The BEST ITV1 Shows

The top 32 shows on ITV1

Sherlock Holmes (1984)

#1 - Sherlock Holmes (1984)

Sherlock Holmes is one of the world’s most popular fictional detectives, famed for his legendary powers of observation and deduction. Adapted from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s original novels, this classic series by Granada Television starred Jeremy Brett as the definitive Holmes, with David Burke and later Edward Hardwicke as his able assistant Dr. Watson.

star 8.72
457 votes
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Upstairs, Downstairs

#2 - Upstairs, Downstairs

Covering a span of 27 years (1903-1930), Upstairs, Downstairs follows the lives of the wealthy Bellamy family residing upstairs at 165 Eaton Place, London, as well as the lives of those employed in their service living downstairs. Richard Bellamy, the son of a poor parson, is married to Lady Marjorie, the daughter of the wealthy Earl and Countess of Southwold, whose family money provides for the Bellamy's lavish lifestyle. As an influential member of the Conservative party, the Earl secures a seat in Parliament for Richard, with the expectation that he will support conservative policies. He tries his best to please his wife's family but, being a Liberal at heart, Richard finds it's not always that easy. These political and financial differences are a reoccurring source of contention for the Bellamys. On the surface, the lives of the family living upstairs couldn't seem more different than those of the servants living below but, strangely enough, through the years their lives often intersect, becoming increasingly entwined as time goes by. The addition of real-life events, like the tragic sinking of the RMS Titanic and the horrors of World War I, incorporated into the storylines add a touch of authenticity and realism to the show.

star 8.62
53 votes
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Agatha Christie's Poirot

#3 - Agatha Christie's Poirot

The adventures of Agatha Christie's famous Belgian detective, Hercule Poirot, adapted for television over more than twenty years and covering every Poirot book and short story ever written. This enormous lifelong project starring David Suchet takes the eponymous detective from England to Egypt, from country estate to weekend lodge, from dinner party to train ride, with his good friend Captain Hastings at his side, solving some of the most celebrated murder mysteries ever conceived.

star 8.56
1,078 votes
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Prime Suspect

#4 - Prime Suspect

Oscar winner Helen Mirren is Det. Jane Tennison, rising through the ranks, solving horrific crimes while battling office sexism and her own demons

star 8.47
167 votes
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The Prisoner

#5 - The Prisoner

The series follows a British former secret agent who is held prisoner in a mysterious coastal village resort where his captors try to find out why he abruptly resigned from his job. Although sold as a thriller in the mould of the previous series starring McGoohan, Danger Man (1960–68), the show's combination of 1960s countercultural themes and surreal setting had a far-reaching effect on science fiction/fantasy programming, and on popular culture in general.

star 8.44
460 votes
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Foyle's War

#6 - Foyle's War

Touted as the new Inspector Morse, this ITV detective show stars Michael Kitchen as a police inspector frustrated at being stuck at home investigating provincial crimes during the Second World War. Honeysuckle Weeks is an inspired choice as Foyle's sidekick, a clergyman's daughter posted from the Women's Royal Army Corps to serve as his driver, and she plays the part with an admirable period style. Foyle's War opens in southern England in the year 1940 - which may seem a strangely remote period in which to place a new detective, but the setting turns out to be a means of adding moral and dramatic depth to the storylines.

star 8.40
254 votes
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Inspector Morse

#7 - Inspector Morse

Inspector Morse is a detective drama based on Colin Dexter's series of Chief Inspector Morse novels. The series starred John Thaw as Chief Inspector Morse and Kevin Whately as Sergeant Lewis, as well as a large cast of notable actors and actresses.

star 8.25
239 votes
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#8 - Lewis

A spin-off of the popular series Inspector Morse, a special two-hour drama picked up five years after the series ended. It is now continuing in its own series, with Lewis and Hathaway investigating in Morse's old stomping ground of Oxford.

star 8.24
279 votes
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The Professionals

