With RadioTimes.com turning 25 this year, we asked our readers to have the final say on which TV show from the last quarter of a century is the best – and after thousands voted in our exclusive poll, we finally have a winner to mark our big birthday.


Throughout our website's lifetime, the TV industry has seen a number of revolutionary changes, from the introduction of streaming sites to the relatively new trend of binge-watching boxsets, and as a result TV shows have never been better.

From fantasy epics like Game of Thrones to fourth wall-breaking antiheroines like the titular Fleabag, the dramatic evolution of the television landscape has meant there were many eligible titles in the running for this award, but only one show could be the winner.

Out of the 25 shows nominated, RadioTimes.com readers chose BBC One's Call the Midwife as their favourite show from the last 25 years.

Sister Frances (ELLA BRUCCOLERI), Sister Julienne (JENNY AGUTTER), Sister Hilda (FENELLA WOOLGAR)
Sister Frances (Ella Bruccoleri), Sister Julienne (Jenny Agutter) and Sister Hilda (Fenella Woolgar) in Call the Midwife BBC / Nealstreat Productions / Natalie Seery

The period drama led the poll with 25 per cent of the vote, while Doctor Who came in second place after receiving 13 per cent.

Trailing in third and fourth place – with seven per cent each and separated by just a single vote – were Line of Duty and Sherlock respectively, while Breaking Bad (five per cent) landed fifth and Game of Thrones (four per cent) came sixth.

Speaking in the latest Big RT Interview, Call the Midwife creator Heidi Thomas told us: "All of us on the show are absolutely delighted to hear that RadioTimes.com readers have voted for us. It was just a really lovely surprise.

"When you’ve been going on for as many years as we have, you know you’re not the thrill of the new anymore, so I think it says a lot about our audience's loyalty. But also about the fact that we’re doing something right in keeping the show fresh as we move forward. That in itself, I think, is the most encouraging thing."

She went on to address the other dramas on the shortlist, saying: "In terms of beating other shows, I don’t think drama should be a competition. I think all dramas of note have something to offer their audience and there’s such a variety of programmes coming at viewers these days from all the different streamers.

"I’m just really proud we’re still up there with shows which are very recent and very heavily promoted."

Created by Thomas and set in 1950s and '60s London, Call the Midwife follows the nuns and nurses at East End convent Nonnatus House as they tend to the medical problems of those living in Poplar.

Call the Midwife first aired on BBC One in January 2012, with the likes of Jessica Raine, Pam Ferris, Bryony Hannah and Miranda Hart starring in the original cast.

While many characters have come and gone over the last 11 years, Jenny Agutter (Sister Julienne), Judy Parfitt (Sister Monica Joan), Helen George (Trixie Franklin), Laura Main (Shelagh Turner), Stephen McGann (Patrick Turner) and Cliff Parisi (Fred Buckle) joined in season 1 and still remain in the cast.

Dr Turner (Stephen McGann) and Shelagh (Laura Main) BBC/Neal Street Productions/Sophie Mutevelian

Speaking at this year's BFI & Radio Times Television Festival, McGann revealed that season 12 – which began filming in April – has been particularly enjoyable to shoot.

"I think it feels very open after the pandemic," he said. "There's a good vibe at the moment on set. So I'm really looking forward to the dynamic of the new series – although we don't get told a great deal, so we don't know any big secrets!"

More like this

Call the Midwife was recently commissioned for a 13th season, and with the show being voted the best series to come out of the last 25 years, it doesn't look as though it will be winding down anytime soon.

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