The Broadcasting Press Guild has released its Top 50 Landmark TV Programme List, voted for by its members.

The list spans the last half century, with shows ranging from The World At War and I May Destroy You to Life On Earth and Big Brother.

What are the 50 landmark TV Programmes of the last 50 years? The shows that changed broadcasting, influenced how we look at the world and made us laugh or think in a new way. This is the challenge the Broadcasting Press Guild set its members to mark its 50th anniversary: the resulting Top 50 showcases the incredible breadth, diversity and evolution of British broadcasting over the last half century.

The BPG Top 50 Landmark Programmes of the last 50 Years include 31 BBC shows and eight each from ITV and Channel 4 alongside notable Sky, Netflix and Disney+ programmes. There are 18 dramas, 15 comedies and seven documentaries plus a wide range of other genres.

The BPG members’ votes created the list that features recent shows like Michaela Coel’s BBC drama I May Destroy You, Lisa McGee’s ground-breaking Channel 4 comedy Derry Girls and Peter Jackson’s archive documentary series The Beatles: Get Back for Disney+ alongside classics like David Attenborough’s remarkable Life On Earth, Dennis Potter’s exceptional The Singing Detective, the revolutionary reality TV of Big Brother and the comedy genius of Caroline Aherne, Craig Cash and Henry Normal’s The Royle Family.

The Broadcasting Press Guild was founded in 1974 and has more than 110 members. They are journalists who specialise in covering television, radio and the media, and include critics, previewers, media correspondents and feature writers from national newspapers, broadcasters and leading trade journals and websites. The Top 50 list was compiled as part of the BPG’s 50th annual Awards event that takes place this year on Thursday 21st March.

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 programmes 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.”

The BPG Top 50 Landmark Programmes of The Last 50 Years


1 7 Up series – ITV/Granada + BBC, 1964-2019

2 Life On Earth – BBC, 1979

3 The World At War – ITV/Thames, 1973

4 The Office – BBC, 2001

5 Big Brother – Channel 4, 2000

6 Planet Earth – BBC, 2006

7 Have I Got News For You – BBC, 1990

8 I May Destroy You – BBC, 2020

9 The Singing Detective – BBC, 1986

10 The Day Today – BBC, 1994

11 The Royle Family – BBC

12 Our Friends In The North – BBC

13 I’m Alan Partridge – BBC

14 Boys From The Blackstuff – BBC

15 Blackadder – BBC

16 Strictly Come Dancing – BBC

17 The Thick Of It – BBC

18 Fleabag – BBC/Amazon

19 Only Fools And Horses – BBC

20 The Naked Civil Servant – ITV/Thames

21 Spitting Image – ITV/Central

22 Queer As Folk –-Channel 4

23 The Family – BBC

24 Monty Python’s Flying Circus – BBC

25 House Of Cards – BBC

26 Gogglebox – Channel 4

27 Goodness Gracious Me – BBC

28 The Crown – Netflix

29 Newsnight – BBC

30 Derry Girls – Channel 4

31 Brideshead Revisited – ITV/Granada

32 Chernobyl – HBO/Sky

33 Cracker – ITV/Granada

34 Blue Peter – BBC

35 Inspector Morse – ITV/Central

36 Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy – BBC

37 The Beatles: Get Back – Disney+

38 I, Claudius – BBC

39 Wallace & Gromit: A Close Shave – BBC

40 The Word – Channel 4

41 Death On The Rock – ITV/Thames

42 This is England – Channel 4

43 The Great British Bake-Off – BBC + Channel 4

44 Grange Hill – BBC

45 Pride and Prejudice – BBC

46 Pennies From Heaven – BBC

47 Desmond’s – Channel 4

48 The Big Breakfast – Channel 4

49 Parkinson – BBC + ITV

50 The Traitors – BBC

Jon Creamer

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