#9 - The Professionals

The Professionals (1977 - 1983) - "Anarchy, acts of terror, crimes against the public. To combat it I've got special men - experts from the Army, the Police - from every service. These are The Professionals." - George Cowley. The Professionals was one of British television's most popular and successful action series of the 1970s and 80s. At their peak in 1980 The Pros were earning as many as 17.6 million viewers. The Professionals began life in early 1977, provisionally titled The A-Squad, in an idea conceived by Brian Clemens, the then head of the independent TV company Avengers Mark I Productions. His aim was to create a rival for Thames television's hugely successful long-running police series The Sweeney. Bodie, Doyle and Cowley could have looked very different to how we remember them as. A number of very different actors were considered for the three central roles, with neither of the final chosen team being the original choices. The final three were more or less drafted in when the first choice stars either declined or were axed. Gordon Jackson (formerly the distinctly unmenacing Butler Hudson in Upstairs Downstairs) and Martin Shaw (whose first TV appearance was as a hippie in 1960s Coronation Street) were first to be cast. During the filming of the first episode, Old Dog with New Tricks Bodie was in fact played by Anthony Andrews. Unfortunately, old mates Shaw and Andrews spent much of the time cracking up with laughter - hardly a recipe for ensuring the renowned edgy banter between the two leads. Lewis Collins (best known by this time as Gavin Rumsey in comedy series The Cuckoo Waltz) was brought in to play Bodie, with Andrews being given the heave-ho. Collins and Shaw had previously worked together just months earlier in an episode of The New Avengers, and were cast alongside each other again thanks to the 'sparky, abrasive' on-screen partnership that they generated. In other words, they didn't particularly like each other! But with the central cast complete, filming began on 20 June 1977, with the first episode Private Madness Public Danger debuting on Friday 30 December 1977. Criminal Intelligence 5 The basis of The Professionals was CI5 - Criminal Intelligence 5 - an organisation lead by surly Scotsman George Cowley (played by Gordon Jackson), a former MI5 head who founded the team as an 'umbrella organisation' to help alleviate London's ever-increasing level of criminal activity. CI5 consisted of up to forty men and women agents, but the main action was centred around Cowley's two top operatives; William Andrew Philip Bodie (Agent 3.7) and Raymond Doyle (4.5). Bodie (Lewis Collins) - he of the close-cropped hair, polo necks and smart suits - was a mercenary in Africa, who deserted the Merchant Navy to join the Paras and later the SAS, before being signed up to CI5 by Cowley. He was, on the surface, an uncompromising thug with a penchant for the 'hit first, ask questions later' theory - thinking nothing of causing 'damage' to a suspect if it meant getting the right results. Doyle (Martin Shaw) was a former Docklands Police Constable, and his more placid nature was reflected in his memorable bubble-perm hairstyle and casual clothing attire (i.e. old plaid jackets and skintight jeans). However, he possessed a tougher streak to match that of Bodie if ever riled by a particularly awkward suspect. Chalk and Cheese The show's major appeal lay in its well-balanced mix of strong acting and direction, coupled with Bodie and Doyle's sparky partnership and chalk-and-cheese personalities. Cowley's preoccupation with pure malt scotch and occasional bullet-wound limp were also a source of amusement for the Lads, but overall they each viewed one another with a great mutual respect. The fifty-seven episode run produced a great variety of gripping plots, most notably the destruction of a German terrorist group in Close Quarters, the testing of a potentially deadly laser gun in Hunter Hunted, a supposed crime-free town masking a squad of corrupt policeman in In the Public Interest and the trial of CI5 in The Rack to name but a few. Like any show, however, there were a number of dodgy episodes to contend with, the chief honour going to The Gun and Blood Sports during the generally below-par fourth season. Banned! The Professionals wasn't without controversy, though - and no, we don't mean Martin Shaw's hair (which was, amazingly, his own idea!). Klansmen, the thirteenth (unlucky for some?) and final episode was banned and remains unaired in the UK even to this day because it dealt with the subject of racism. Only now with the DVD release will British fans be able to see the episode for themselves. Eventually Lewis and Martin quit the series in 1981 when their four-year contracts expired and although Gordon was said to have been happy to continue, it was decided not to cast a set of new characters because of Lewis and Martin's popularity. However, both had become tired of the monotony of playing their characters - least of all Martin, who had begun to express his dislike of playing 'violent puppet' Doyle at approximately six weeks into the role! Filming was quickly wrapped up with Spy Probe in mid-1981, but due to several ITV strike disputes in the late 1970s, several episodes were held back and the fifth season did not begin transmission until November 1982. The final edition, No Stone was broadcast on Sunday 6 February 1983. Martin allegedly barred any further repeats being broadcast on British terrestrial TV until 1992 and now the only UK-based channel that regularly screens re-runs is satellite station Granada Plus, albeit with a ridiculous series of censorship rules in place (of course, to conceal unnecessary violence we assume, not to make way for more washing powder adverts). Then and Now The Professionals will forever be remembered for sparking such hard-hitting debate as: who was the best looking, Bodie or Doyle? (for the women), who had the smartest motor? (for the blokes) and who was going to be the first victim to be injured by Doyle's erupting perm? (for those mourning the demise of decent hairstyles as the Seventies kicked in). Since the series ended more than twenty years ago, the cast have had mixed fortunes in their careers. Gordon Jackson continued to work successfully in a number of high-profile film and TV roles until he very sadly passed away in 1990, at the age of 66. Martin Shaw appeared in The Chief and Rhodes in the mid-1990s, and has recently made a comeback to prime-time television, with starring roles in A&E and Judge John Deed. In 2003 he became the new face of P.D James' long-running detective, Adam Dalgliesh. Lewis Collins unfortunately fell victim to the dreaded typecasting, appearing in a series of ill-advised foreign action movies in the 1980s (although we rather liked Who Dares Wins!) His most recent UK TV appearances were in Cluedo - a thankfully now defunct quiz show presented by the likes of Richard Madeley - in 1991 and a cameo appearance in the dodgy ITV1 'comedy' series The Grimleys in 1999. He has spent the past few years concentrating on theatre work, including a role in the thriller Dangerous Corner, also in 1999. In 2002 Lewis guest-starred in an episode of police series The Bill. The New Professionals The series was revived in 1999, now under the very imaginative alias of The New Professionals. At first it was thought Lewis Collins would be making a comeback appearance, with Bodie being elevated to the position vacated by Cowley, but negotiations for this later fell through. Martin Shaw, on the other hand, was 'not invited' to reprise his role. Interest in the show was less than forthcoming; the first series being pushed into a rather unsociable time slot on the satellite channel Sky One. It now seems unlikely that another season will be made. Over the past decade there has been a renewed interest for The Professionals and all things retro. The memorable 1996 Nissan Car advertisement ("This car's well-sprung" / "A bit like your hair!") and the release of all 57 episodes on DVD in 2002, will ensure that the show is likely to gain a whole new generation of fans following its Silver Jubilee year.

