British Telly Par Excellenceby Joan_Ikwig | created - 30 Jan 2017 | updated - 4 weeks ago | Public
I am sometimes tempted to make this list more inclusive, by withdrawing the "par excellence" part and just listing the series that are interesting, even in a bad way. Watching old British shows seems like an intelligent pastime, but in fact it can quickly turn into a nausea fest, exploding with weirdness like Monty Python's penguin. It will take a lot of Parks and Rec marathons to relieve the shock of The Mushroom Picker, so overwhelmingly bizarre it will scare (scar?) even those who love all things bizarre as an entry point to the unconscious. Same goes for several Screen Two productions, notably Bliss (1995), notorious for the most pathetic sex scene ever filmed (and I've seen HBO's Girls, mind you). So after a long consideration I've decided to list only the shows I really like. Some of them are dark, a few are borderline trashy, but each and every one is dear to my heart.
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1. The Beiderbecke Affair (1985)
320 min | Drama
Trevor Chaplin teaches woodwork and likes to listen to jazz. Jill Swinburne teaches English and wants to help save the planet. Trevor tries to buy some jazz records but this leads to ... See full summary »
4. The Corridor People (1966– )
60 min | Thriller, Adventure
A short-lived surreal detective adventure centred around the exploits of security agents Scrotty & Kronk and their battles with the evil but seductive Syrie Van Epp.
6. Ace of Wands (1970–1972)
30 min | Family, Fantasy
Telepathic stage magician, Tarot, and his two assistants solve mysteries and crimes of a bizarre or magical nature, and battle against villains with various powers.
I have to admit this one is borderline tacky but Tarot is so humane and warm that all is forgiven. Besides, I kinda dig tacky new-agey extravaganza.
BBC2 Playhouse (1973–1983)
Caught on a Train
80 min | Drama
Peter boards a train to attend an important business meeting across Europe. His train trip is made more complicated by two women also assigned to his train compartment. One is an ... See full summary »
11. The Ice House (1997– )
TV-MA | 172 min | Drama, Mystery, Thriller
The peaceful, secluded, country hideaway of three diverse, lonely, supposedly lesbian, women is suddenly shattered when their gardener discovers a partially decomposed corpse in the old Ice... See full summary »
13. Prime Suspect (1991)
207 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery
A female police detective investigates a series of serial murders while dealing with sexist hostility from her male comrades.
14. The Prisoner (1967–1968)
TV-PG | 50 min | Drama, Mystery, Sci-Fi
After resigning, a secret agent is abducted and taken to what looks like an idyllic village, but is really a bizarre prison. His warders demand information. He gives them nothing, but only tries to escape.
Number Six aficionados could also check out The Laughing Prisoner, a funny spoof of the series.
15. The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (1984–1985)
TV-PG | 60 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery
Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson solve the mysteries of copper beeches, a Greek interpreter, the Norwood builder, a resident patient, the red-headed league, and one final problem.
I could just watch Brett read a newspaper for hours. He is mesmerizing.
16. No Offence (2015– )
TV-MA | 42 min | Comedy, Crime, Drama
Follows a group of police officers on the front line wondering what they did to end up where they are now, on the ugly side of Manchester.
19. Travel Man: 48 Hours in... (2015– )
Not Rated | 24 min | Documentary, Adventure, Comedy
British comedian Richard Ayoade and a celebrity guest, usually from the comedy world, spend 48 hours in a popular city to discover the must see tourist attractions.