Later this month, Radio Times celebrates 100 years of being the home of entertainment for its many readers - giving the best picks for television and radio.


Whether it's the sci-fi delights of Doctor Who, sporting events, history-making news moments, soapy drama, or just the sheer awe of what the arts can do, Radio Times has been there to provide the information viewers and listeners need to get the content they love.

So, to mark the centenary, the magazine has assembled some much-loved faces from screen, radio and the written word to deliver the 100 best shows from television and radio in chronological order.

Radio Times' Top 100 shows: Russell T Davies and more count down the best

1. Desert Island Discs - BBC Forces Programme (1942)

Desert Island Discs
Desert Island Discs

The definitive interview programme that has passed the test of time. My mother listened religiously, and my youngest daughter recently told me about a great podcast she’d just discovered that I might like… Shem Law, co-editor of Radio Times.

2. Come Dancing - BBC Television (1949)

In among all the dreary, dull programmes that leave you feeling depressed, this series and its present-day counterpart are programmes that have brought glamour, fun, excitement and live competition – sunlight in people’s lives when so much is not. Angela Rippon, broadcaster.

3. The Archers - BBC Home Service (1950)

I’m not sure how I got into this, but I must have been very young because I remember hearing it in my room in Fair Isle Bird Observatory. My colleagues mocked me for it, but I know that one of them is now even more of an addict than I am. Ann Cleeves, crime author.

4. Billy Bunter of Greyfriars School - BBC Television (1952)

I never missed an episode. Because Bunter was round and loved cakes, and because the boys at Greyfriars were regularly beaten, they wouldn’t make the series today, but Gerald Campion (in his 30s when he started playing the part of the schoolboy) was hilarious in the title role. We lapped it up. Gyles Brandreth, writer and broadcaster.

5. Panorama - BBC Television (1953)

The one constant source of essential truth that’s been running all my life. It still makes me shout and applaud now. Chris Packham, presenter and campaigner

6. Hancock’s Half Hour - BBC Light Programme (1954)

Tony Hancock, photographed on the set of Hancock’s Half-Hour, 1959
Tony Hancock, photographed on the set of Hancock’s Half-Hour, 1959 Radio Times/Don Smith

More on radio than on TV, a sort of surrealist existential despair, which makes life’s disappointments feel more hilarious than miserable. Libby Purves, broadcaster.

7. Zoo Quest - BBC Television (1954)

David Attenborough is a man who has contributed more to our understanding of our planet than any other person in my lifetime. Chris Tarrant, broadcaster.

8. My Word! - BBC Home Service (1956)

Denis Norden and Frank Muir being funny, clever and inventive. It was amiable and a good deal sharper than modern comedy. Justin Webb, broadcaster.

9. Today - BBC Home Service (1957)

Specifically on 10 November 2012, when John Humphrys eviscerated his own boss, BBC director general George Entwistle, about the mishandling of a Newsnight film. A masterclass in interrogation, and proof that BBC journalism really can be fearless. Mr Entwistle resigned that evening. Ed Stourton, broadcaster.

10. Blue Peter - BBC Television (1958)

British television presenters John Noakes (1934 - 2017), Valerie Singleton, and Peter Purves celebrating Petra's sixth birthday with some of her canine friends at the Blue Peter studios, UK, 4th November 1968.
John Noakes, Valerie Singleton and Peter Purves celebrating Petra's sixth birthday with some of her canine friends at the Blue Peter studios in 1968. Getty/FC

The birth of interactive TV. A new biography of Biddy Baxter by Richard Marson (both former BP editors) shows a programme being made with love, passion and sheer, bloody hard work. Russell T Davies, writer and producer.

11. Danger Man - ITV (1960)

For my money, the greatest spy drama/adventure series ever made. For energy, excitement and style, nothing has ever equalled it. Gyles Brandreth.

12. Coronation Street - ITV (1960)

For many years, this was the show for which everything stopped on a Monday and a Wednesday night. These people were family. At its best this show made us care about characters we had never met, and dilemmas we had never faced, with empathy and humour. Peter Bowker, screenwriter.