star 8.21
74 votes
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#10 - Minder

This comedy drama series featured Terry McCann, a former boxer with a conviction for G.B.H., and Arthur Daley, a second-hand car dealer with an eye for a nice little earner. Alongside his many business ventures, Arthur would regularly hire Terry out as a minder or bodyguard.

star 8.20
29 votes
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The Famous Five (1978)

#11 - The Famous Five (1978)

Meet the Famous Five: Julian (Marcus Harris), Dick (Gary Russell), Anne (Jennifer Thanisch), their cousin George (Michelle Gallagher) and her dog Timmy. Ruined castles and rolling moors; mysterious islands and hidden caves: the five can find adventure wherever they are. Join them at Kirrin Cottage, or away on their holidays as they encounter smugglers, scoundrels and spies. Thankfully, Uncle Quentin and Aunt Fanny are always around to offer lashings of ginger beer. Based on the best-selling Enid Blyton series of books, this classic 70 s TV series also features the talent of classic British actors, including; Patrick Troughton, Ronald Fraser, Brian Glover, David Rappaport and an early appearance from Rupert Graves.

star 8.18
21 votes
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Scott & Bailey

#12 - Scott & Bailey

A thrilling crime drama exploring the personal and professional lives of two female detectives.

star 8.12
192 votes
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#13 - Cracker

