The BEST BBC shows of all time

Every BBC show, ranked

We've compiled the average episode rating for every BBC show to compile this list of best shows!

Around the World in 80 Days with Michael Palin
star
9.21
225 votes

#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.

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Life in Cold Blood
star
9.06
183 votes

#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.

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The Private Life of Plants
star
8.88
252 votes

#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.

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The Nazis: A Warning from History
star
8.75
157 votes

#4 - The Nazis: A Warning from History

This documentary series exposes the popular myths surrounding the rise and fall of the Third Reich. Exploring how they came to power, how they ruled, how they treated their occupied territories and, above all, how a cultured nation could be responsible for such acts of inhumanity. Through compelling interviews and archive film and records, the series paints an astonishing and often unpalatable picture of the Nazi rule. Contemporaries recall the true extent of Hitler's power; eye-witnesses describe the horrors perpetrated on the Eastern Front; specially shot film in Lithuania reveals the development of the 'Final Solution' and ordinary Germans shed new light on the relationship between the party and the people.

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Pole to Pole with Michael Palin
star
8.54
126 votes

#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.

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North & South
star
8.44
876 votes

#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.

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The Day the Universe Changed
star
8.32
221 votes

#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.

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Orbit: Earth's Extraordinary Journey
star
8.28
146 votes

#8 - Orbit: Earth's Extraordinary Journey

Right now you're hurtling around the sun at 64,000 miles an hour (100,000 kms an hour). In the next year you'll travel 584 million miles, to end up back where you started. Presenters Kate Humble and Dr Helen Czerski follow the Earth's voyage around the sun for one complete orbit, to witness the astonishing consequences this journey has for us all.

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Full Circle with Michael Palin
star
8.09
124 votes

#9 - Full Circle with Michael Palin

Michael Palin's journey through all the countries bordering the Pacific Ocean was anything but 'pacific' as blizzards, Bogotá's Bullet Street and Alaskan abandonment pushed him and the crew to the limit. But there was time for adventure including crawling through the Viet Cong's Cu Chi tunnels, sharing a feast with headhunters in Borneo and helicoptering into New Zealand's Tasman glacier.

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7 Ages of Rock
star
8.06
192 votes

#10 - 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.

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Jane Eyre (1983)
star
7.74
76 votes

#11 - 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.

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Earth from Space
star
7.68
38 votes

#12 - Earth from Space

Cameras in space tell stories of life on our planet from a brand new perspective, revealing new discoveries, incredible colours and patterns, and just how fast it is changing. Four episode mini series documentary.

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The Virgin Queen
star
7.35
140 votes

#13 - 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.

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Heroes Unmasked
star
7.33
21 votes

#14 - Heroes Unmasked

Heroes Unmasked is a behind-the-scenes documentary television series of the American television series Heroes, made by the BBC and narrated by Anthony Head in series 1-2, and in series 3 by former Heroes actor Santiago Cabrera. The show features interviews with cast and crew members as well as special effects artists discussing the process behind the creation of each episode as well as revealing plot backgrounds and future stories.

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