Top 10 BBC Shows That Will Make You Laugh and Cry

Tags: #BBC ,   #OnlyFoolsAndHorses ,   #DoctorWho ,   #PeakyBlinders ,   #Comedy

Alex O'Brien

Alex O'Brien

Last updated:  2023-09-05 07:57:07

Founded in 1922, the British Broadcasting Company or BBC brought us many incredible movies and TV shows. Over the years, the BBC has gone global and has some of the most-watched channels, including BBC World News. However, let's stay focused on their scripted shows this time. Even though Brits have a specific sense of humor, we're sure you'll enjoy many of these productions. This is because our top ten list includes timeless classics but also some recent ones.

10. Hustle

Watch the trailer and get hooked up on the elite con artist scams
Genre: Crime Drama
Seasons/episodes (as of 2023): 8/48
Has it ended: Yes
Spinoffs: None

This crime drama revolves around elite con artists who pull up complicated scams. Adrian Lester plays Mickey as the gang leader and the brain behind all master plans. On the other hand, Albert (Robert Vaughn) is an old scam artist who finds greedy victims looking for easy money. Ash is the tech guy who secures the location and the equipment needed for the job.

Finally, Stacie uses her feminine charms when required, and Danny is an inexperienced conman under Mickey's supervision. Together they pull up some great scams and always target the scum who deserve it. Over the eight years of broadcasting (2004-2012), the Hustle had as many seasons.  

9. Sherlock

Check out yourself why Sherlock is considered to be one of the best detective characters of all time
Genre: Crime/Mystery
Seasons/episodes (as of 2023): 4/13
Has it ended: No
Spinoffs: None

Brilliant British writer Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and his detective investigator Sherlock Holmes have entertained the public since his first appearance in 1887. The character of Sherlock Holmes was an inspiration for many movies and TV shows, and the latest one is on our list – Sherlock.

This version of Sir Arthur Doyle's character lives in 21st-century London, where his methods of solving crimes are still unrivaled. However, modern Sherlock is slightly different from the previous ones, as the main character is less confident. The series features Benedict Cumberbatch as Holmes, Martin Freeman as his sidekick Dr. Watson, and Rupert Graves as detective investigator Lestrade from Scotland Yard.

8. Absolutely Fabulous

Who doesn't enjoy a good laugh? Check out Ab Fab cause these ladies will put a big smile on your face
Genre: Sitcom
Seasons/episodes (as of 2023): 5/39 + movie
Has it ended: Yes
Spinoffs: None

Absolutely Fabulous is a hilarious show that follows two mid-aged women, Edina Monsoon and Patsy Stone, who can't deal with getting old. The plot is based on a ridiculous situation and thoughts that these two apparently not-so-bright ladies have. Also, they are drunks and drug abusers, making their actions even more absurd.

However, they are both successful in the fashion business. Ab Fab, as the series is also known, had five seasons, and it aired from 1992 till 2012. Created by Jennifer Saunders, this is the comedy show that defined the 1990s.

7. Doctor Who

Watch the show and find out why Doctor Who is the longest aired TV show
Genre: Science Fiction
Seasons/episodes (as of 2023): 39/871 (97 not available) + movie
Has it ended: No
Spinoffs: K9, Torchwood, The Sarah Jane Adventures, Class

Doctor Who is among the most iconic British cultural characters, next to James Bond, Sherlock Holmes, and Harry Potter. Thus, we're happy that it got revived. This science-fiction show follows the Time Lord called 'the Doctor" throughout adventures that include exploring the universe by time-traveling.  

One of the best crime BBC shows gained cult status, as many generations have grown up watching it. Doctor Who originally aired from 1963 till 1989 and was renewed in 2005, making it the longest-standing British TV show.

6. Luther

Cool detective and a psychotic murderer join forces! What's not to like?
Genre: Crime Drama
Seasons/episodes (as of 2023): 5/20 + movie
Has it ended: Yes
Spinoffs: None

Excellent performances by the talented Idris Elba make the main character, detective John Luther, get under your skin before the first episode ends. This psychological crime drama follows the detective obsessed with arresting badass female psychotic murderer Alice Morgan (Ruth Wilson). Aware of her intellect and the criminal mind, Luther reaches out to Alice to help him solve other criminal investigations.  

Luther had five seasons airing from 2010 to 2019, and Idris Elba received Golden Globe Award, Screen Actors Guild Award, and others for his performance. Also, the show had eleven nominations for the Primetime Emmy Award.

