I know when you think of the best British TV shows you’ll be thinking of Sherlock, Doctor Who, Peaky Blinders or even Game Of Thrones, but they’re the ones everyone has watched. Well I stay that, I’ve never watched Peaky Blinders or GOT but pretty much everyone else has so there’s no point including them in the list.
This is a list to introduce you to shows that you haven’t watched and should start watching. I thought I wouldn’t need to include The IT Crowd in this list but I’ve met a lot of people at uni that haven’t watched it so I wanted to make sure, hence it being first on the list. So here we go.
1. The IT Crowd
Honestly if you haven’t watched this show by now, what have you been doing with your life? It is one of the best things out there, it’ll be having you ROTFL for real, not just as an acronym.
The IT Crowd is a look on the nerd world that you haven’t seen before, and one that you’ll be able to relate to in many ways. Maurice Moss played by Richard Ayoade is the typical /computer nerd’ stereotype that you see in movies/shows, the awkward type that doesn’t know how to handle social interactions. Chris O’Dowd plays the other IT guy, called Roy, and together they are the best interactions you will ever see in British TV history.
One episode has Roy trapped in a disabled toilet too ashamed to reveal he isn’t actually disabled, so he instead pretends to be disabled for the rest of the night. It is honestly comedy gold seeing everyones face at the spectacle.
It isn’t always laughing at Roy and Moss, there are as many moments that have them pulling jokes on the other people of the world for not understanding technology as they do. They give their department manager a gift of the internet to present at a conference, where everyone believed that this small box was in fact the internet to the disbelief that of Roy and Moss.
How you’ll know you’ve become a fan of The It Crowd is when you start using their catch phrase when it comes to working technology yourself. ‘Have you tried turning it off and on again?’
2. Death In Paradise
A detective series with a twist, the British man has been put on a Caribbean island and doesn’t know how to handle the weather. The beautiful scenery and the hot weather makes for a nice change from the dismal London setting of normal British TV shows, but it also makes you quite jealous of Richard Poole for not loving his location.
Richard, played by Ben Miller, was the first detective to start the series, and he was by far the most ‘traditional’ British which you’ll find yourself relating to. As he chases the British cup of tea across the island and tries to avoid getting sand everywhere while wearing a suit the entire time, you get to watch his marvellous brain figure out some intricate murders.
As you get to series 3 and see Kris Marshall join the show another side to British comedy comes out. We are now represented as a clumsy guy who loves recalling English phrases and riddles which obviously confuse the locals to Sainte Marie.
Death In Paradise is one of your more light hearted murder mysteries having plenty of laughs through the episode, but the way each case is solved is still very technical and has your brain ticking throughout at how it was done. One case even has the skeleton of the victim on display for years without anyone realising, the perfect murder until Richard Poole came along.
3. Not Going Out
Lee Mack basically wrote a TV show that allowed him to drink beer and lounge about all day and be paid for it… He may actually be a genius. I know my explanation of the plot doesn’t exactly sell it very well there, but the jokes that Lee has written will have you laughing for the full 30 minutes episode.
If you’re from the north you will be able to laugh along with the jokes made at Lee’s expense, and possibly get mildly offended. Lee’s flat mate, Lucy, is from a more higher class family so the contrast between the two families brings some classic moments.
The father of Lucy is particularly hateful towards Lee constantly making remarks about his origin as well as his general lack of motivation for doing anything with his life. But the real issue comes from whenever Lee is around Lucy’s mother, he ‘accidentally’ hits on her making the situation very awkward on the TV but funny as hell for us.
Tim Vine also stars in the show bringing his funny one-liners into the mix and another level to the comedy in the show. If you haven’t watched this show, I strongly urge you to because you’ll be laughing non-stop.
This is a show that I can watch over and over again because the comedy that is behind it never gets old. Outnumbered follows the life of a normal family, highlighting all the joys and harsh truths of raising a family. Hugh Dennis and Claire Skinner, playing Pete and Sue Brockman, have 3 children.
Jake is your typical teenage boy struggling with the life of dating and only communicating in grunts. Then you have Ben, the middle child that brings chaos wherever he goes, and then Karen, the youngest who has a million and one questions that the parents can never answer.
Ben and Karen have no filter and it makes for comedy gold. For example, in one episode Pete is at a tennis match and has to bring his children along due to lack of babysitter options. While there Karen tells an elderly gentlemen playing in the match that her eyes are better than his because hers’ are young while his are old and wrinkly. She is therefore superior in the umpire decision making.