13. Z Cars - BBC TV (1962)

Every British police show to this day contains a trace of its DNA. It managed to reflect the realism of Play for Today in the guise of a returning series. When “Inky” the police dog was shot in a botched raid, the dog had to appear live on Blue Peter to reassure the audience that he was alive and well. Peter Bowker.

14. The Saint - ITV (1962)

This was the first show I recall my parents loving and us watching as a family. Roger Moore was charismatic and charming, and watching him, I think, formed part of my own Britishness. I still can’t believe I was lucky enough to become friends with him. Sanjeev Bhaskar, actor and comedian.

15. Doctor Who - BBC TV (1963)

Black-and-white image of Carole Ann Ford as Susan Foreman and William Hartnell as The Doctor for Doctor Who.
Carole Ann Ford as Susan Foreman and William Hartnell as The Doctor in Doctor Who. BBC/Radio Times

I remember the first episode with William Hartnell and it became the highlight of my week. On my wedding day, between the lunch and the party in Woolacombe Village Hall in the evening, we all trooped back to my parents’ house to drink my dad’s home-brew and watch it. Ann Cleeves.

16. Top of the Pops - BBC TV (1964)

It was like getting a visit in my sitting room from the most important people in my world. I would feel so special as I gazed at the telly and thought David Essex was singing just for me. Andi Oliver, chef and broadcaster.

17. I’m Sorry, I’ll Read That Again - BBC Home Service (1964)

This is the radio comedy show that my maths teacher played to us every Wednesday night. I still remember some of the terrible jokes and it sometimes seems to me that every comedian I’ve ever loved began their careers here. Anthony Horowitz, novelist and screenwriter.

18. Play School - BBC2 (1964)

All of Play School was essential viewing, but Floella Benjamin was everything to me! Seeing a dark-skinned, clever, artistic Black girl on my TV was like the holy grail. Her voice reading the stories was like a balm to my secretly anxiety-filled, little-girl heart and I am forever grateful to her for that gift. Andi Oliver.

19. Seven Up! - ITV (1964)

The idea of taking 14 seven-year-olds and seeing their take on the world was an interesting concept. To have then followed them through their lives, catching up with them every seven years up to the age of 63, is breathtaking. The honesty and unpredictability of following the joys, the challenges and the tragedies that can befall a random group of people across a lifetime has been profoundly moving. Sanjeev Bhaskar.

20. Match of the Day - BBC2 (1964)

A perfect format: highlights of the day’s matches followed by three pundits’ discussion, while you sit at home shouting at them. Part of the show’s genius is to understand that the main pleasure to be had from discussing football is to disagree. The show is also a telling piece of social history, the manners and styles of the presenters and the game itself a great indicator of shifting social mores. Peter Bowker.

21. The Singing, Ringing Tree - BBC1 (1964)

This dark and disturbing eastern European fairy tale still gives me nightmares today – scarier than any horror film I’ve ever seen. Chris Packham.

22. The Magic Roundabout - BBC1 (1965)

Magical indeed from Eric Thompson. Only slightly more bizarre than the teatime news that followed. Eddie Mair, broadcaster.

23. The World Cup Final - BBC1/ITV (1966)

There’s not been a day like it since. I watched it with my father, who insisted on wearing all his medals from World War Two. I said, “Dad, it’s a game of football”, and he said, “No, this is a war.” Chris Tarrant.

24. Talking to a Stranger - BBC2 (1966)

Four-part drama by John Hopkins, marking a high point in BBC drama productions. Joan Bakewell, broadcaster.

25. Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons - ITV (1967)

Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons
Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons ITV

The epitome of Gerry Anderson’s “Supermarionation”, an indestructible puppet hero and the best of 1960s science-fiction action. The Captain was also a fashion icon for me. I still like to dress like him. Chris Packham.

