BFI TV 100

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The BFI TV 100 is a list of 100 television programmes or series that was compiled in 2000 by the British Film Institute (BFI), as chosen by a poll of industry professionals, with the aim to determine the best British television programmes of any genre that had been screened up to that time.[1]

Selection and criteria[edit]

The BBC produced 70 of the 100 programmes on the list.
Granada Television produced 7 of the 100 programmes on list—the largest by a commercial broadcaster.[citation needed]

The British Film Institute television programme poll was conducted in the year 2000,[citation needed] and its results are reflected in the list that appears in a following section. Initially, a 'big list' of 650 programmes was drawn up by BFI personnel.[2] Television programmes no longer extant in the archives were excluded from consideration.[citation needed] The provisional list was split into six categories: Single Dramas, Drama Series and Serials, Comedy and Variety, Factual, Children's/Youth, and Lifestyle & Light Entertainment.[citation needed] Some programmes were represented in the list by an entire series; however, for some series—e.g., the anthology The Wednesday Play and the current affairs programme This Week—individual episodes were listed.[citation needed] News stories were mostly excluded, with exceptions such as the coverage of the death of Diana, Princess of Wales (on the basis that it would be impossible to determine whether it was the coverage or the news itself that made them important).[citation needed] Sport was excluded for similar reasons, and also because many events such as the 1966 World Cup, while important to those in England, would not necessarily matter to those in other areas of the UK.[citation needed]

The provisional list of 650 was then distributed to 1,600 television industry professionals in the UK, who were each given 30 votes.[2] Each voter was required to cast a minimum of three votes in every category.[citation needed] The judges were also asked to name their top overseas programme (where the U.S. sitcom Frasier was chosen).[2]


The following are the results of the poll, as reported by the BFI and other sources.[clarification needed] Because the list reports decisions made in the year 2000, programmes and series are presented as they were perceived in that year; as such, ones not yet having concluded by the year 2000 are presented as having an open-ended date span in the "Year(s)" column, even if they have subsequently ended.[verification needed] The Genre column, added to the original table, may have a lot of crossover genres and is intended as guide to the "main" genre of each programme.