5. The Vicar Of Dibley
I love this show, it is light hearted-ish entertainment that literally anyone can enjoy. Both me, my mum and my grandma can sit down and watch this show and be laughing the entire time at it.
Dawn French moves to an old-fashioned and traditional village to be their new vicar but meets with some opposition because she is obviously female. Such a traditional role should be a male right… French stands firm and manages to bring the once old-fashioned village to be a bit more modern, having them use Kylie Minogue to open their village fate as well as talking on the radio and bringing Songs of Praise to the parish.
The characters are nothing you’ve come across elsewhere and are definitely worth watching for. Owen Newitt, played by Roger Lloyd Pack, is a farmer but one that has a major swearing problem and an obsession with finding someone to share his bed with. This means the Vicar gets hit on multiple times to be met with a resounding no. His character is honestly the best at what he can come out with.
Then you have Jim Trott who suffers from a stutter that has him repeating ‘no’ multiple times before he can get the final word out, normally a yes or a final no. There is also Alice and Hugo, the pair share a brain cell and that’s stretching it at times. But they are the most sweet and adorable characters that you just love.
Theres something to love in every episode but there is one episode that trumps everything. The christmas dinner special where the Vicar eats 4 christmas dinners because she can’t bring herself to turn anyone down. At one dinner she has a brussel sprout eating contest that makes me hungry as hell, but then I love brussels, if you hate them you’ll agree with the faces French is pulling throughout.
By the end of the night French has eaten so much that she has to be carried home by a tractor which is the most relatable thing I’ve ever seen after eating a christmas dinner.
And if you needed any more reason to watch this series you are also treated to a little joke at the end of the credits between the Vicar and Alice, who obviously never gets the jokes as they go straight over her head. But they are some great laughs.
6. Peep Show
David Mitchell and Robert Webb play two guys that live together who awkwardly interact with life. We have Mark (Mitchell) who has an office job with a stable income, but he isn’t very good at human interactions, and then we have Jeremy (Webb) who freeloads off of Mark while working on his music career, unsuccessfully. The show follows the two of them and how they interact with some daily problems and their love life issues.
Each episode explores more and more of the awkwardness between the two as new characters are introduced like Jeremy’s friends Super Hans or Big Suze, and on Marks side there is his boss Alan Johnson and Sophie.
If you have watched and enjoyed The Inbetweeners then you will love Peep Show; it has a similar awkward humour but more in the format of adults who are now trying to fit into the world. The show will leave you cringing with laughter but most likely being able to relate, as well as leaving you flabbergasted but wanting more.
7. My Family
This is another family based programme but is far different from Outnumbered. My Family features Ben Harper, a dentist who hate his job and life, Susan Harper, a controlling mother and tour guide, and their 3 children Nick, Janey and Michael.
Nick, who also plays the second detective Humphrey in Death In Paradise, is a useless layabout who gets fired from any job he tries. Janey is a image-obsessed teenage girl who hounds her parents for money to get more clothes, tattoos and piercings. And then Michael is a nerdy young boy who tries to do well at school so he can escape from the mad house as soon as possible.
The family dynamic that is created is just amazing and will have you laughing for each episode. Whether it is at the remarks Ben comes out with at how he loathes his life, or the bad cooking of Susan. No matter what Nick will always bring something to laugh about because anything he does winds Ben up, all he has to do is breath and Ben will rant.
But at the end of everything you still get some sweet family moments because they do all care about each other… deep down.
This is a way for me to get you all watching David Tennant really, he is just brilliant in this show. The emotions that you will feel while watching this is going to have you on the edge of your seat and constantly wondering ‘who did it?’
The series focuses around the body of an 11-year-old boy which was found on the beach, and Olivia Coleman and Tennant have to work together to find out what happened. Their relationship is strained because Coleman feels like the job of being lead on this case should have been hers but was instead given to Tennant. See what you think.
The series follows the family as they come to terms with their loss, and the media storm that comes with such a case. With each episode more clues as to who is responsible are revealed, but with so many twists you’ll still be guessing it even when the killer is revealed.
In the second series the trial is shown where even more drama occurs. It is a sit on the edge of your seat type of drama, but that is what British TV is good at. We are good at doing dramas.