Vintage British TV.

by alexanderdavies-99382 | created - 16 Feb 2019 | updated - 3 months ago | Public

Shows throughout the decades, I've selected ones of different genres. In my opinion, actors had far better written material to work with in the early days. Enjoy!

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1. Callan (1967–1972)

60 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

David Callan is the top agent/assassin for the Security Service (British counterintelligence), but he is an embittered man who performs his duties "for Queen and country" under duress. This... See full summary »

Stars: Edward Woodward, Russell Hunter, Lisa Langdon, Anthony Valentine

Votes: 643

One of the first programmes to portray Government operatives in a more accurate light. A masterpiece.

2. Colditz (1972–1974)

50 min | Drama, History, War

The prisoners in Colditz Castle make many attempts to escape captivity from the arrival of the first British prisoners after Dunkirk in 1940 until the liberation of the castle by the ... See full summary »

Stars: David McCallum, Richard Heffer, Paul Chapman, Jack Hedley

Votes: 759

The greatest series based during world war II.

3. Armchair Theatre (1956–1974)

60 min | Drama

This show was a British television drama anthology series of single plays that ran on the ITV network from 1956 to 1974. It was originally produced by Associated British Corporation, and later by Thames Television from mid 1968.

Stars: Harry H. Corbett, Billie Whitelaw, Neil McCallum, Paul Whitsun-Jones

Votes: 128

Includes the finest actors and writers.

4. Special Branch (1969–1974)

60 min | Action, Crime, Drama

Groundbreaking British police drama series following the exploits of the Special Branch of the Metropolitan Police. An elite group of officers tasked with protecting London from spies, terrorists, and subversives.

Stars: Derren Nesbitt, George Sewell, Morris Perry, Fulton Mackay

Votes: 140

The early episodes are more enjoyable.

5. Doomwatch (1970–2016)

50 min | Sci-Fi, Drama

Doomwatch is the nickname for the Department of Measurement of Scientific Work. Under the leadership of Nobel Prize winning physicist, Dr. Spencer Quist, the Doomwatch team struggled, for ... See full summary »

Stars: John Paul, Joby Blanshard, Simon Oates, Vivien Sherrard

Votes: 136

A gripping and fascinating series.

6. Doctor Who (1963–1989)

TV-PG | 45 min | Adventure, Drama, Family

The adventures in time and space of the Doctor, a Time Lord who changes appearance and personality by regenerating when near death, and is joined by companions in battles against aliens and other megalomaniacs.

Stars: William Hartnell, Patrick Troughton, Jon Pertwee, Tom Baker

Votes: 35,605

At its very best from 1963 till 1981.

7. A for Andromeda (1961)

45 min | Drama, Sci-Fi

In 1970, a team of scientists decipher a mysterious signal from space and discover that it provides instructions to build a powerful super-computer. Once built, this computer provokes ... See full summary »

Stars: Esmond Knight, Patricia Kneale, Peter Halliday, Noel Johnson

Votes: 95

8. Quatermass II (1955)

30 min | Drama, Sci-Fi, Horror

Professor Quatermass is trying to perfect a dangerously unstable nuclear-powered rocket engine. After a disastrous test firing in Australia, his soon-to-be son-in-law, Captain John Dillon, ... See full summary »

Stars: John Robinson, Monica Grey, Hugh Griffith, John Stone

Votes: 371

More detailed in its story than the "Hammer" film.

9. Quatermass and the Pit (1958–1959)

30 min | Drama, Sci-Fi, Horror

A team of scientists search for the origin and purpose of a mysterious capsule found on a building site.

Stars: André Morell, Cec Linder, Anthony Bushell, John Stratton

Votes: 905

Superior to the 1967 film.

10. The Main Chance (1969–1975)

60 min | Drama

Maverick lawyer David Main (John Stride) commutes between his twin bases in London and Leeds. His seemingly devil-may-care attitude is contrasted with the steady and cautious approach of ... See full summary »

Stars: John Stride, Margaret Ashcroft, John Wentworth, Anna Palk

Votes: 32

11. The Plane Makers (1963–1965)

60 min | Drama

The day-to-day story of a multi-million pound aerospace company, its new jet plane, its test-pilot, its workers and its ruthless and hard-nosed managing director John Wilder, the embodiment of modern, unflinching capitalism.

Stars: Jack Watling, Patrick Wymark, Norma Ronald, Reginald Marsh

Votes: 22

Worth repeated viewings.

12. Redcap (1964–1966)

50 min | Crime, Drama

The cases & adventures of tough Sergeant John Mann, officer of Her Majesty's Royal Military Police Special Investigation Branch.

Stars: John Thaw, Keith Barron, James Grout, Ric Hutton

Votes: 33

Before he became Regan, John Thaw was Sgt. Mann.

13. Village Hall (1974–1975)

60 min | Comedy, Drama

Anthology series with each episode a different story set in a village hall.

