The BEST BBC One shows of all time

Every BBC One show, ranked

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

star
9.33
247 votes

#1 - Life in the Undergrowth

Invertebrates had been largely ignored by filmmakers in the past, due to the difficulties in filming them, but advances in lens and camera technology gave the makers an opportunity to film the creatures at their level. The series features a balance of everyday European invertebrates such as the wolf spider and housefly and more exotic varieties such as the redback spider of Australia and venomous centipedes of the Amazon. This was the first time that such animals had been photographed at such a high level of detail for television, and provided not only casual viewers but also scientists with a new understanding of certain species' behaviour.

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star
9.30
238 votes

#2 - Messiah

Critically acclaimed Ken Stott (The Vice, The Singing Detective) stars as Detective Chief Inspector Red Metcalfe, a brilliant detective who once turned in his own brother for murder. Ten years later, Red has earned a reputation for his impressive ability to get into the minds of killers, but two disturbing murders on the same day spark the most baffling and damaging case of his career. Both killings bear the murderer's trademark–as do the grisly deaths that follow–the victim's tongue is cut out and a silver spoon is inserted in their mouth. As the killings mount up, Red is taunted by the fact that he can find no motive, no pattern–nothing to connect the victims apart from the killer's grisly trademark.

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star
9.29
305 votes

#3 - Life Story

Life Story is BBC One’s new landmark series from the award-winning Natural History Unit. Presented by David Attenborough, it tells the remarkable and often perilous story of the journey through life. It is a story that unites each of us with every animal on the planet, because we all set out on this journey from the moment we are born. For animals there is just one goal in life – to continue their bloodline in the form of offspring. This series follows that journey through its six crucial stages: first steps, growing up, finding a home, gaining power, winning a mate and succeeding as a parent.

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star
9.23
9790 votes

#4 - Planet Earth

David Attenborough celebrates the amazing variety of the natural world in this epic documentary series, filmed over four years across 64 different countries.

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star
9.15
3083 votes

#5 - Life

"Life" is a spectacular new nature documentary series produced by the BBC. Ten chapters filmed in HD pursuing an ambitious goal: to be the definitive exploration of the diversity of the animal world. Throughout the series we will watch all kinds of amazing behaviours that defy our concept of other beings who inhabit this planet. For four years, the multi-Natural History Unit of the BBC has visited all the continents and types of environments in search of the most amazing stories about the continuing struggle for animal survival.

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star
9.15
20749 votes

#6 - Top Gear

Tests whether cars, both mundane and extraordinary, live up to their manufacturers' claims. Travels to locations around the world, performing extreme stunts and challenges to see what the featured cars are capable of doing. Celebrity guests appear on some episodes to help test the vehicles. Things don't always go as planned, though, with broken bones and mechanical mishaps sometimes part of the experiments.

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star
9.12
2419 votes

#7 - Only Fools and Horses

Comedy that follows two brothers from London's rough Peckham estate as they wheel and deal through a number of dodgy deals and search for the big score that'll make them millionaires.

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star
9.07
4061 votes

#8 - Monty Python's Flying Circus

And now for something completely different: Monty Python's Flying Circus was simply the most influential comedy program television has ever seen. Five Englishmen, all working under the constraints of conventional TV shows such as The Frost Report (for which the five Englishmen wrote), gathered together with an expatriate American in the spring of 1969 to break the rules. The result, first airing on BBC-1 on October 5, 1969, has influenced countless future men and women in the media and comedy since.

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star
9.07
7728 votes

#9 - Doctor Who

The Doctor, a mysterious traveller in space and time, travels in his ship, the TARDIS. The TARDIS can take him and his companions anywhere in time and space. Inevitably he finds evil at work wherever he goes...

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star
9.07
261 votes

#10 - The Trials of Life

A study in animal behaviour, it was the third in a trilogy of major series (beginning with Life on Earth) that took a broad overview of nature, rather than the more specialised surveys of Attenborough's later productions. Each of the twelve 50-minute episodes features a different aspect of the journey through life, from birth to adulthood and continuation of the species through reproduction. The series was produced in conjunction with the Australian Broadcasting Service and Turner Broadcasting System Inc. The executive producer was Peter Jones and the music was composed by George Fenton. Part of David Attenborough's 'Life' series, it was preceded by The Living Planet (1984) and followed by Life in the Freezer (1993).