Dr. Eddie "Fitz" Fitzgerald (Robbie Coltrane) is an alcoholic, chain-smoking, womanizer who just happens to be an expert psychologist. In spite of marital and family problems, he is often called to assist the police in difficult cases that cannot be easily solved.

star 8.12
143 votes
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Above Suspicion

#14 - Above Suspicion

Anna Travis has been assigned to her first murder case – a gruesome series of killings that has shocked even the most hardened of detectives. The murders started eight years ago, and now the body count is up to six. The method of killing is identical, and the victims are all drug-users and prostitutes. Then a seventh body is found. The modus operandi is the same, but the victim is a young student. The suspect is Alan Daniels, a much-loved actor on the brink of international stardom. His arrest would create media frenzy. But if he is found innocent Anna’s hard fought for reputation would be destroyed.

star 8.11
70 votes
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Brideshead Revisited

#15 - Brideshead Revisited

At Oxford, Charles Ryder becomes friend with Sebastian Flyte while he's throwing up in his college room through an open window. He then invites Charles to lunch after his teddy bear Aloysius 'refuses to talk to him' unless he is forgiven. Charles becomes involved with Sebastian's family, Catholic peers of the realm in Protestant England.

star 8.03
94 votes
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A Touch of Frost

#16 - A Touch of Frost

Detective Inspector Jack Frost is a disorganised DI for the Denton Police Force and will do anything to see that justice is done, even if he has to break the rules.

star 7.99
143 votes
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Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons

#17 - Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons

"The finger is on the trigger...about to unleash a force with terrible powers, beyond the comprehension of man. This force we shall know as, The Mysterons. This man will be our hero, for fate will make him indestructible. His name: Captain Scarlet." -- "The Mysterons"

star 7.94
34 votes
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DCI Banks

#18 - DCI Banks

DCI Banks is a British crime drama series based on Peter Robinson's Inspector Alan Banks novels.

star 7.90
168 votes
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#19 - Thunderbirds

Thunderbirds are Go!! The year is 2065, and a secret organization called International Rescue has been created by multi-millionaire Jeff Tracy. The team consists of his five sons and brilliant engineer Brains. From their headquarters on Tracy Island somewhere in the South Pacific, International Rescue helps people in danger all over the world. Scott flies Thunderbird 1, a fast rocket often first on the scene. Virgil pilots Thunderbird 2, a heavy transport able to choose one of several pods of equipment. Thunderbird 3, a space rocket, is usually piloted by Alan. Gordon steers Thunderbird 4, an underwater rescue craft, and space station Thunderbird 5 is home to John, who listens to broadcasts from around the world looking for people in peril

star 7.89
146 votes
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The New Avengers

#20 - The New Avengers

In The New Avengers. Patrick Macnee reprises his role of John Steed of The Avengers (1961-69) but this time with two new partners, Mike Gambit (Gareth Hunt) and Purdey (Joanna Lumley). Like its predecessor, the series often featured fantastical plots with diabolical masterminds as villains, but this new version infused the franchise with a thrilling new feel. Bold colors, spectacular shooting locations, and less-ambiguous plots & characters all combined to present an exciting new series.

star 7.80
43 votes
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#21 - UFO

Around 1970, the British and American governments receive incontrovertible evidence that aliens exist and are abducting humans. In cooperation with the United Nations, they set up a secret worldwide organization, SHADO (Supreme Headquarters Alien Defence Organisation), which operates in the 1980s. With resources and equipment under the seas, in the air, on land, in orbit and on the Moon, SHADO's purpose is to stop the alien incursions and find out why the aliens want humans.

star 7.80
101 votes
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The Fixer

#22 - The Fixer

John Mercer is ex-Special Forces serving a double life sentence for the murder of his aunt and uncle. It was a crime he committed out of revenge for the years of physical abuse his sister Jess suffered at their hands. He is awarded an early release from prison on the condition that he becomes an assassin for the government.

star 7.80
64 votes
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The Bletchley Circle