No. Title[3] Broadcast on Year(s) Genre
1 Fawlty Towers BBC2 1975–1979 Comedy and Variety
2 Cathy Come Home (The Wednesday Play)[4] BBC1 1966 Single Dramas
3 Doctor Who BBC1 1963–1989, 1996 Children's/Youth
4 The Naked Civil Servant ITV (Thames Television) 1975 Single Dramas
5 Monty Python's Flying Circus BBC1 / BBC2 1969–1974 Comedy and Variety
6 Blue Peter BBC1 1958– Children's/Youth
7 Boys from the Blackstuff BBC2 1982 Drama Series and Serials
8 Parkinson BBC1 1971–1982, 1987–1988, 1998– Lifestyle & Light Entertainment
9 Yes Minister / Yes, Prime Minister BBC2 1980–1988 Comedy and Variety
10 Brideshead Revisited ITV (Granada) 1981 Drama Series and Serials
11 Abigail's Party  (Play for Today)[5] BBC1 1977 Single Dramas
12 I, Claudius BBC2 1976 Drama Series and Serials
13 Dad's Army BBC1 1968–1977 Comedy and Variety
14 The Morecambe & Wise Show BBC2 / BBC1 / ITV (Thames) 1961–1983 Comedy and Variety
15 Edge of Darkness BBC2 1985 Drama Series and Serials
16 Blackadder Goes Forth BBC1 1989 Comedy and Variety
17 Absolutely Fabulous BBC2 / BBC1 1992–1996 Comedy and Variety
18 The Wrong Trousers BBC2 1993 Children's/Youth
19 The World at War ITV (Thames) 1973–1974 Factual
20 The Singing Detective BBC1 1986 Drama Series and Serials
21 Pennies from Heaven BBC1 1978 Drama Series and Serials
22 The Jewel in the Crown ITV (Granada) 1984 Drama Series and Serials
23 Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? ITV 1998– Lifestyle & Light Entertainment
24 Hancock's Half Hour BBC 1956–1961 Comedy and Variety
25 Our Friends in the North BBC2 1996 Drama Series and Serials
26 28 Up ITV (Granada) 1985 Factual
27 The War Game   BBC1 1965 Single Dramas
28 The Magic Roundabout BBC1 1965–1977 Children's/Youth
29 That Was the Week That Was BBC 1962–1963 Comedy and Variety
30 An Englishman Abroad BBC1 1983 Single Dramas
31 The Royle Family BBC2/BBC1 1998– Comedy and Variety
32 Life on Earth BBC2 1979 Factual
33 The Old Grey Whistle Test BBC2 1971–1987 Lifestyle & Light Entertainment
34 University Challenge ITV (Granada) / BBC2 1961–1987, 1994– Lifestyle & Light Entertainment
35 Porridge BBC1 1974–1977 Comedy and Variety
36 Blue Remembered Hills  (Play for Today)[6] BBC1 1979 Single Dramas
37 Mastermind  (original format) BBC1 / BBC2 1972–1997 Lifestyle & Light Entertainment
38 I'm Alan Partridge BBC2 1997 Comedy and Variety
39 Cracker ITV (Granada) 1993–1996 Drama Series and Serials
40 Coronation Street ITV (Granada) 1960– Drama Series and Serials
41 Top of the Pops BBC1 / BBC2 1964–2006 Lifestyle & Light Entertainment
42 Inspector Morse ITV (Central) 1987–2000 Drama Series and Serials
43 Grange Hill BBC1 1978–2008 Children's/Youth
44 Steptoe and Son BBC1 1962–1965, 1970–1974 Comedy and Variety
45 Only Fools and Horses BBC1 1981–1996 Comedy and Variety
46 Auf Wiedersehen, Pet  (series 1[citation needed]) ITV (Central) 1983 Comedy and Variety
47 Tiswas ITV (ATV) 1974–1982 Children's/Youth
48 Elgar BBC 1962 Single Dramas
49 Nuts in May  (Play for Today)[7] BBC1 1976 Single Dramas
50 Father Ted Channel 4 1995–1998 Comedy and Variety
51 The Avengers ITV (ABC) 1961–1969 Drama Series and Serials
52 Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy BBC2 1979 Drama Series and Serials
53 The Forsyte Saga BBC2 1967 Drama Series and Serials
54 Hillsborough ITV (Granada) 1996 Single Dramas
55 Dennis Potter: The Last Interview  (Without Walls Special[citation needed]) Channel 4 1994 Factual
56 Bar Mitzvah Boy  (Play for Today)[8] BBC1 1976 Single Dramas
57 Edna, the Inebriate Woman  (Play for Today)[9] BBC1 1971 Single Dramas
58 Live Aid BBC1 / BBC2 1985 Lifestyle & Light Entertainment
59 World In Action ITV (Granada) 1963–1998 Factual
60 Thunderbirds ITV (ATV) 1965–1966 Children's/Youth
61 Talking Heads / Talking Heads 2 BBC1 / BBC2 1988 / 1998 Drama Series and Serials
62 Ready Steady Go! ITV (Rediffusion) 1963–1966 Lifestyle & Light Entertainment
63 Z-Cars BBC1 1962–1978 Drama Series and Serials
64 Culloden BBC1 1964 Single Dramas
65 The Ascent of Man BBC2 1973 Factual
66 A Very British Coup Channel 4 1988 Drama Series and Serials
67 Civilisation BBC2 1969 Factual
68 Prime Suspect ITV (Granada) 1991–2006 Drama Series and Serials
69 The Likely Lads / Whatever Happened to the Likely Lads? BBC2 / BBC1 1964–1966 / 1973–1974 Comedy and Variety
70 Have I Got News for You BBC2 / BBC1 1990– Comedy and Variety
71 The Snowman Channel 4 1982 Children's/Youth
72 Walking with Dinosaurs BBC1 1999 Factual
73 Nineteen Eighty-Four BBC 1954 Single Dramas
74 The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin BBC1 1976–1979 Comedy and Variety
75 Quatermass and the Pit BBC 1958–1959 Drama Series and Serials
76 Between the Lines BBC1 1992–1994 Drama Series and Serials
77 Blind Date ITV (LWT) 1985– Lifestyle & Light Entertainment
78 Talking to a Stranger  (Theatre 625)[10] BBC2 1966 Single Dramas
79 The Borrowers BBC1 1992–1993 Children's/Youth
80 One Foot in the Grave BBC1 1990–2000 Comedy and Variety
81 Later... with Jools Holland BBC2 1992– Lifestyle & Light Entertainment
82 Tutti Frutti BBC2 1987 Drama Series and Serials
83 The Knowledge ITV (Thames) 1979 Single Dramas
84 House of Cards BBC1 1990 Drama Series and Serials
85 This Is Your Life BBC1 / ITV (Thames) 1955–1964, 1969– Lifestyle & Light Entertainment
86 The Tube Channel 4 1982–1987 Lifestyle & Light Entertainment
87 The Death of Yugoslavia BBC2 1995 Factual
88 Till Death Us Do Part BBC1 1966–1975 Comedy and Variety
89 A Very Peculiar Practice BBC1 1986–1992 Comedy and Variety
90 TV Nation BBC2 1995 Factual
91 This Life BBC2 1996–1997 Drama Series and Serials
92 Death on the Rock  (This Week)[11] ITV (Thames) 1988 Factual
93 The Nazis: A Warning from History BBC2 1997 Factual
94 Drop the Dead Donkey Channel 4 1990–1998 Comedy and Variety
95 Arena BBC2 1975– Factual
96 The Railway Children BBC1 1968 Children's/Youth
97 Teletubbies BBC2 1997– Children's/Youth
98 Spitting Image ITV (Central) 1984–1996 Comedy and Variety
99 Pride and Prejudice BBC1 1995 Drama Series and Serials
100 Made in Britain ITV (Central) 1982 Single Dramas