Stars: Reginald Barratt, Priscilla Morgan, Frank Crompton, Stella Moray

Votes: 14

14. Gazette (1968– )

60 min | Drama

London millionaire playboy, James Hadleigh, returns to his Yorkshire birthplace and buys a local newspaper his father founded decided on turning it into a relevant force for change against the wishes of its plodding editor, Frank Walters.

Stars: Gillian Wray, Jon Laurimore, Michael Blackham, Gerald Harper

Votes: 7

Excellent series, there should have been more episodes.

15. Hadleigh (1969–1976)

60 min | Drama

James Hadleigh is the squire of the village in this series created by Robert Barr.

Stars: Gerald Harper, Peter Dennis, Ambrosine Phillpotts, Alastair Hunter

Votes: 46

16. Adam Adamant Lives! (1966–1967)

50 min | Adventure, Sci-Fi

In 1902, Edwardian adventurer Adam Adamant is frozen alive in a block of ice by his arch-nemesis, the Face. In 1966, workmen discover him and he is revived, perfectly preserved but ... See full summary »

Stars: Gerald Harper, Juliet Harmer, Jack May, Peter Ducrow

Votes: 183

Quirky and entertaining.

17. The Avengers (1961–1969)

TV-14 | 60 min | Action, Comedy, Crime

A quirky spy show of the adventures of eccentrically suave British Agent John Steed and his predominately female partners.

Stars: Patrick Macnee, Diana Rigg, Honor Blackman, Linda Thorson

Votes: 6,956

18. The Brothers (1972–1976)

50 min | Drama

Robert Hammond died while "doing the deed" with his secretary/mistress Jennifer. His 3 sons Edward, Brian and David inherit the family trucking company and try to run it.

Stars: Jean Anderson, Robin Chadwick, Jennifer Wilson, Derek Benfield

Votes: 66

19. Undermind (1965)

60 min | Sci-Fi

Personnel Officer Drew Heriot returns to England after working in Australia to discover his brother behaving oddly, to the distress of his sister-in-law Anne. Investigating together they ... See full summary »

Stars: Jeremy Wilkin, Rosemary Nicols, Denis Quilley, John Barron

Votes: 22

20. 1990 (1977–1978)

55 min | Drama, Sci-Fi, Thriller

In a dystopian future, Britain is under the grip of the Home Office's Public Control Department (PCD), a tyrannically oppressive bureaucracy riding roughshod over the population's civil liberties.

Stars: Edward Woodward, Robert Lang, Tony Doyle, Paul Hardwick

Votes: 107

21. The Pathfinders (1972– )

60 min | Drama, War

World War II Royal Air Force squadron behind enemy lines.

Stars: Robert Urquhart, Jack Watling, Julian Orchard, Jack May

Votes: 52

22. Minder (1979–1994)

60 min | Comedy, Crime, Drama

Arthur Daley, a small-time conman, hires former boxer Terry McCann to be his "minder", so Terry can protect him from other small-time crooks. While Terry is trying his hardest to satisfy ... See full summary »

Stars: George Cole, Glynn Edwards, Dennis Waterman, Gary Webster

Votes: 2,015

23. Budgie (1971–1972)

60 min | Drama

Chirpy Cockney petty crook Ronald "Budgie" Bird is the main character in this British television series. Budgie was the eternal failure, with every scam, and every attempt to make his ... See full summary »

Stars: Adam Faith, Iain Cuthbertson, Lynn Dalby, June Lewis

Votes: 212

24. The Stone Tape (1972 TV Movie)

90 min | Fantasy, Horror, Sci-Fi

A research team from an electronics company move into an old Victorian house to start work on finding a new recording medium. When team member Jill Greeley witnesses a ghost, team director ... See full summary »

Director: Peter Sasdy | Stars: Michael Bryant, Jane Asher, Iain Cuthbertson, Michael Bates

Votes: 1,298

Genuinely creepy and superbly written.

25. The Signalman (1976 TV Movie)

38 min | Drama, Horror

A lonely Signalman is visited by a stranger.

Director: Lawrence Gordon Clark | Stars: Denholm Elliott, Bernard Lloyd, Reginald Jessup, Carina Wyeth

Votes: 1,202

Gripping from beginning to end.

26. Play for Today (1970–1984)

75 min | Comedy, Drama

A British television anthology drama series that aired on BBC1 between 1970 and 1984.

Stars: Alison Steadman, Nigel Hawthorne, Tony Caunter, David Daker

Votes: 239

27. The Wednesday Play (1964–1970)

75 min | Drama

Series of one-off plays made by BBC television, which gave breaks to a wide range of writers and directors in the late 1960s, such as Dennis Potter, Ken Loach, David Mercer, and John ... See full summary »

Stars: Edwin Brown, Neville Smith, Tony Selby, Michael Robbins

Votes: 82

28. Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1976 TV Movie)

100 min | Drama

The story of conflicts, power plays and secrets in a wealthy Mississippi family.