#23 - The Bletchley Circle

The Bletchley Circle follows the journey of four ordinary women with extraordinary skills that helped to end World War II. Set in 1952, Susan, Millie, Lucy and Jean have returned to their normal lives, modestly setting aside the part they played in producing crucial intelligence, which helped the Allies to victory and shortened the war. When Susan discovers a hidden code behind an unsolved murder she is met by skepticism from the police. She quickly realises she can only begin to crack the murders and bring the culprit to justice with her former friends. The Bletchley Circle paints a vivid portrait of post-war Britain in this fictional tale of unsung heroes.

star 7.79
438 votes
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#24 - Cadfael

Brother Cadfael is a twelfth-century Anglo-Welsh monk created by the late Edith Pargeter writing under the pen name of Ellis Peters. A retired crusader disappointed in love, now a herbalist in charge of the gardens of Shrewsbury Abbey, Cadfael (played by Derek Jacobi) is often called on to solve murders and other crimes in and around Shrewsbury, Shropshire, in the border country where England meets Wales.

star 7.77
60 votes
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The Saint

#25 - The Saint

Simon Templar is The Saint - adored by women, feared by his adversaries and a constant thorn in the side of police forces everywhere. A smooth-talking adventurer, the Saint goes in where angels fear to tread. Always where the action is, he courts danger with a smile, but his charm can sometimes be a lethal weapon. The Saint is always on a mission of mercy or intrigue, with a beautiful woman close at hand. He's Sir Lancelot without armor. A formidable enemy, an unwavering friend.

star 7.57
107 votes
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The Last Train

#26 - The Last Train

The Last Train was a gripping six part post-apocalyptic drama series made by Granada Television. The plot concerns the survivors of a catastrophe (namely the Earth being hit by a giant meteorite) who were cryogenically frozen in a railway carriage, due to the actions of a scientist called Harriet Ambrose (Nicola Walker). The series follows their adventures in the devastated new world, where everything they had known is now dead and gone. Harriet leads the group and insists they must reach 'Ark' to find help. Other principal characters included Amita Dhiri ('Milly' in This Life) as mother of two - Jandra, Christopher Fulford as impulsive Ian Hart, Treva Etienne as bad boy and former criminal Mick Sizer and Zoe Telford as the sensible Roe Germaine.The series was very popular and was repeated on ITV2 in 2001. It was also called Cruel Earth when it aired in Canada.

star 7.57
34 votes
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The Benny Hill Show

#27 - The Benny Hill Show

The Benny Hill Show features Benny Hill in various short comedy sketches and occasional, extravagant musical performances by artists of the time. Hill appears in many different costumes and portrays a vast array of characters. Slapstick, burlesque and double entendres are his hallmarks. A group of critics accused the show of sexism, and Hill responded by claiming that female characters kept their dignity while the men who chase them were portrayed as buffoons

star 7.52
168 votes
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Law & Order: UK

#28 - Law & Order: UK

The longest running crime series in U.S. television history is making its way across the pond for a UK reworking. Series creator Dick Wolf is set to give Law & Order a makeover-for fans in the UK. Law & Order: UK promises to retain the grittiness of the original series, but be uniquely British.

star 7.48
157 votes
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Ultimate Force

#29 - Ultimate Force

Ultimate Force is co-devised by Rob Heyland and former SAS soldier Chris Ryan. It follows the lives of a group of SAS soldiers known as Red Troop lead by Sergeant Henno Garvie as they put their lives at risk for their country.

star 7.48
58 votes
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#30 - Demons

A contemporary twist on the legacy of Bram Stoker’s Dracula, this series is set in modern-day London and focuses on the last descendant of the Van Helsing line - and his destiny.

star 6.78
101 votes
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#31 - Sharpe

Sharpe is a British series of television dramas about Richard Sharpe, a fictional British soldier in the Napoleonic Wars. Sharpe is the hero of a number of novels by Bernard Cornwell; most, though not all, of the episodes are based on the books. Produced by Central Independent Television for the ITV network, the series was shot mainly in Turkey and Crimea, although some filming was also done in England, Spain and Portugal.

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The Hive

#32 - The Hive

The Hive is a colourful animated series for pre-schoolers featuring the Bee Family. This series is about the everyday things that concern little children such as playing, being friendly, spending time with your family and finding out all about the world and how it works.

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