BPG Reveals Top 50 Landmark Programs of the Last 50 Years


The Broadcasting Press Guild (BPG) members have crafted the Top 50 Landmark TV Programme List, spanning the last half century, with shows ranging from Michaela Coel’s BBC drama I May Destroy You to David Attenborough’s Life on Earth and reality TV hit Big Brother.

The list includes 31 BBC shows and eight each from ITV and Channel 4 alongside Sky, Netflix and Disney+ programs. There are 18 dramas, 15 comedies and seven documentaries plus a wide range of other genres.

Leading the list is 7 Up series (ITV/Granada & BBC, 1964-2019), followed by Life on Earth (BBC, 1979) in second, The World at War (ITV/Thames, 1973) in third, The Office (BBC, 2001) in fourth and Big Brother (Channel 4, 2000) in fifth.

The rest of the top ten, in consecutive order, features Planet Earth (BBC, 2006), Have I Got News For You (BBC, 1990), I May Destroy You (BBC, 2020), The Singing Detective (BBC, 1986) and The Day Today (BBC, 1994).

The top 20, consecutively, features The Royle Family (BBC), Our Friends in the North (BBC), I’m Alan Partridge (BBC), Boys From the Blackstuff (BBC), Blackadder (BBC), Strictly Come Dancing (BBC), The Thick of It (BBC), Fleabag (BBC/Amazon), Only Fools and Horses (BBC) and The Naked Civil Servant (ITV/Thames).

The next ten, in order, are Spitting Image (ITV/Central), Queer As Folk (Channel 4), The Family (BBC), Monty Python’s Flying Circus (BBC), House of Cards (BBC), Gogglebox (Channel 4), Goodness Gracious Me (BBC), The Crown (Netflix), Newsnight (BBC) and Derry Girls (Channel 4).

Ranking 31 through 40: Brideshead Revisited (ITV/Granada); Chernobyl (HBO/Sky); Cracker (ITV/Granada); Blue Peter (BBC); Inspector Morse (ITV/Central); Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy (BBC); The Beatles: Get Back (Disney+); I, Claudius (BBC); Wallace & Gromit: A Close Shave (BBC); and The Word (Channel 4).

The remainder of the top 50, consecutively, are Death on the Rock (ITV/Thames), This Is England (Channel 4), The Great British Bake-Off (BBC & Channel 4), Grange Hill (BBC), Pride and Prejudice (BBC), Pennies From Heaven (BBC), Desmond’s (Channel 4), The Big Breakfast (Channel 4), Parkinson (BBC & ITV) and The Traitors (BBC).

BPG Chair Manori Ravindran said: “In our 50 years, members of the Broadcasting Press Guild have been the tastemakers of the British TV industry. As such, it felt appropriate to celebrate this milestone birthday with a top 50 list reflecting the programs we believe have created landmark TV moments or have been truly significant to the industry over that time. It wasn’t an easy process—and we welcome healthy debate about our selections—but we believe this list encapsulates the richness of the creative sector and its inimitable contribution to our culture and society.”