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Thursday, 14 September, 2000, 10:39 GMT 11:39 UK
What's your favourite 20th Century British TV programme?
The hilarious antics of hotelier Basil Fawlty have earned Fawlty Towers the title of greatest British TV show of all time.Disclaimer: The BBC will put up as many of your comments as possible but we cannot guarantee that all e-mails will be published. The BBC reserves the right to edit comments that are published.
The British Film Institute called on top TV industry figures to draw up their list of the best 100 programmes of all time.
Old classics like Doctor Who and Monty Python's Flying Circus scored highly, but shows from the 90s struggled to make an impression. Popular comedy Absolutely Fabulous came in at a measly number 17 and the addictive Who Wants To Be A Millionaire at an even less-impressive 23.
The British Film Institute's top ten:
Lisa Sayers, England
Some Mothers do have 'em, Steptoe and Son and Till Death do us part, had my whole family laughing, while I was growing up in London.
Dr. Who changed my life. I was living in California with my wife and children. I loved Dr. Who every Saturday night. One night I dreamed that I was chosen as the new Dr. Who. When I woke up I realised that I could become my own Dr. Who. I bought new clothes, I planned my time travels, and the next year I broke up with my family. Three years later I moved to Thailand. My Tardis is my body and it only travels through space, not time. I have had many companions and many adventures in the fourteen years since I had that dream.
I have to say Red Dwarf, possibly not including the last two series, but the originals are fantastic - whatever the old folks say the 80's did produce some classics.
Ged Byrne, England
These days it's just so much entertainment pulp, but in its early heyday Tomorrow's World was exemplary "informative" television.
Coronation Street is by far the most superior 20th century TV show.
I vote for the OFF button.
The most English of them all, "Are You Being Served?"
Mark Bell, UK
Without a doubt, the greatest program of all time has to be Yes Minister/ Prime Minister. Witty and a great antidote to the power-hugging PM of the time!
As far as comedy goes, I was brought
up on a strict diet of the Two Ronnies,
The Goodies, Monty Python, Fawlty
Towers, Dad's Army and Les Dawson. I quickly learnt
that the modern alternatives that were
competing against the repeats of the aforementioned
shows were simply not a patch on them. It makes me
wish I had been born a few years
earlier so that I could have been
entertained as a youth by such quality without
having to suffer the rubbish that appeared
in the 1980s and onwards.
Pete Hazell, UK
Red Dwarf no doubt!
There are so many excellent shows that the BBC have put together that it's too difficult to say. But what I do know is that one of the worst set of presenters I have ever seen would be the cast of FBI on Saturdays.
Fawlty Towers. Classic seamless comedy. I've just finished watching the complete Fawlty Towers, which I recently bought on video, and it still outshines any recent comedy offering in its inventiveness and breathless timing. A classic, which has well earned its number one spot.
Linda Dowdall, Sydney, Australia
Fawlty Towers is a great show, but I, personally, enjoy watching Dad's Army videos (stupid boy!). My favourite character though is Jonesy, the butcher, although I liked Godfrey ('e's either in the one out back or the one over there). I also like this show as it features the time in history when Britain demonstrated resilience and tenacity on a far greater scale than we(touchwood) have ever had to exhibit, and I hope we'll never have to exhibit the afore-mentioned qualities again!
Without a doubt, Fawlty Towers and Yes, Minister are two of the greatest comedies ever made. Blackadder is fantastic too.
Melanie, USA (ex-pat)
As a fan of the show since I can remember I am so glad that Doctor Who has got the recognition it very much deserves, and came in at third place. Perhaps the BBC will now resume making a regular series of it again!
I think "The Rise and Fall of
Reginald Perrin" had to be one of the
most interesting British comedies.
It poked fun of the mundane aspects
of modern life better than any other
programme. I thought Leonard Rossiter
was brilliant in it.
I think "The House of
Cards" had to be one of the best
British TV drama movies.
S. Arnold, Australia
Are You Being Served?
I've considered this fully and I think GBH has to have been the most captivating TV that I can remember. I was GLUED to the series and had real problems waiting a week for the next instalment. I can't remember feeling like that about any other programme.
I enjoy the comedy "Prime Minister's Question and Answer" live from the House of Commons!!
