English TV Shows


There are some fantastic TV shows produced in England every single day of the week. Various genres are covered, from soaps to documentaries, reality TV shows to quiz and gaming shows, dramas to music shows, cookery shows to current affairs … you name it, English TV has it covered. Whether you are seeking something comical, something moving, something griping, real life stories, or informational viewing, you will find what you are looking for amongst the vast selection of English TV shows. Many shows allow viewers to see different regions of England, set in famous cities such as London, Liverpool, Manchester, and Chester. There are those set in rural areas, like the Yorkshire Dales. There are those that follow certain themes all around the country. You can also hear a terrific range of English accents and dialects. There are also shows aimed at young viewers, including those that are purely for entertainment and amusement, and those that are intended to be educational.

Soap TV Shows

Some iconic English soaps over the years have included Coronation street, set in Manchester, Brookside, set in Liverpool, Hollyoaks, set in Chester, Emmerdale, and Heartbeat, both set in the Yorkshire Dales.

When it comes to factual programs, wildlife programs by David Attenborough and the favourite car show, Top Car, are head and shoulders above anything else in their field.  

BBC News is highly rated for its high class reporting of current affairs and world events. 

Period Dramas

English TV is renowned for its period dramas. Often featuring grand buildings, elaborate costumes, and compelling story-lines, these have proved to be a big hit with the English public. Based on the books, Lark Rise to Candleford showed life throughout the 19th century for a variety of sectors and classes within society. Brideshead Visited was another sought after show. Perhaps the most popular period costume drama of all time, Downton Abbey captivated a nation. It was an award winning show, depicting life within a family during the post-Edwardian era. It dealt with historical events, compelling viewers to keep tuning in. Foyle’s War was a detective drama, set during and following the Second World War.

Comic Shows

The Catherine Tate Show and Little Britain were two favourite comedy sketch shows, with characters such as Vicky Pollard and the Gran often imitated by a nation. Leading the way for comedy sketches were Hale and Pace and French and Saunders.

To see some of the humour that the English are known for, Fawlty Towers, Dinnerladies, Fonejacker, Mr Bean, Bottom, and Only Fools and Horses were must views. Blackadder was a very dark situational comedy.

Game and Reality TV Shows

Game shows to grace English TV screens have included the Weakest Link, Who Wants to be a Millionaire, a Question of Sport, Family Fortunes, The Crystal Maze, and more.

Reality TV Shows such as Big Brother, X Factor, Britain’s Got Talent, Desperate Scousewives, Don’t Tell the Bride, How Clean is Your House, How to Look Good Naked, Make me a Supermodel, have either gripped or angered a nation.

Come Dine with Me is a cooking competition program, where strangers eat in each other’s homes and score their hosts. It has inspired groups of friends all over the country to hold their own Come Dine with Me style evenings.

TV Shows for Children

Children have loved the Teletubbies, Dora the Explorer, Alphabet Zoo, Jackanory,Towser, and many more. Characters such as Basil the Brush, Orville, Fireman Sam, Peppa Pig, Emu, Bagpuss, Andy Pandy, and Spit the Dog have been part of many children’s early days. 

Perhaps the most well known children’s English TV show over the years was Blue Peter, which taught millions of children how to make things using items found all over the home, led fundraising campaigns, and aimed to be educational as well as fun.

The Most Popular English TV Shows

Doctor Who has stood the test of time over the years, with various Drs stepping into the tardis and tackling a range of foes. The modern spinoff, Torchwood, also reached high popularity levels.

Various dramas have kept people switched on – Detective dramas such as The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, Poirot, and Inspector Morse are popular. The drama All Creatures Great and Small followed life in the footsteps of a rural vet. Medical dramas such as Casualty, Holby City and Angels have given viewers a new found respect for the medical profession. London’s Burning provided insight into the fire service, and The Bill and Holby Blue were popular police dramas.

The Office, Extras, the Inbetweeners, Gavin and Stacy, Peep Show, and Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crips have entertained numerous viewers.

Shameless was a huge hit, showing life in deprived and depraved council estates. True to life for many people, it illustrates problems that face huge sectors of English society today.

King Arthur was a popular mythological program, containing mystery, magic, intrigue, and wonder.    

Skins was a hugely popular show, showing problems amongst the younger generations, confronting issues such as teenage drug abuse, sex, eating disorders, mental health issues, homosexuality, family problems, pregnancy, suicide, financial issues, religion, illnesses, and more.


Spooks was a gripping drama, set within MI5, the UK’s internal security agency. It deals with threats to the country’s security, terrorism, and similar.

Life on Mars remains a popular viewing choice.

This barely scratches the surface of the fantastic variety of English TV shows.