26. The Radio 1 Breakfast Show - Radio 1 (1967)

In all its iterations, on any station. With a song, a jingle and a joke, it changed the way our days began. Russell T Davies.

27. Just a Minute - Radio 4 (1967)

Panellist Peter Jones called it ludicrous, and it always has been. Eddie Mair.

28. The Dave Allen Show - BBC1 (1968)

A masterly exponent of comedy who showed that it’s possible to sit, talk and command humour and drama in one take. Joan Bakewell.

29. Dad’s Army - BBC1 (1968)

As a child I watched this being filmed in and around Thetford, Norfolk. I’ve seen every episode several times but, such is the brilliance of the writing, I will always watch again. Shem Law.

30. Civilisation - BBC2 (1969)

Kenneth Clark’s ambition was simple, if audacious: to stand in front of the finest works of art in the Western canon and explain them to an audience of millions. Clark educated a nation and inspired his channel controller David Attenborough to do the same for the natural world. Tom Loxley, co-editor of Radio Times.

31. Star Trek - BBC1 (1969)

Leonard Nimoy as Mr Spock in the Star Trek TV series
Leonard Nimoy as Mr Spock in the Star Trek TV series (Getty) Getty Images

It’s not just the great plots and characters. What I really love about rewatching it is the way it looks: the bright, warm colours, the wonderful use of shadow. But it is the friendships and optimism that shine. Spock and Uhura’s intelligence, beauty, wit and warmth mean this will always be the show I watch to cheer me up and inspire me. Samira Ahmed, broadcaster.

32. Monty Python’s Flying Circus - BBC1 (1969)

Subversive, creative, bonkers and often very funny, Monty Python’s Flying Circus reinvented sketch-show comedy, spawned a million playground chants and conquered America. Tom Loxley.

33. The Goodies - BBC2 (1970)

With its combination of satire, surreal plots, visual effects and Bill Oddie’s pioneering comedy songwriting, no show has given me more joy. Samira Ahmed.

34. The Two Ronnies - BBC1 (1971)

Always in the shadow of Morecambe and Wise, but Ronnie Barker’s exceptional writing often elevated it above. Now, where did I put those “‘andles for forks”? Shem Law.

35. Upstairs, Downstairs - ITV (1971)

In a form of soap opera, it traced intelligently and accurately the life and social transitions from 1903 up to the 1930s. Libby Purves.

36. The Morecambe and Wise Christmas Show - BBC1 (1971)

Ernie wise, Eric Morecambe and des O’Conner. In rehearsals for the 1975 Morecambe and wise Christmas Show
Ernie Wise, Eric Morecambe and Des O’Connor on the 1975 Morecambe and Wise Christmas Show. Radio Times/Don Smith

Even decades later, the daft former music-hall duo of Eric Morecambe and Ernie Wise can still tickle the nation‘s funny bones, as they memorably did with conductor André Previn. Sublime comedy. Michael Grade, TV executive.

37. Weekend World - ITV (1972)

Teenage me marvelled at Brian Walden’s searching hour. Eddie Mair.

38. The Ascent of Man - BBC2 (1973)

This went a little over my head aged 11. But subsequent viewing has shown me what a thoughtful and enlightening piece of television it was. Sets by Feliks Topolski, incidental music by Pink Floyd and an appearance by Henry Moore. Forget The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, this series did actually explain the meaning of life. Shem Law.

39. M*A*S*H - BBC2 (1973)

Still the best combination of comedy and drama in a TV half-hour. The scripts were extraordinarily clever, moving and funny. Alan Alda, who played Hawkeye Pierce, remains the only person ever to have won Emmy Awards for acting, writing and directing. Sanjeev Bhaskar.

40. The Jimmy Young Show - Radio 2 (1973)

I listened to this programme from the age of ten and loved its mix of music and chat: the Bee Gees followed by Margaret Thatcher. I borrowed an old broken radio from my great aunt and mended it. It started my love of radio, and I went into the garden to make outside broadcasts. Paddy O’Connell, broadcaster.