Director: Robert Moore | Stars: Laurence Olivier, Maureen Stapleton, Jack Hedley, Robert Wagner

Votes: 280

29. Come Back, Little Sheba (1977 TV Movie)

120 min | Drama

An emotionally remote recovering alcoholic and his dowdy, unambitious wife face a personal crisis when they take in an attractive lodger.

Director: Silvio Narizzano | Stars: Laurence Olivier, Joanne Woodward, Carrie Fisher, Nicholas Campbell

Votes: 72

30. Saturday Sunday Monday (1978 TV Movie)

98 min | Drama

One Saturday evening, Rosa Priore (Dame Joan Plowright) is preparing a magnificent Sunday lunch for her family and their friends. By Sunday afternoon, her life and marriage are in ruins.

Director: Alan Bridges | Stars: Joan Plowright, Maggie Wells, Frank Finlay, Nicholas Clay

Votes: 36

32. Daphne Laureola (1978 TV Movie)

90 min | Drama

A young man becomes infatuated with the exotic Lady Pitts, whose much older husband is not pleased.

Director: Waris Hussein | Stars: Arthur Lowe, Grégoire Aslan, Jan Conrad, Jane Carr

Votes: 46

33. King Lear (1983 TV Movie)

158 min | Drama

Aging King Lear invites disaster, when he abdicates to his corrupt, toadying daughters, and rejects his loving and honest one.

Director: Michael Elliott | Stars: Colin Blakely, Leo McKern, Robert Lindsay, Laurence Olivier

Votes: 755

34. The Professionals (1977–1983)

50 min | Action, Comedy, Crime

Bodie and Doyle, top agents for Britain's CI5 (Criminal Intelligence 5), and their controller, George Cowley fight terrorism and similar high-profile crimes. Cowley, a hard ex-MI5 operative... See full summary »

Stars: Gordon Jackson, Martin Shaw, Lewis Collins, Bridget Brice

Votes: 2,733

All very comic strip.

35. The Sandbaggers (1978–1980)

TV-14 | 60 min | Thriller

The missions of an elite British Intelligence covert operations unit.

Stars: Roy Marsden, Ray Lonnen, Jerome Willis, Bob Sherman

Votes: 662

36. Father Brown (1974)

TV-14 | 50 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

Based on the stories of G.K. Chesterton, a British Catholic Priest solves mysteries.

Stars: Kenneth More, Dennis Burgess, David Buck, Graham Crowden

Votes: 316

This series captures the essence of both the main character and the stories effectively.

37. The Nine Tailors (1974)


The title refers to the nine strokes of a church bell to announce the death of a man. In this adaptation of Dorothy L. Sayers's intricate, nostalgic, and atmospheric novel of the same name,... See full summary »

Stars: Ian Carmichael, Glyn Houston, Elizabeth Proud, Patrick Jordan

Votes: 305

38. Clouds of Witness (1972)


Lord Peter's brother, the Duke of Denver is accused of murdering their sister Mary's fiancé. It's up to Lord Peter and his faithful man Bunter to untangle all the clues and the ... See full summary »

Stars: Ian Carmichael, Glyn Houston, Mark Eden, Rachel Herbert

Votes: 293

39. Murder Must Advertise (1973–1974)


When one of the copy writers of Pym's Advertising Agency meets his death by falling down a spiral staircase, a new "writer" joins the staff to investigate the matter.

Stars: Ian Carmichael, Mark Eden, Rachel Herbert, Paul Darrow

Votes: 280

40. The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club (1972–1973)

180 min | Crime, Mystery

When one of the members of the Bellona Club passes away, Lord Wimsey is brought in to determine the time of death for testamentary purposes.

Stars: Ian Carmichael, Terence Alexander, Anna Cropper, Donald Pickering

Votes: 262

41. Five Red Herrings (1975)

Crime, Mystery

Solve the mystery with Lord Peter Wimsey, based on the book by Dorothy L Sayers.

Stars: Ian Carmichael, Glyn Houston, Roy Boutcher, David Rintoul

Votes: 240

42. Dr. Finlay's Casebook (1962–1971)

50 min | Drama

Dr. Finlay is a member of a medical practice in the Scottish town of Tannochbrae during the late 1920s.

Stars: Bill Simpson, Andrew Cruickshank, Barbara Mullen, Eric Woodburn

Votes: 96

43. The Saint (1962–1969)

TV-PG | 50 min | Action, Crime, Drama

Simon Templar a wealthy adventurer known as The Saint, travels around in his white Volvo P1800S.

Stars: Roger Moore, Ivor Dean, Leslie Crawford, Justine Lord

Votes: 4,706

Still the number 1 "ITC" show.

44. Secret Agent (1964–1967)

TV-PG | 49 min | Action, Adventure, Crime