5. Monty Python's Flying Circus

Monty Python's Flying Circus is a must-see, as this is a holy grail of British comedy
Genre: Satire
Seasons/episodes (as of 2023): 4/45
Has it ended: Yes
Spinoffs: Monty Python's Fliegender Zirkus

In 1969, six talented comedian actors made a TV show Monty Python's Flying Circus. Members of the famous troupe were Graham Chapman, Terry Jones, Eric Idle, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, and Michael Palin. The famous six pushed the borders of what's acceptable and made a surreal comedy combining acting and sketches. This was something new and on the edge of good taste, as they constantly pushed it by the notch.

Their influence on TV comedy was so crucial that the Oxford English Dictionary added the term "Pythonesque" to the dictionary. They even had seven asteroids named after the show and its members!

4. Blackadder

Check out the adventures of sneaky Blackadder and his dumb servant Baldrick
Genre: Period Sitcom
Seasons/episodes (as of 2023): 4/24 + 3 specials
Has it ended: Yes
Spinoffs: No

In this black comedy, talented Rowan Atkinson plays the role of Edmund Blackadder, while Tony Robinson is the dumb servant Baldrick. Over four seasons, the show takes us to different British history periods, from 1485 to 1917. The show follows up Blackadder, and in each season, he's the new character from the same dynasty. 

Still, he's always this sneaky coward character trying to weasel his way out, and of course, he always fails. In addition to the excellent performances by Rowan Atkinson in the third and fourth seasons, the show gets reinforced with the brilliant Hugh Laurie. Blackadder aired from 1983 to 1989 and is one of the best British sitcoms.

3. Fawlty Towers

Watch the worst hotel management ever, and enjoy the hilarious troubles of the Basil Fawlty
Genre: Sitcom
Seasons/episodes (as of 2023): 2/12
Has it ended: No
Spinoffs: None

Fawlty Towers was announced as the best British TV sitcom in 2000 and 2019 by the British Film Institute. The sitcom was written by talented comedian John Cleese and his wife (at the time) Connie Booth. Cleese is Basil Fawlty, the rude, incompetent, and arrogant owner of a hotel on the British Riviera. Of course, his manners always get him in some sort of a mess!

Along with his hotel staff, including the waiter Manuel (who doesn't speak English very well), he runs the hotel and tries to satisfy the needs of eccentric and demanding guests. The series had only two seasons, aired between 1975 and 1979. Of course, it's politically incorrect and non-woke. As the sequel was announced in 2023, let's hope it will keep the same tone.

2. Only Fools and Horses

As Del Boy used to say: "This time next year, we'll be millionaires!"
Genre: Sitcom
Seasons/episodes (as of 2023): 7/64 
Has it ended: Yes
Spinoffs: The Green Green Grass, Rock & Chips

This hilarious sitcom with an unforgettable theme song follows two brothers from a rough part of London, Packham, as they're selling all sorts of crap and looking for the next big score to become millionaires. The sitcom is full of shady and fascinating characters, all meeting at the local pub Nag's Head. 

The main protagonists are the Trotter brothers, where the older one, Del Boy, has a nose for every scam out there. On the other hand, younger Rodney is a goofy fella trying to be honest but always gets involved in family shady business. The sitcom uses cockney slang, so some of the jokes might be harder to get. Only Fools and Horses, written by John Sullivan, had a good running of nine seasons from 1981 till 2003.

1. Peaky Blinders

Don't worry, you won't be the only one who takes the bad guys side
Genre: Crime Drama
Seasons/episodes (as of 2023): 6/36
Has it ended: Yes 
Spinoffs: None

We have saved the best for the end, as in our opinion, the greatest BBC series is Peaky Blinders. The plot is set in Birmingham, England, in the 1920s, and it follows the Shelby crime family after World War I. Even though they are brutal and cruel, they are righteous at the same time. The episodes are intense and exciting, so you won't be bored even for a second.

Excellent Cillian Murphy plays the main character, Thomas Tommy Shelby, as both leading and supporting actors are superb. They make the characters grow on you so much that you'll be taking their side by the end of the first episode. However, we must say that brilliant Tom Hardy stands out even though he's in a supporting role. 

In almost one century, the BBC has produced many other fantastic shows. You might want to check them out because once you get hooked on British humor, there's no turning back. If you are looking for more shows to watch, you should check out our top 10 best Netflix shows ever

Have you ever watched a BBC show? What is your favorite one? Please write to us in the comment section, as we would like to hear your thoughts.

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