The BEST BBC Two shows of all time

Every BBC Two show, ranked

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

Madagascar
star
9.54
424 votes

#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.

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The Trap: What Happened to Our Dream of Freedom
star
9.39
310 votes

#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.

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Horizon
star
9.35
2583 votes

#3 - Horizon

Amazing science stories, unravels mysteries and reveals worlds you've never seen before.

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Life on Earth
star
9.34
264 votes

#4 - 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.

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South Pacific
star
9.34
561 votes

#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.

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Gardeners' World
star
9.33
193 votes

#6 - Gardeners' World

Gardeners' World is a long-running BBC television programme about gardening that continues to this day. The first episode was filmed in 1968, presented by Ken Burras and came from Oxford Botanical Gardens. Most of the episodes of the show are 30 minutes long, though there are many specials that last longer.

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The Power of Nightmares
star
9.29
440 votes

#7 - 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.

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Charlie Brooker's Weekly Wipe
star
9.19
366 votes

#8 - Charlie Brooker's Weekly Wipe

The writer and broadcaster offers a satirical look at the latest news from politics, the media and the internet, casting a critical eye over trends in TV, cinema, computer games and social media. Charlie will be joined in the studio each week by guests and there will be regular contributions from American comedian Doug Stanhope.

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The Story of India
star
9.18
164 votes

#9 - The Story of India

For over two millennia, India has been at the centre of world history. But how did India come to be? What is India? These are the big questions behind this intrepid journey around the contemporary subcontinent. In this landmark series, historian and acclaimed writer Michael Wood embarks on a dazzling and exciting expedition through today's India, looking to the present for clues to her past, and to the past for clues to her future. The journey takes the viewer through majestic landscapes and reveals some of the greatest monuments and artistic treasures on Earth. From Buddhism to Bollywood, from mathematics to outsourcing, Michael Wood discovers India's impact on history - and on us.

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Charlie Brooker's Screenwipe
star
9.17
675 votes

#10 - 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.

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The Smell of Reeves and Mortimer
star
9.17
216 votes

#11 - 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.

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Dara O Briain's Science Club
star
9.16
144 votes

#12 - Dara O Briain's Science Club

Combining lively and in-depth studio discussion with exploratory films and on-the-spot reports, Dara O'Briain's Science Club takes a single subject each week and examines it from lots of different and unexpected angles, from sex to extinction, Einstein to space exploration and brain chemistry to music. It brings some of the world's foremost thinkers together to share their ideas on everything, from how to avoid asteroid impact to whether or not we are still evolving.

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Yes Minister
star
9.12
1065 votes

#13 - 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.

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The Story of Science: Power, Proof and Passion
star
9.12
201 votes

#14 - 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.

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Smiley's People
star
9.11
310 votes

#15 - 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.

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Yes, Prime Minister
star
9.08
892 votes

#16 - 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.

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Stewart Lee's Comedy Vehicle
star
9.05
436 votes

#17 - 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.

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I, Claudius
star
9.03
727 votes

#18 - 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.

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Wonders of the Universe
star
9.01
1118 votes

#19 - 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.

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Worricker
star
9.00
55 votes

#20 - Worricker

Since September 2011, the public every day reads of encroachments on their liberty which are justified in the name of security. David Hare's trilogy, ripped from the headlines, focuses on the internal divisions and arguments which have been raging inside an increasingly controversial intelligence community.

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Terry Jones' Medieval Lives
star
9.00
136 votes

#21 - Terry Jones' Medieval Lives

"Monty Python" veteran Terry Jones hosts "Terry Jones' Medieval Lives", a series that delves into the lives of different medieval occupations, including kings, knights, and minstrels.

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Wild China
star
8.93
341 votes

#22 - 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.

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The Incredible Human Journey
star
8.93
191 votes

#23 - The Incredible Human Journey

Dr Alice Roberts travels the globe to discover the incredible story of how humans left Africa to colonise the world - overcoming hostile terrain, extreme weather and other species of human. She pieces together precious fragments of bone, stone and new DNA evidence and discovers how this journey changed these African ancestors into the people of today.

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Stargazing Live
star
8.93
227 votes

#24 - Stargazing Live

Three nights of stargazing and discussion, featuring guest experts and link-ups to observatories around the world.