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star
9.07
249 votes

#11 - A History of Britain by Simon Schama

Stretching from the Stone Age to the year 2000, Simon Schama's Complete History of Britain does not pretend to be a definitive chronicle of the turbulent events which buffeted and shaped the British Isles. What Schama does do, however, is tell the story in vivid and gripping narrative terms, free of the fustiness of traditional academe, personalising key historical events by examining the major characters at the centre of them. Not all historians would approve of the history depicted here as shaped principally by the actions of great men and women rather than by more abstract developments, but Schama's way of telling it is a good deal more enthralling as a result. Schama successfully gives lie to the idea that the history of Britain has been moderate and temperate, passing down the generations as stately as a galleon, taking on board sensible ideas but steering clear of sillier, revolutionary ones. Nonsense. Schama retells British history the way it was--as bloody, convulsive, precarious, hot-blooded and several times within an inch of haring off onto an entirely different course. Schama seems almost to delight in the goriness of history. Themes returned to repeatedly include the wars between the Scots and the Irish and the Catholic/Protestant conflicts--only the Irish question remains unresolved by the new millennium. As Britain becomes a constitutional monarchy, Schama talks less of Kings and Queens but of poets and idea-makers like Orwell. Still, with his pungent, direct manner and against an evocative visual and aural backdrop, Schama makes history seem as though it happened yesterday, the bloodstains not yet dry.

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star
9.06
132 votes

#12 - Chewin' the Fat

Chewin' the Fat is a Scottish comedy sketch show, first started as a radio series on BBC Radio Scotland, that went on to run for four series. It gave rise to the spin-off show Still Game, a sitcom focusing on the two elderly friends, Jack and Victor. The series was mostly filmed in and around Glasgow and occasionally West Dunbartonshire.

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star
9.04
1515 votes

#13 - Blue Planet II

World-renowned naturalist Sir David Attenborough returns to present this landmark seven-part series about our planet’s oceans. Blue Planet II explores the latest frontiers of scientific discovery, from icy-white polar seas to vibrant blues of the coral atolls, from the storm-tossed green Atlantic coastline to the black depths of the alien deep.

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star
9.04
220 votes

#14 - The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin

Disillusioned after a long career at Sunshine Desserts, Perrin goes through a mid-life crisis and fakes his own death. Returning in disguise after various attempts at finding a 'new life', he gets his old job back and finds nothing has changed. He is eventually found out, and in the second series has success with a chain of shops selling useless junk. That becomes so successful that he feels he has created a monster and decides to destroy it. In the third and final series he has a dream of forming a commune which his long suffering colleagues help bring to reality. Unfortunately that also fails and he finds himself back in a job not unlike the one he originally had at Sunshine Desserts.

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star
9.02
3900 votes

#15 - Planet Earth II

David Attenborough presents a documentary series exploring how animals meet the challenges of surviving in the most iconic habitats on earth.

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star
9.01
1063 votes

#16 - Africa (2013)

Africa is a 2013 television series co-produced by the BBC Natural History Unit and the Discovery Channel. It focuses on wildlife and wild habitats in Africa, and has been four years in the making.

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star
9.00
45797 votes

#17 - Doctor Who (2005)

The Doctor is an alien Time Lord from the planet Gallifrey who travels through all of time and space in the TARDIS. The Doctor has a long list of friends and companions who have shared journeys along the way. Instead of dying, the Doctor is able to “regenerate” into a new body, taking on a new personality with each regeneration.

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star
8.98
279 votes

#18 - All Creatures Great and Small

In the mid-1930s James Herriot, who recently graduated from the veterinary college in Glasgow, finds work in the rustic Yorkshire Dales of Northern England. This heartwarming drama chronicles his encounters with the locals and the animals they depend on. Based on the semi-autobiographical novels of James Alfred Wight, OBE, who wrote under the pseudonym James Herriot.

