The British Shows That Are Loved All Over The World

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The UK has made great shows over the years, but these are the British shows that are loved the world over and have stood the test of time.

The UK’s produced shows such as The Office, Planet Earth, Luther, Doctor Who to name but a few.

However, the UK’s also produced some of the best and most successful game shows ever made.

Research from Betway Casino has revealed that “UK TV exports made a staggering £1.48 billion worldwide in 2020”.

So, what I was thinking of doing in this feature was coming up with the best scripted British shows and the best non-scripted ones.

For such a small country, the United Kingdom has made a lot of brilliant and hugely popular shows that are watched and loved worldwide.

Let’s get into some of the very best ones ever made.

British TV shows that are loved the world over

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Credit: HBO

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The UK is one of the world’s most successful countries when it comes to the TV industry.

It’s known for setting worldwide trends when it comes to TV and other countries tend to mimic what’s working well on UK-based TV channels.

With this in mind, it’s no wonder that UK TV exports made an impressive £1.48 billion ($1.97 billion) last year (via Betway).

It’s actually really interesting to see how one of these shows ends up ‘going global’.

What ends up happening once a show gains traction in the UK – such as Britain’s Got Talent or The X Factor, is that other countries make their own version of the show.

What happens in these cases is that TV studios or producers look to sell it on to international markets.

This is how other countries can adapt the show for their own channels and markets.

This is the case with other shows that originally started in the UK such as Strictly Come Dancing, The Chase and Who Wants To Be A Millionaire.

As mentioned above, there’s a lot of money in these sorts of non-scripted shows and audiences tune in every week to watch them.

The Best Non-Scripted British Shows

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Credit: ITV

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So, these are the very best British non-scripted TV shows:

  • Strictly Come Dancing
  • Britain’s Got Talent
  • The X Factor
  • Love Island
  • Come Dine With Me
  • Great British Bake Off
  • Who Wants To Be A Millionaire
  • Gogglebox
  • First Dates

There is a show that is kind of non-scripted, but also not really, that I wanted to mention.

That’s Planet Earth – narrated by the iconic Sir David Attenborough.

I’ve seen this show categorised in different places and being ‘non-scripted’, but that’s not quite the case.

This show is very much scripted in the sense that it’s edited to tell a story that has been agreed upon beforehand.

So, for that reason, I felt like I couldn’t add it to the non-scripted list, but I also couldn’t really add it to the scripted list either.

It comes somewhere in between.

The Best Scripted British TV shows

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Credit: Channel 4

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OK, onto the best scripted British shows ever made that are also hugely popular overseas.

Now, this is an interesting one, because whereas there are very successful versions of British non-scripted shows overseas, the same can’t be said about scripted one.

Good examples of this would be with The Inbetweeners and The IT Crowd.

Both of these shows were brilliant but were then remade over in the US and they really didn’t work.

The only one that did work that I can think of was The Office.

The US version of The Office is, in my humble opinion, better than the British version.

However, I do think of that show as an outlier to the rule.

Interestingly enough, British shows such as Doctor Who, Downton Abbey and Planet Earth contributed a huge 70% of export sales, surpassing £1bn and making them the UK industry’s largest source of income.

This demonstrates that British shows are not only very popular overseas, but also a vital part of the UK’s worldwide exports.

Anyway, these are the British scripted shows that we, here at Small Screen, believe to be the very best:

  • The Office
  • Extras
  • Downtown Abbey
  • Chernobyl
  • His Dark Materials
  • Doctor Foster
  • Misfits
  • Doctor Who
  • Luther
  • The IT Crowd
  • The Inbetweeners
  • Broadchurch
  • I May Destroy You
  • It’s A Sin
  • A Very English Scandal
  • Black Mirror
  • The Crown
  • Fawlty Towers

I might have missed from great shows on this list because there have been so many.

What do you make of this feature?

Are there any British shows that we’ve forgotten to include in this feature?

Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

What do you make of this story? Let us know in the comments below or on our Facebook, Twitter or Instagram pages! And if you enjoy listening to film podcasts, why not check out our podcasts, Small Screen Stories and Small Screen Film Club wherever you get your podcasts!



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