Here we are – just what you have all been waiting for! My favourite TV shows of all time listed from 10 to 1!
It wasn’t easy and there may be some controversial selections in there but hey, it’s just my opinion and I am happy with the picks.
10 – KILLING EVE
The most recently made show to make my list is Killing Eve which first hit our screens in 2018 on the BBC. The series follows Eve Polastri (Sandra Oh), a British intelligence investigator tasked with capturing psychopathic assassin Villanelle (Jodie Comer). As the chase progresses, the two develop a mutual obsession which gives the show a unique angle compared to similar products.
It is rare that you gain enjoyment from seeing someone killed on the screen but when Villanelle commits a murder it is like a work of art and oftens raises a laugh. For me Jodie Comer is the real star here and the performances she brings to the screen are the main reason that this one makes my top ten.
9 – THE FRESH PRINCE OF BEL-AIR
One from my younger days but a series that I still get enjoyment from when replays are run on The Comedy Channel, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air is the show that really made a star out of Will Smith. First aired in 1990, the series ran for 6 years and 148 episodes. It was an American sitcom starring Will Smith as a fictionalized version of himself, a street-smart teenager from West Philadelphia, who is sent to move in with his wealthy uncle and aunt in their Bel Air mansion after getting into a fight in his hometown. However, his lifestyle often clashes with that of his upper-class relatives giving us lots of laughs but also some life lessons.
The theme song is legendary and so is the show, and that’s why it takes it’s place at number 9 in my list.
8 – THE YOUNG ONES
The Young Ones at Number 8 is another one from my younger days. Alongside The A-Team and Star Wars it is one of my main TV memories from the 1980’s.
When launched in 1982 it was seen as alternative comedy but containing the likes of Rik Mayall, Ade Edmondson, Nigel Planer, Alexei Sayle and Ben Elton, this style of humour soon became the norm.
The Young Ones followed the lives of four dislikable social inadequates, each studying at Scumbag College, but actually just doing whatever the hell they liked and having extremely strange and surreal adventures in the process.
I watched it so many times I pretty much knew the scripts to most of the 12 episodes, with my favourite being Bambi, where the housemates enter a University Challenge competition with disastrous results.
There may not have been many eipsodes produced but like Fawlty Towers, The Young Ones is iconic and an important part of TV and Comedy history.
7 – BILLIONS
U.S. Attorney Chuck Rhoades goes after hedge fund king Bobby “Axe” Axelrod in a battle between two powerful New York figures. Is it good versus bad? and if, so which way around are they?
Despite having little knowledge of the financial markets, except I once watched The Wolf of Wall Street, I loved this series and enjoyed seeing how Axe would generate vast amounts of money with ease and with skills. Damian Lewis leads the cast list but there are so many strong and interesting characters in the show that we have so many storylines and events happening to keep us busy.
Recent content would have probably have pushed it higher in my list but the good news is that Season 5 is due out anytime soon on Sky Atlantic.
6 – CAR SHARE
Peter Kay and Sian Gibson star as assistant manager John Redmond and promotions rep Kayleigh Kitson in this comedy series that aired on the BBC. Working together at an out-of-town supermarket, they are given a company car, but it comes with one condition: They have to share rides together. Without a choice in the matter, the pair are forced to get to know each other during their daily commute. Will they get along from one day to the next? Would they ever get together? The drama and comedy unfolds as John and Kayleigh deal with quirks like lateness and forgetfulness while also singing along to the songs that come on the radio.
Once again another superbly written and acted out comedy series that really showcases the imense talent of Peter Kay. A simple idea that must have been cheap to produce yet very funny and highly popular.
We had just 14 episodes including the specials but they were all brilliant and it deservedly takes it’s place at Number 6 in my list.
5 – THE BLACKLIST
The Blacklist is an American crime thriller television series that debuted in 2013 and has now run for 7 seasons, with another on the way. The show follows Raymond “Red” Reddington (James Spader), a former U.S. Navy officer turned high-profile criminal, who voluntarily surrenders to the FBI after eluding capture for decades. He tells the FBI that he has a list of the most dangerous criminals in the world that he has compiled over the years and is willing to inform on their operations in exchange for immunity from prosecution. However, he insists on working exclusively with a rookie FBI profiler by the name of Elizabeth Keen (Megan Boone).