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star
8.98
393 votes

#19 - The Hunt

This major landmark series looks in detail at the fascinating relationship between predators and their prey. Rather than concentrating on ‘the blood and guts’ of predation, the series looks in unprecedented detail at the strategies predators use to catch their food and prey use to escape death. Sir David Attenborough narrates.

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star
8.96
70026 votes

#20 - Sherlock

Sherlock Holmes and his partner Dr. John Watson solve crimes in 21st century London.

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star
8.92
58 votes

#21 - Doomwatch

Doomwatch is the code name of a semi-secret government department set up to keep an eye on, and try to contain, potentially hazardous scientific research. A highly independent team, headed by the incorruptible Dr Quist, observe the scientists while MI6 observe them. Projecting what could happen if a particular experiment or technology got out of hand, this exciting 1970s drama series is anchored in scientific fact and is frightingly close to reality…

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star
8.91
130 votes

#22 - The Living Planet

David Attenborough examines the various environments of the planet Earth on which life has produced amazing solutions to the problems it encounter while trying to survive. Filmed in 63 countries, on all 7 continents and over 3 years, this is the second part in David Attenborough's trilogy of programmes on the Earth and it's inhabitants.

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star
8.90
186 votes

#23 - dinnerladies

Dinnerladies chronicles the antics of a group of workers in a canteen in the north of England. Bren tries to maintain a semblance of order in amongst the chaos, while dealing with the canteen supervisor, slightly sex-obsessed cancer sufferer Tony. Dolly and Jean are the bickering menopausal older women, always at odds but best friends beneath it all. Then there's thick-as-two-short-planks Anita, and the terminally uninterested Twinkle, more concerned with having a good time than anything else. Making up the motley crew are military man handyman Stan, all rules and regulations, and ditzy Philippa, who never seems to get anything right.

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star
8.88
133 votes

#24 - Gary: Tank Commander

This Comedy Unit production, follows the exploits of this flamboyant perma-tanned serviceman, who looks on his time in Iraq as a holiday and whose antics are more camp than Dogwood

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star
8.87
383 votes

#25 - Match of the Day

Match of the Day (often abbreviated as MOTD) is the BBC's main football television programme. Typically, it is shown on BBC One on Saturday evenings during the English football season, showing highlights of the day's matches in the Barclays Premier League. It is one of the BBC's longest-running shows, having been on air since 1964, though it has not always been aired regularly. The 'Match of the Day' brand is also often used for live football coverage on the BBC. They run a competition called Goal of the Month, choosing the best goal each month, where the winner from there will then be entered into a goal of the season award.

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star
8.86
202 votes

#26 - Ocean Giants

Ground-breaking documentary granting a unique and privileged access into the magical world of whales and dolphins, uncovering the secrets of their intimate lives as never before.

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star
8.84
388 votes

#27 - As Time Goes By

Army officer Lionel Hardcastle and nurse Jean Pargeter had a three-month affair in 1953. After Lionel is posted to Korea, the two lose touch when Lionel's letter to Jean fails to get delivered. Thirty-eight years later, they meet again. A sweetly charming situation comedy that ran for nine seasons. Best enjoyed with your feet up and with a cup of tea and some custard tarts at your side.

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star
8.82
6073 votes

#28 - Blackadder

Cunning plans and cutting comedy as the Blackadder dynasty plot their way through British history.

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star
8.80
318 votes

#29 - The Animals of Farthing Wood

This animated series is based on the books by Colin Dann. It follows a group of animals who are forced to leave their home in Farthing Wood as it is being destroyed by humans and journey to a wildlife sanctuary called White Deer Park. With the long and dangerous journey ahead of them the animals take the Oath of Protection. This means that they must protect and help one another and most importantly not eat one another. Following their guide Toad and their leader Fox, the animals consisting of predators like Owl, Kestrel, Badger and Adder and smaller animals like Rabbits, Hares and Mice take off on a journey that will not only make them legends but friends as well.

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star
8.79
136 votes

#30 - Secret Army

Secret Army, a series created by Gerard Glaister, chronicled the history of a Belgian resistance movement during the Second World War dedicated to returning Allied airmen back to their home country. The show was set in a Brussels café and later restaurant (Le Candide), where the owner Albert Foiret helps Lisa Colbert (code-named "Yvette") hide airmen and control the various members of the "Lifeline" organisation as they take the airmen across borders to safer neutral countries such as Spain. Their principal opponents were Ludwig Kessler, an officious officer in the SS, and the more laidback Luftwaffe officer Major Erwin Brandt.