Rob Docherty, England
Congratulations to Blue Peter. Generations have grown up with hundreds of ideas of what to do with washing up bottles and toilet roll tubes. This programme consistently produces quality educational entertainment.
Bread, The Bill, The Young Ones, all beautiful shows about poor sad Poms. More of the good old stuff please.
"Mind Your Language"!
What about one of the best dramas of the 90's - This Life?
I have never had a TV, ever. The occasional times I do watch, it continually reaffirms that it is Britain's biggest time waster and cause of "brain drain". Get a life - bin your TV !
The World at War was THE seminal documentary on World War 2. It has to go down in television history as one of the best factual programmes ever and certainly should make the top ten.
It's understandable, if a little disappointingly narrow, that almost all the TV programmes mentioned so far have been entertainment, either drama or comedy. British television also has a rich history of intelligent and informative programming to be proud of, and it's disheartening to find no mention of Jacob Bronowski's marvellous 'The Ascent of Man', or Kenneth Clarke's magnificent 'Civilisation'.
Robert Kimber, UK
Some of those one-off drama series, like A Very British Coup or GBH. They demonstrated how brilliant British scriptwriting can be. Similarly with things like the Hillsborough episode of Cracker - things that commented on society whilst 'entertaining' at the same time.
Even though Knots Landing and Dallas are American programmes, I would put these two soaps in my top ten. Thank God for satellite - I get a chance to watch them over and over again!
It has to be Jam, the Chris Morris sketch show that made its own rules on how to use the medium of television. Chris Morris is a genius.
Doctor Who - 3rd. Not bad I suppose, for a show that's constantly frowned upon. So then, after this and the Auntie award, when's it coming back to TV as obviously people still like it? And why weren't The Goodies there - they were constantly more interesting than Python and all its clones?
Bottom has to be the most violent and most hilarious programme of all time, far better than 'The Young Ones' from the same actors! After living in the USA for 2 years I found American humour (with the exception of South Park) to be dull and politically correct, as you cannot say anything on TV without offending someone's feelings!
Absolutely Fabulous would have to get my vote for the top British comedy, followed closely by any series of French and Saunders
My top three would have to include Open All Hours, Red Dwarf and Dinnerladies.
All have set standards for comedy in their own ways and all three still make me laugh every time I see them.
Fawlty Towers deserves the accolade.
The funniest and most memorable of all the BBC comedies.
I can't believe that 'The Day Today' or 'Brass Eye' were not listed in the top 100 - these two series were the most novel and ground-breaking programmes since 'Monty Python's Flying Circus'...
As for my own favourites, Steptoe and Son for sitcoms, Morecambe and Wise for light entertainment, and I Claudius for drama series. As for documentaries, Michael Apted's brilliant series, which began with 7 Up, has been the perfect story of life in Britain in the late 20th/early 21st Century. I also thought the story of Katie and Eilish, about Siamese twins living in Ireland, was beautifully and sensitively handled.
'One Foot in the Grave' would be on my list - I also laugh at the bleak and surreal humour that produced Nippy the stuffed dog and donkey business in the bathroom. Warboys as a standard lamp.
What to choose??? There are so many great programmes (especially the '70s to early '90s BBC comedies).
I think I'll agree with Michael - Blackadder (especially Series 2) is my all-time favourite.
I guess it requires the benefit of hindsight to decide whether something is a true 'classic', hence the lack of '90s shows. Having said that, some of the choices here seem a little odd and I would put the 'cunning wit' of Blackadder above Yes (Prime) Minister (and thus into the top ten) any day!
My own favourites? The Goodies. They used the medium in a new and innovative fashion, of which the better episodes still stand up today (and they wrote all their music). How about some repeats on terrestrial BBC (without the mauling they received on UK Gold)?
The Simpsons. I know it's not English but it's the best thing on the box. It's cutting edge stuff. I says all there is too say about modern life in a highly funny manner.
I can't believe that any listing of the Top 10 programmes does not include Morecambe and Wise. For years, a night's television viewing was built round their show. When working with scriptwriter Eddie Braben their show was groundbreaking untouchable entertainment.
I think Red Dwarf has to be the winner.
It combines laddish humour with a sci-fi backdrop and some cleverly weaved scriptwriting.
Blackadder or Only Fools and Horses - absolutely amazing comedies. The BBC is best known for its great comedies. Personally Blackadder is the best comedy ever, just amazing stuff. Enough said.
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