, shopping, horoscopes, and pornography. He explores the probable effects of television in society, and how often programmes can create in the viewer feelings of inadequacy, depression, fear, and anxiety. To balance things, usually one segment of each show is dedicated to positive reviews, with analysis on why the style and content is so absorbing.

star 9.22
659 votes
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Yes Minister

#9 - Yes Minister

This is the story of the endless battles between the Government in the form of Jim Hacker, a brand new Cabinet Minister and the Civil Service of his department run by Sir Humphrey Appleby. Stuck in the middle of it all is civil servant Bernard Woolley.

star 9.21
920 votes
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Smiley's People

#10 - Smiley's People

Adaptation of John Le Carré's novel, following on from the previous BBC adaptation TINKER TAILOR SOLDIER SPY. George Smiley returns to the Game. A member of one of George Smiley's old networks seems to have caught on to something big. When he turns up dead the Circus asks George to tie up the loose ends with minimal fuss. But George Smiley does not like loose ends. Especially if they lead to the darkest recesses of the KGB - to Karla, the Sandman.

star 9.21
288 votes
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The Story of Science: Power, Proof and Passion

#11 - The Story of Science: Power, Proof and Passion

Michael Mosley takes an informative and ambitious journey exploring how the evolution of scientific understanding is intimately interwoven with society's historical path.

star 9.18
196 votes
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I, Claudius

#12 - I, Claudius

Based on Robert Graves' epic novels about the decline of Roman civilisation in the first century AD, this award-winning drama redefined the boundaries of television when it was broadcast in 1976. Jack Pulman's brilliant script conveys the unrelenting depravity during the reigns of the four Emperors who succeeded Julius Caesar: Augustus, Tiberius, Caligula, and Claudius. The star-studded cast includes Derek Jacobi as Claudius, John Hurt as Caligula and Brian Blessed as Augustus.

star 9.18
636 votes
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Yes, Prime Minister

#13 - Yes, Prime Minister

Yes, Prime Minister is the sequel to the popular British series Yes Minister. It aired from 1986 to 1988 and is the story of the continuing battles between Jim Hacker, who is now Prime Minister, and Sir Humphrey, who has been promoted to Cabinet Secretary.

star 9.17
768 votes
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Stewart Lee's Comedy Vehicle

#14 - Stewart Lee's Comedy Vehicle

The show marks the triumphant television return of one of the finest stand-ups working in Britain today, enthralling a live audience with his uniquely cynical and hilariously condescending take on the world around him. Each episode sees Stewart exploring a different theme in a stand-up routine, often illustrated with sketches featuring an ensemble cast. They are performed in a way that deconstructs comedy itself; literally a vehicle for Lee's idiosyncratic style. Starring alongside Stewart are: Tony Law, Tara Flynn, Paul Putner, Kevin Eldon, Miles Jupp, Simon Munnery, Job Angus and Michael Redmond. Peter Serafinowicz provides voiceovers.

star 9.12
412 votes
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Wonders of the Universe

#15 - Wonders of the Universe

Having taken on the Wonders Of The Solar System, Professor Brian Cox takes the next step – the laws of the Universe in Wonders Of The Universe. In another epic series, Brian visits some of the most dramatic parts of the globe to explain the fundamental principles that govern the laws of nature – light, gravity, energy, matter and time. With the world's most profound science at its heart, Wonders Of The Universe reveals how the story of humanity is intimately entwined with that of the complex story of the origins of the universe.

star 9.05
1,078 votes
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Stargazing Live

#16 - Stargazing Live

Professor Brian Cox and Dara O Briain host three nights of stargazing and discussion, live from Jodrell Bank. Featuring guest experts and link-ups to observatories around the world.

star 8.99
222 votes
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QI

#17 - QI

QI is a BBC panel show that both educates and entertains. QI Masters Stephen Fry [Seasons 1-13] and Sandi Toksvig [Season 14+] ask questions that are very difficult and award points for answers that are either Quite Interesting or correct. However, points are deducted for answers commonly thought to be correct but are in fact quite wrong. Four Bantermeisters, including permanent panelist Alan Davies, try their best to separate the fact from the fiction.

star 8.99
3,716 votes
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The Thick of It

#18 - The Thick of It

The Thick of It is a British comedy television series that satirises the inner workings of modern British government. It was first broadcast in 2005, initially with a small cast focussing on a government minister, his advisers and their spin-doctor. The cast was significantly expanded to coincide with Christmas and Gordon Brown's appointment as prime minister in 2007, which saw a number of new characters forming the opposition party. These characters continued for its third series in 2009, and the fourth and final series about a coalition government was broadcast in Autumn 2012.