Each episode shows both Red and the FBI track down and deal with one of the criminals from the list while Elizabeth Kenn is also eager to find out the exact details of her relationship with Red.
I love this series and it has the advantage of feeling like it is always on the telly! James Spader as Red may just be one of the best characters in any show out there and it is him and his style that really elevates the series to the heights that it is at.
4 – THE FOLLOWING
The Following’s first season centers on former FBI agent Ryan Hardy (Kevin Bacon) and his attempts to recapture serial killer Joe Carroll (James Purefoy), following the latter’s escape from prison. Hardy soon discovers that Carroll has surrounded himself with a group of like-minded individuals, whom he met while teaching and while in prison, turning them into a cult of fanatical killers, including his right-hand, Emma Hill (Valorie Curry). When Carroll’s son, Joey Matthews, is abducted by his father’s followers, the FBI team discover that it is the first step in Carroll’s wider plan to escape custody, humiliate Hardy, and be reunited with his ex-wife Claire Matthews.
Season’s 2 and 3 see Hardy track Carroll down before capturing him and putting him on death row.
Kevin Bacon may be the star name in this series but it is all about James Purefoy for me and his outstanding performance as Joe Carroll. He is without doubt my favourite TV show character and series one is probably the best run of programmes on my list.
It rarely appears high on many people’s lists so I think I am on my own in putting this as one of the best of all time but I really did like it and think back to it often.
3 – ONLY FOOLS AND HORSES
Only Fools and Horses is an iconic British television sitcom created and written by John Sullivan. Seven series were originally broadcast on BBC One in the United Kingdom from 1981 to 1991, with sixteen sporadic Christmas specials aired until the end of the show in 2003. Episodes are regularly repeated on UKTV comedy channel Gold and I often watch them again despite having seen them all many times.
Set in Peckham in south-east London, it stars David Jason as ambitious market trader Derek “Del Boy” Trotter, Nicholas Lyndhurst as his younger brother Rodney Trotter, and Lennard Pearce as their elderly Grandad as their sidekick. Backed by a strong supporting cast, the series follows the Trotters’ highs and lows in life, in particular their attempts to get rich.
With 64 episodes this is a favourite for most and it deserves it’s place high up in many lists. Some scenes go down in history for being so popular and well-watched that despite people knowing what will happen next you can’t help but laugh when it happens.
2 – THE OFFICE
Insufferable middle-management type David Brent (Ricky Gervais) is the centre of this mockumentary-style comedy set at a nondescript paper company in a nondescript office park in England. David doesn’t realize that his employees – among them the beaten-down salesman Tim, underappreciated receptionist Dawn and truly weird Gareth – put up with his feeble jokes and inappropriate behaviour only because he signs the paychecks.
This is laugh-out-loud and cringe-embarrasingly stuff from Ricky Gervais which he has been able to produce again in different shows that followed. The Office let us see the real talents of Gervais for the first time and brought us the documentary-style comedy that others have tried to copy since.
The 14 episodes were first aired in the early 2000’s with repeats still aired on a variety of different places now.
Some may not get it but it is comedy gold for me and it takes it’s place as the funniest show of all time in my book.
1 – HOMELAND
Homeland is an American spy thriller television series developed by Howard Gordon and Alex Gansa based on the Israeli series Prisoners of War, which was created by Gideon Raff.
The series stars Claire Danes as Carrie Mathison, a Central Intelligence Agency officer with bipolar disorder, and Damian Lewis as Nicholas Brody, a U.S. Marine Corps Scout Sniper. Mathison had come to believe that Brody, who was held captive by al-Qaeda as a prisoner of war, was “turned” by the enemy and poses a threat to the United States.
With 8 series under the book the storyline by the end has developed and Brody is no more. Saul becomes the male lead alongside Carrie and the two of them do all they can to keep America on track while preventing war in the Middle East.
The first few series were simply outstanding and the last was a real return to it’s heights, with it’s true to life storylife and brilliant twists and turns.
Series 9 is on the way and I can’t wait as I am putting Homeland as the great TV show of all time!
So there we have it – my Top Ten! You won’t agree with them all but surely some of them would have appeared high in your list too!
Honourable mentions need to go to these shows that just missed out on making the cut….
The Trip, Gogglebox, Afterlife, Fawlty Towers, X-Files, Chernobyl, Mr Bean, I’m A Celebrity – Get Me out of Here, Gavin and Stacey and The Simpsons.