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star
8.79
170 votes

#31 - Michael Palin's New Europe

Michael Palin's New Europe is a travel documentary presented by Michael Palin and first aired in the UK on the BBC in 2007 and in the US on the Travel Channel on Monday January 28 2008. Palin visits 20 countries in Central and Eastern Europe. The filming was done in 2006 and early 2007 using HD (high definition) equipment. The result was made into seven one-hour programmes for BBC One and simulcast on BBC HD. A book, New Europe, was also written describing the trip, and illustrated with photographs by Basil Pao.

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star
8.77
172 votes

#32 - Wallace & Gromit's Cracking Contraptions

Wallace and Gromit try out a number of their latest inventions which rarely work as planned.

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star
8.77
133 votes

#33 - Our Zoo

Our Zoo' follows the story of George, who is frustrated by memories of fighting in the great war and living with his extended family, he wants to bring more beauty into the world. When he comes across a camel and monkey that are about to be abandoned, he embarks on a plan to set up a zoo.

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star
8.77
136 votes

#34 - 2 Point 4 Children

They're just your average family. Stressed mum Bill, daft dad Ben, and two troublesome teens. Plus just a few crazy ideas, escapades and mishaps.

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star
8.76
406 votes

#35 - Seven Worlds, One Planet

Millions of years ago, incredible forces ripped apart the Earth’s crust creating seven extraordinary continents. This documentary series reveals how each distinct continent has shaped the unique animal life found there.

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star
8.73
60 votes

#36 - Let Them Eat Cake

France, 1782, during the reign of Louis XVI and his Queen, Marie Antoinette. We find the Comtesse De Vache and her trusty maid, Lisette, up to no good amid the decadent splendour of the Palace of Versailles. The corrupt court is awash with sexual scandal and intrigue, most of it stirred up by the Comtesse in her schemes to get the better of her deadly rival, the man-eating Madame De Plonge.

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star
8.70
1389 votes

#37 - Human Planet

Following in the footsteps of Planet Earth and Life, this epic eight-part blockbuster is a breathtaking celebration of the amazing, complex, profound and sometimes challenging relationship between humankind and nature. Humans are the ultimate animals – the most successful species on the planet. From the frozen Arctic to steamy rainforests, from tiny islands in vast oceans to parched deserts, people have found remarkable ways to adapt and survive in the harshest environments imaginable. We’ve done this by harnessing our immense courage and ingenuity; learning to live with and utilise the other creatures that share these wild places. Human Planet weaves together eighty inspiring stories, many never told before on television, set to a globally influenced soundtrack by award-winning composer Nitin Sawhney. Each episode focuses on a particular habitat and reveals how its people have created astonishing solutions in the face of extreme adversity. Finally we visit the urban jungle, where most of us now live, and discover why the connection between humanity and nature in our cities is the most vital of all. Human Planet is brought to you by BBC Earth, creator of 50 years of outstanding natural history content.

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star
8.70
131 votes

#38 - Paddington

Almost everyone knows that Paddington is a bear who usually wears a duffle coat, a rather shapeless hat and, on occasions, Wellington boots. Many people also know that his favourite food is marmalade and that he originally comes from Darkest Peru. Named for the train station where he was first found, Paddington was adopted by the Brown family (Father Henry, mother Mary, son Jonathan, and daughter Judy) and taken to their home at 32 Windsor Gardens, and his misadventures have delighted children since. Based on the books by Michael Bond.

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star
8.70
2736 votes

#39 - Spooks

A tense drama series about the different challenges faced by the British Security Service as they work against the clock to safeguard the nation. The title is a popular colloquialism for spies, and the series follows the work of a group of MI5 officers based at the service's Thames House headquarters, in a highly secure suite of offices known as The Grid.