star 8.98
1,619 votes
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Fawlty Towers

#19 - Fawlty Towers

Hotel owner Basil Fawlty's incompetence, short fuse, and arrogance form a combination that ensures accidents and trouble are never far away.

star 8.98
5,118 votes
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Human Universe

#20 - Human Universe

Professor Brian Cox asks the biggest questions we can ask. Are we alone? Why are we here? What is our future? Join him in a stunning celebration of human life as he explores our origins, our place and our destiny in the universe.

star 8.97
373 votes
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I'm Alan Partridge

#21 - I'm Alan Partridge

This classic BBC comedy comes courtesy of Steve Coogan. Alan is a fictional self-obsessed DJ who has had several TV jobs in the past (including chat show 'Knowing Me Knowing You') and has failed to bounce back from his long dead career. Each episode normally sees Alan resorting to embarrassing anecdotes, insulting someone without noticing and failing to revive his career.

star 8.89
895 votes
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The Century of the Self

#22 - The Century of the Self

Adam Curtis' acclaimed series examines the rise of the all-consuming self against the backdrop of the Freud dynasty. To many in both politics and business, the triumph of the self is the ultimate expression of democracy, where power has finally moved to the people. Certainly the people may feel they are in charge, but are they really? The Century of the Self tells the untold and sometimes controversial story of the growth of the mass-consumer society in Britain and the United States. How was the all-consuming self created, by whom, and in whose interests? The Freud dynasty is at the heart of this compelling social history. Sigmund Freud, founder of psychoanalysis; Edward Bernays, who invented public relations; Anna Freud, Sigmund's devoted daughter; and present-day PR guru and Sigmund's great grandson, Matthew Freud. Sigmund Freud's work into the bubbling and murky world of the subconscious changed the world. By introducing a technique to probe the unconscious mind, Freud provided useful tools for understanding the secret desires of the masses. Unwittingly, his work served as the precursor to a world full of political spin doctors, marketing moguls, and society's belief that the pursuit of satisfaction and happiness is man's ultimate goal.

star 8.89
236 votes
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Coupling

#23 - Coupling

On average, men and women think about sex every six seconds. Shorten that to every second, and you've got Coupling. This series centers around Susan and Steve (who are a couple), and Sally and Patrick join the gang as friends of Susan (and then Steve), while Steve pulls in his best friend Jeff and his crazy ex Jane.

star 8.88
3,283 votes
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Bottom

#24 - Bottom

Richard Richard & Edward Elizabeth Hitler, two men with no hope of fitting in with society. Adrian Edmondson and Rik Mayall take an anarchic look into the lives of these two friends who are forever commiting violence on each other. This series could be said to be a follow up, of a kind, to The Young Ones. Same stars and same attitude but the young ones are now heading into middle age. A successful series that spawned five live tours [and five videos of these shows] and a big screen film, Guest House Paradiso.

star 8.87
1,191 votes
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Red Dwarf

#25 - Red Dwarf

Three million years after the demise of humanity, third technician Dave Lister awakes aboard the mining ship Red Dwarf. Sentenced to a period of suspended animation for smuggling his pet cat on board, he is joined by just four fellow survivors: second technician Arnold J Rimmer, a sneering-yet-inept hologram based on his one-time superior; Holly, a ship's computer reduced to near-senility by eons adrift in space; a humanoid descendant of the cat obsessed with fashion and fish; and Kryten, a salvaged android programmed to serve his useless companions. Together, this bickering band must come to terms with an existence which, in terms of productivity and purpose, isn't that far removed from its old one.

star 8.85
6,209 votes
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The Hollow Crown

#26 - The Hollow Crown

The Hollow Crown brings together four filmed adaptations of Shakespeare's History Plays - Richard II, Henry IV parts 1 and 2, and Henry V. Starting in the year 1399, this continuous story of monarchy follows events during sixteen years of dynastic and political power play. Kings, with their families and followers, are threatened by rebellion and conflict. The story takes us from the Royal Court at Westminster to battlefields in England and France. These rich films are woven with the finest of Shakespeare's poetry and are filmed in the architecture and landscape of the period.

star 8.85
523 votes
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The Day Today

#27 - The Day Today

The Day Today is a surreal British parody of television current affairs news programmes. It is an adaptation of the radio programme On The Hour. The series is composed of six half-hour episodes and a selection of shorter, five-minute slots recorded as promotion trailers for the longer segments. Only six episodes were made, and were originally broadcast in January and February 1994 on BBC2. The Day Today won many awards and Chris Morris won the 1994 British Comedy Award for Best Newcomer. All six episodes are available on BBC video and DVD.