BBC led broadcasters in terms of numbers of programmes/series produced, with 70. Granada Television was the second most represented with 7, and Thames Television and Channel 4 tied for third with 6 each. Central produced four of the listed titles, while ATV produced two, and London Weekend Television, ABC Weekend TV and Associated-Rediffusion produced one each.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "BFI TV 100 - The Top Ten (2000)". Archived from the original on 12 June 2020. Retrieved 12 June 2020.
  2. ^ a b c Barnes, Anthony (6 September 2000). "Just don't tell the Major, Fawlty is our favourite". Birmingham Post. Birmingham: Trinity Mirror. ISSN 0963-7915. OCLC 500151397. Retrieved 18 October 2016.
  3. ^ BFI Staff (4 March 2009). "The BFI TV 100: 1–100". London, UK: British Film Institute. Archived from the original on 11 September 2011.
  4. ^ "The Wednesday Play: Cathy Come Home". BBC Genome. BBC. Retrieved 27 March 2020.
  5. ^ "Play for Today: Abigail's Party". BBC Genome. BBC. Retrieved 27 March 2020.
  6. ^ "Play for Today: Blue Remembered Hills". BBC Genome. BBC. Retrieved 27 March 2020.
  7. ^ "Play for Today: Nuts in May". BBC Genome. BBC. Retrieved 27 March 2020.
  8. ^ "Play for Today: Bar Mitzvah Boy". BBC Genome. BBC. Retrieved 27 March 2020.)
  9. ^ "Play for Today: Edna, the Inebriate Woman". BBC Genome. BBC. Retrieved 27 March 2020.)
  10. ^ "Theatre 625: Talking to a Stranger". BBC Genome. BBC. Retrieved 27 March 2020.
  11. ^ Elstein, David. ""Death on the Rock": 21 Years Later and the Official Version still Lives On". Open Democracy. Retrieved 27 March 2020.)

Further reading and viewing[edit]

External links[edit]