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QI
star
8.93
3945 votes

#25 - 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.

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Human Universe
star
8.92
391 votes

#26 - 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.

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Fawlty Towers
star
8.91
5796 votes

#27 - Fawlty Towers

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

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The Thick of It
star
8.89
1845 votes

#28 - 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.

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Coupling
star
8.83
3540 votes

#29 - 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.

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Bottom
star
8.82
1280 votes

#30 - 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.

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Galapagos
star
8.81
192 votes

#31 - Galapagos

Galapagos is a three-part BBC nature documentary series exploring the natural history of the Galápagos Islands and their important role in the formation of Charles Darwin's theory of evolution. It was first transmitted in the UK on BBC Two in September 2006. The series was filmed in high definition, produced by Mike Gunton and Patrick Morris of the BBC Natural History Unit and narrated by actress Tilda Swinton. The series was proposed to the BBC by the principle cinematographers Paul D. Stewart and Richard Wollocombe.

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I'm Alan Partridge
star
8.80
1002 votes

#32 - 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.

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The Day Today
star
8.80
343 votes

#33 - 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.

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Wonders of the Solar System
star
8.78
913 votes

#34 - 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.

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Robot Wars
star
8.78
144 votes

#35 - Robot Wars

Robot Wars is a British game show modelled on a US-based competition of the same name. Teams of amateur and professional roboteers make their own robots to fight against each other in both friendly and tournament matches.

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Frankie Boyle's New World Order
star
8.76
99 votes

#36 - Frankie Boyle's New World Order

In a time where Donald Trump can be president, who better to dissect the week's news than Frankie Boyle. The show features Frankie at his brilliant best doing stand-up, review, discussion and audience interaction - all in an attempt to make sense of what's going on around us. Each week Frankie makes a series of bold and often outrageous statements about the week's news.

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Great British Railway Journeys
star
8.76
227 votes

#37 - Great British Railway Journeys

Michael Portillo takes to the tracks with a copy of George Bradshaw's Railway Guidebook. Portillo travels the length and breadth of the country to see how the railways have changed it, and what of Bradshaw's Britain remains.

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The Century of the Self
star
8.74
348 votes

#38 - 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.

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Hebburn
star
8.73
228 votes

#39 - 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.

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Last Chance to See
star
8.72
270 votes

#40 - 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.

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Natural World
star
8.72
430 votes

#41 - Natural World

Expeditions that take the viewer far away from the urban jungle to present the life of animals that live in the real jungle.

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The Hollow Crown
star
8.70
600 votes

#42 - 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.

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A History of Ancient Britain
star
8.69
134 votes

#43 - A History of Ancient Britain

Neil Oliver tells the epic story of how Britain and its people came to be over thousands of years of ancient history - the beginnings of our world forged in ice, stone, and bronze.

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How TV Ruined Your Life
star
8.69
287 votes

#44 - 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.

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The Goodies
star
8.67
202 votes

#45 - The Goodies

Put simply, The Goodies was a live-action version of a typical Warner Bros cartoon, replete with speeded-up footage, film trickery and violent slapstick. The characters bore the same names as the players and were caricature exaggerations of their real selves, hence Tim was the respectable establishment figure, an effete man who grew into a manic royalist; Graeme was the scatty, back-room boffin, the inventor of all manner of weird devices; and Bill was an aggressive, earthy, hairy individual who eventually tended towards environmentalism, socialism and feminism. Each week the three climbed aboard and promptly fell off their customised bicycle for three (the 'Trandem') before remounting to pedal off to their task.

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Civilisations
star
8.67
53 votes

#46 - Civilisations

Explore the visual culture of societies from around the globe, revealing alongside the magnificent objects made in the West the wealth of treasures created by other cultures, from the landscape scrolls of classical China and the sculpture of the Olmecs to African bronzes, Japanese prints and Mughal miniatures.

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Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
star
8.66
640 votes

#47 - 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.

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The Ascent of Man
star
8.66
256 votes

#48 - 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.

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Louis Theroux
star
8.65
800 votes

#49 - Louis Theroux

The documentary work of British-American journalist Louis Theroux.

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The Fast Show
star
8.62
495 votes

#50 - The Fast Show

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

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