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star
8.69
94 votes

#40 - The Death of Yugoslavia

The Death of Yugoslavia is a BAFTA-award winning BBC documentary series first broadcast in 1995. It covers the collapse of the former Yugoslavia. It is notable in its combination of never-before-seen archive footage interspersed with interviews of most of the main players in the conflict, including Slobodan Milošević, the then President of Serbia. Norma Percy won the 1996 BAFTA TV Award for 'Best Factual Series' for the documentary. However, it has been argued that it presents a potentially slightly biased point-of-view; for instance during the trial of Milošević before the ICTY in The Hague, Judge Bonomy called the nature of much of the commentary "tendentious" (partisan).

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star
8.69
950 votes

#41 - Are You Being Served?

This comedy series, which follows the exploits of employees at London's fictional "Grace Brothers" department store, is full of sexual innuendo, slapstick, visual gags, and double entendres. Much of the show's humor parodies Britain's class system, and many of the show's characters are based on stereotypes of the period, including the effeminate Mr. Humphries and the rich, but stingy, store owner.

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star
8.68
434 votes

#42 - Inspector George Gently

A British crime drama adapted from the George Gently novels by Alan Hunt and set in the 1960s. Inspector George Gently is an old-school detective trying to come to terms with a time when the lines between the police and criminals have become blurred. After the murder of his wife the solemn Inspector arrives in Northumberland in pursuit of the gang boss who killed her and decides to stay. He is joined by the young and not always entirely helpful Detective Sargent John Bacchus. Together the mild mannered older detective and his cheerful younger sidekick plough through cases of murder and deceit, rape and corruption in 60s Britain.

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star
8.67
101 votes

#43 - Planet Earth Live

Richard Hammond and Julia Bradbury are the hosts of this live global wildlife event. For three weeks they will follow the real life and death struggles of baby animals from around the world. It is a critical moment in these young animals' lives, as they try to survive the most challenging month of the year. From Kenya, Richard reports on dramatic stories of lions and elephants. From North America, Julia reports on bears, whales and otters. There will also be reports from around the world, as they follow intimate, real-time stories of meerkats, monkeys and other animals.

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star
8.67
1621 votes

#44 - The Blue Planet

The BBC spent five years and $10 million to produce this landmark exploration of the ocean, a world we know less about than the moon. We go further out and deeper down to show you things that have never been seen before. The Blue Planet: Seas of Life reveals the sea and its communities at their most fearsome and alluring. Until now, we've only touched the surface...

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star
8.67
485 votes

#45 - Nature's Great Events

This fantastic series from the BBC's renowned Natural History Unit combines the epic scale of Planet Earth and the intimate, emotional stories of charismatic animals as they struggle to survive. Using state of the art HD technology, these amazing programmes capture the Earth's most dramatic and epic wildlife spectacles and the intimate stories of the animals caught up in them. Every year, around the world, seasonal changes transform entire landscapes and draw in millions of creatures as these great events unfold.

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star
8.66
2473 votes

#46 - Pride and Prejudice

While the arrival of wealthy gentlemen sends her marriage-minded mother into a frenzy, willful and opinionated Elizabeth Bennet matches wits with haughty Mr. Darcy.

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star
8.66
203 votes

#47 - The Green Planet

Dive into a world where a single life can last a thousand years, with David Attenborough. See things no eye has ever seen, and discover the dramatic, beautiful plant life of Earth.

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star
8.66
1840 votes

#48 - Frozen Planet

Frozen Planet takes you on the ultimate polar expedition. This landmark series brings to the screen the frozen wildernesses of the Arctic and Antarctic as you have never seen them before, and may never see them again...

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star
8.66
321 votes

#49 - Lark Rise to Candleford

Set in the small hamlet of Lark Rise and the wealthier neighbouring market town, Candleford, the series chronicles the daily lives of farm-workers, craftsmen and gentry at the end of the 19th Century. Lark Rise to Candleford is a love letter to a vanished corner of rural England and a heart-warming drama series teeming with wit, wisdom and romance.

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star
8.63
419 votes

#50 - Broken

Father Michael, a Catholic priest presiding over a Northern urban parish who is Modern, maverick, and reassuringly flawed; must be confidante, counselor and confessor to a congregation struggling to reconcile its beliefs with the challenges of daily life.

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