star 8.84
308 votes
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Hebburn

#28 - Hebburn

Hebburn is a warm and affectionate tale of north east family life. It tells the tale of the Pearson family and their impetuous and ambitious son, Jack, who has left Tyneside for the bright lights and glamour of Manchester. He has secretly married a middle class Jewish girl, Sarah, and realises that it is about time he introduced her to his family.

star 8.80
222 votes
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Wonders of the Solar System

#29 - Wonders of the Solar System

Experience the extraordinary…in our planet’s own backyard. Wonders explores some of the most amazing features of our very own solar system – how the forces of nature carved out beauty and order from the chaos of space; how our home planet doesn’t sit in magnificent isolation but is intimately connected with the rest of the solar system; and how these connections have created the haven we call Earth. Using the latest scientific knowledge and breathtaking images beamed back from the fleet of probes, rovers and telescopes currently in space, this gorgeous imagery, paired with some of the most spectacular and extreme locations on Earth, help to reveal wonders never thought possible.

star 8.80
886 votes
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Louis Theroux

#30 - Louis Theroux

The documentary work of British-American journalist Louis Theroux.

star 8.80
531 votes
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Miss Marple

#31 - Miss Marple

Miss Marple, the spinster detective who is one of the most famous characters created by English crime writer Agatha Christie, is portrayed by Joan Hickson who starred in a dozen television mysteries about Miss Marple over the course of a decade. Between 1984 and 1992 the British Broadcasting Corporation in association with Australia's Seven Network and America's Arts and Entertainments Network, produced an irregular series of twelve Miss Marple mysteries. The elderly, deceptively delicate Joan Hickson starred in each of these as the amateur detective from the bucolic village of St. Mary Mead.

star 8.80
347 votes
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How TV Ruined Your Life

#32 - How TV Ruined Your Life

Charlie Brooker attempts to explain where it all went wrong and just how wildly the TV and movie ideal differs from life's grim reality.

star 8.79
272 votes
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Last Chance to See

#33 - Last Chance to See

A follow-up to the 1990 Radio 4 series in which the late Douglas Adams and Mark Carwardine travelled around the world in search of endangered species. 20 years later Stephen Fry and Mark Carwardine go back to see what has become of the animals in two decades, and to discover what has affected their fortunes.

star 8.77
264 votes
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Natural World

#34 - Natural World

Conceived by Sir David Attenborough in 1967, Natural World is the longest-running nature documentary series on British television. 2008 marked the series’ 25th anniversary under its present title, though its origins can be traced back to its predecessor The World About Us which began over 40 years ago. Natural World is broadcast on BBC Two in the autumn and spring seasons, with 17 episodes commissioned by the BBC each year. Production duties are shared between its in-house Natural History Unit, independent UK production companies and leading wildlife filmmakers from around the world.

star 8.77
419 votes
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The Power of Nightmares

#35 - The Power of Nightmares

This documentary argues that during the 20th Century politicians lost the power to inspire the masses, and that the optimistic visions and ideologies they had offered were perceived to have failed. The film asserts that politicians consequently sought a new role that would restore their power and authority. Writer Adam Curtis, who also narrates the series, declares in the film's introduction that “Instead of delivering dreams, politicians now promise to protect us: from nightmares”. To illustrate this Curtis compares the rise of the American neoconservatives and radical Islamists, believing that both are closely connected; that some popular beliefs about these groups are inaccurate; and that both movements have benefited from exaggerating the scale of the terrorist threat.

star 8.76
108 votes
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The Catherine Tate Show

#36 - The Catherine Tate Show

Perrier Award nominated for her performance in Lee Mack's sketch show at The Edinburgh Festival 2000 and critically acclaimed for her one-woman sketch show at Edinburgh 2001, Catherine Tate now writes and stars in her own sketch show. Catherine's irreverent characters include the rancid pensioner, the overprotective new parents and the randy nurse. The show's theme tune is "In These Shoes?" by Kirsty MacColl.

star 8.73
299 votes
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Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy

#37 - Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy

Tinker, tailor, soldier, sailor, rich man, poor man, beggar-man, thief. George Smiley, the aging master spy of the Cold War and once heir apparent to Control, is brought back out of retirement to flush out a top level mole within the Circus. Smiley must travel back through his life and murky workings of the Circus to unravel the net spun by his nemesis Karla 'The Sandman' of the KGB and reveal the identity of the mole before he disappears.

star 8.72
593 votes
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The Fast Show

#38 - The Fast Show

The Fast Show is a multi BAFTA award winning sketch comedy show written and produced by Paul Whitehouse and Charlie Higson.

star 8.70
464 votes
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The Ascent of Man

#39 - The Ascent of Man

Dr Bronowski's magnificent thirteen-part BBC television series The Ascent of Man traces our rise both as a species and as moulders of our own environment and future. It covers the history of science, but of science in the broadest terms. Invention from the flint tool to geometry, from the arch to the theory of relativity, are shown to be expressions of man's specific ability to understand nature, to control it, not to be controlled by it.

star 8.69
249 votes
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James May's Man Lab

#40 - James May's Man Lab

James May's Man Lab sees James attempting redeem the reputation of the modern man by teaching them skills that were cherished by their forefathers.

star 8.63
431 votes
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Only Connect

#41 - Only Connect

Victoria Coren Mitchell hosts the series where knowledge will only take you so far. Patience and lateral thinking are also vital.

star 8.62
196 votes
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The League of Gentlemen

#42 - The League of Gentlemen

Bizarre comedy set in the fictional English town of Royston Vasey, whose inhabitants include a transsexual taxi driver, a family obsessed with cleanness that despise masturbation, an apathetic priest, a gypsy who kidnaps women to be his wives and a psychotic couple who runs a local shop for local people. Theme song by Joby Talbot.

star 8.61
883 votes
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Never Mind the Buzzcocks

#43 - Never Mind the Buzzcocks

Never Mind the Buzzcocks is a comedy panel game show with a pop and rock music theme. The show is infamous for its dry, sarcastic humour and scathing, provocative attacks on the pop industry

star 8.61
983 votes
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Pingu

#44 - Pingu

A heartwarming hero from the coolest corner of the world! Pingu is a beloved claymation series of TV shorts about a Penguin Called Pingu. Despite it being aimed to younger audiences, it is also a family show. About The Show Pingu is a young mischievous Penguin that lives in the South Pole with his Mom & Dad, his Sister, Pinga, his best friends Ping & Pingo (HIT entertainment dubbed Pingo "Punky"), Robby the Seal, & a cast of other colorful characters. The show doesn't use english words, but it's own creative language called "Penguiniese" (OR, "Pengish"). History The show originally began in Switzerland from the company Trickfilmstudio back in 1986. But over the years, it had spread to America and other countries of the world such as Japan where the show is famous amongst young teen girls (ages 13-17). & also in England where Pingu has become a household name.

star 8.60
429 votes
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Louis Theroux's Weird Weekends

#45 - Louis Theroux's Weird Weekends

Louis Theroux gives viewers the chance to get brief glimpses of things they wouldn't normally come into contact with. In most cases this means interviewing people with extreme beliefs of some kind, or diving into obscure or marginalized subcultures.

star 8.60
311 votes
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W1A

#46 - W1A

From the creators of Twenty Twelve, Ian Fletcher, former the Head of the Olympic Deliverance Commission, has taken up the position of Head of Values at the BBC. His tasks include the licence fee renegotiation and charter renewal in 2016 and 2017 respectively.

star 8.56
270 votes
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The Planets (2019)

#47 - The Planets (2019)

In this major landmark series, Professor Brian Cox tells the extraordinary life story of our solar system. For four and a half billion years each of the planets has been on an incredible journey, filled with astonishing spectacle and great drama. Using the data from our very latest explorations of the solar system combined with groundbreaking CGI this series reveals the unimaginable beauty and grandeur of eight planets whose stories we are only just beginning to understand.

star 8.53
82 votes
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That Mitchell and Webb Look

#48 - That Mitchell and Webb Look

British sketch comedy gets a makeover in this BBC2 show. Comedians David Mitchell and Robert Webb elicit laughs through a brilliant mix of mockumentaries, TV parodies, character sketches and more.

star 8.48
753 votes
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Knowing Me, Knowing You with Alan Partridge

#49 - Knowing Me, Knowing You with Alan Partridge

Knowing Me, Knowing You with Alan Partridge was a parody of a chat show in which the character of Alan Partridge got his first TV show. It was originally aired as a radio show along the same lines. Most of the guest appearances were parodies of people in real life (obvious references to people and places).

star 8.48
517 votes
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Mock the Week

#50 - Mock the Week

Mock the Week is a political comedy improv show from the producers of Whose Line Is It Anyway? The series features teams of comedians improvising sketches about current political events in a humorous and satirical manner. Mock the Week stars Dara O'Briain and features regulars Hugh Dennis, Russell Howard and Andy Parsons who are joined by celebrity guests each week.

star 8.46
837 votes
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