41. The World at War - ITV (1973)

The opening sequence, the music and, of course, Laurence Oliver’s inimitable voice.

It was huge in scope and confident in judgements. It introduced me to the idea that serious broadcasting could be gripping. Justin Webb.

42. Not on Your Nellie - ITV (1974)

Every week, Hylda Baker would say, “What are you today, Gilbert?” and beautiful, tall, willowy Gilbert would show off his clothes. He was my first TV gay. There’s a lot of retrospective shame about those early effeminate characters, but I was 11, I adored him, and still do. Russell T Davies.

43. The Sweeney - ITV (1975)

This was absolutely the reason we did Life on Mars. I wanted to write for The Sweeney, but it had finished. Tony Jordan, screenwriter.

44. Days of Hope - BBC1 (1975)

Created by arguably the greatest programme-making team in the history of UK television – Jim Allen, Tony Garnett and Ken Loach – it covers the end of the Great War and the origins of the General Strike. I recall watching this short BBC series as a child and being moved to my very core. Peter Kosminsky, writer and director.

45. Fawlty Towers - BBC2 (1975)

John Cleese, Connie Booth and Andrew Sachs in Fawlty Towers for Fawlty Towers: 50 Years of Laughs
John Cleese, Connie Booth and Andrew Sachs in Fawlty Towers for Fawlty Towers: 50 Years of Laughs Photo by Shutterstock (71652a)

Watching one man teeter on the verge of a breakdown shouldn’t be funny, but it was – dangerously so, as farce and sharp writing collided in a fading Torquay hotel and held up a mirror to '70s Britain. John Cleese and Connie Booth had the good sense to stop after 12 episodes. Each one is a gem. Tom Loxley.

46. The Duchess of Duke Street - BBC1 (1976)

This was the first historical drama that thrilled me to bits. The whole drama was a portrait of this difficult, talented, single-minded, hilarious, working-class woman, brought to life by the uniquely talented, very young Gemma Jones. It’s one of my biggest delights that Gemma came on board to play Aunt Anne Lister for us in Gentleman Jack. Sally Wainwright, screenwriter.

47. The Price of Coal - BBC1 (1977)

A drama in two very different parts about the mining community in South Yorkshire: the first episode a comedy-drama about a visit to the pit by a very young Prince Charles, and the second a much darker drama about a fatal disaster at the pit. Real kitchen-sink drama at its finest. Sally Wainwright.

48. Rock Follies of ’77 - ITV (1977)

When I watched the first episode of this series [a follow-up to Rock Follies in 1976], it felt like I’d gone into the sitting room to watch it as one person and left as another. I suddenly knew what I wanted to do with my life: to create TV drama as exciting as this. Howard Schuman and the Little Ladies were gods. They still are in my head. Sally Wainwright.

49. Pennies from Heaven - BBC1 (1978)

The show that taught me the difference between the press and the truth. The papers raged about Gemma Craven’s bedroom scene, like it was porn. And yet I sat and watched a beautiful, tender, tragic portrait of a marriage in collapse. Russell T Davies.

50. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Radio 4 (1978)

I’d never heard sci-fi mixed with comedy and satire with such a British sentiment. I listened to it under the covers with an earpiece, as it was past my bedtime. Every week I looked forward to being transported to worlds of infinite possibilities. It led to my homage to creator Douglas Adams – adding the number 42 (“The Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything”) to The Kumars at No 42. Sanjeev Bhaskar.

Read more about Radio Times' centenary:

51. Law & Order (British series) - BBC2 (1978)

I’d never seen anything like it before. It combined wonderful, tense drama with a searing message. And it was that way round – the drama first, the message second. Jeff Pope, producer and screenwriter.

52. Larry Grayson’s Generation Game - BBC1 (1978)

A funny man having the time of his life. And, like RT, he would have been 100 this year. Eddie Mair.

53. Life on Earth - BBC1 (1979)

The natural history series that made David Attenborough such an important and enduring figure in broadcasting history. Michael Grade.

54. Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy - BBC1 (1979)

Alec Guinness as George Smiley, master spy. And the glory of the opening scene, with no dialogue for what seems like an age. Justin Webb.

55. Not the Nine o’Clock News - BBC2 (1979)

I can still remember most of the scripts. Gerald the Gorilla on the TV talk show. “When I caught Gerald in '68, he was completely wild…” “Wild?! I was absolutely livid!" Paddy O’Connell.

56. Minder - ITV (1979)

I grew up watching George Cole as Arthur Daley in Minder – I think this was at the back of my mind when creating shows like Hustle and characters like Alfie Moon in EastEnders… How an audience can love a rogue. Tony Jordan.

57. Cosmos - BBC1 (1981)

The greatest science series ever. Carl Sagan was a master storyteller, eclipsed by only one: Sir David. Chris Packham.

58. Hill Street Blues - C4 (1981)

Without Hill Street Blues, there would have been no Sopranos. It was the original, brilliant, entertaining cop show that looked behind the scenes. And I loved the theme tune. Chris Tarrant.

59. Only Fools and Horses - BBC1 (1981)

The cast of Only Fools and Horses.
The cast of Only Fools and Horses. Getty

As an ex-market trader I knew people like Del Boy. Of course, it was funny and moving and clever, but the extraordinary thing about it was how it brought the whole country together in a shared experience, particularly at Christmas. I was lucky enough to meet John Sullivan and he was one of my writer heroes. Tony Jordan.

60. Brideshead Revisited - ITV (1981)

This was a sumptuous weekly banquet in telly’s glory days. It seemed most of the nation was glued, and every episode was reviewed and analysed in offices and pubs the following day. Ed Stourton.

61. Tenko - BBC1 (1981)

This groundbreaking, captivating, beautifully written and acted drama had a huge impact on the teenage me. It dealt with racism, colonialism, class, ethics and the complexities of human behaviour under extremes. It’s astounding that executives failed to build on it.

It remained an outlier in female-led writing and storytelling for decades. Samira Ahmed.

62. Fame - BBC1 (1982)

Never again will a TV theme give me such a thrill. The series transported a generation to the New York City High School for the Performing Arts and made leg warmers a fashion requisite. Caroline Frost, RT columnist.

63. The first episode of Channel 4 News - C4 (1982)

It looks hilariously scruffy today, but those of us on the programme team were determined to create a new way of reporting news on television. Ed Stourton.

64. Blackadder - BBC1 (1983)

Fun, farce and fantasy. A new generation of comedians, writers and producers was born, not only Rowan Atkinson and Richard Curtis, Ben Elton and John Lloyd, but also Stephen Fry, Hugh Laurie, Miriam Margolyes, Rik Mayall. The list goes on… Alan Yentob, broadcaster.

65. Victoria Wood — as Seen on TV - BBC2 (1985)

I still have all the episodes on videotape in case there is a nuclear war. Up there with Alan Bennett for dialogue and with Eric and Ernie for comic timing — and up there for Acorn Antiques alone. On a personal note, when my mum was in a care home with severe dementia I would find this on YouTube and she would still laugh in all the appropriate places – the rhythm and cadence of Victoria’s delivery was second to none. Peter Bowker.

66. EastEnders - BBC1 (1985)

eastenders iconic episode den and angie
Anita Dobson as Angie Watts and Leslie Grantham as Dirty Den Watts for EastEnders. BBC

My beloved show, I watched it from the very start and I loved writing for it so much. Every inch of Albert Square, all those sets, the history of them, those characters, the fabulous blonde matriarchs, their men and their kids. The stories soaps tell matter. You’re in people’s living rooms and you’re sometimes telling really hard stories – people need to trust you as a storyteller and you have to be sure that you’re telling the story right. And when EastEnders or Corrie – when any soap – hits its note, it sings like nothing else. These shows sing. Long live soap! Sarah Phelps, screenwriter and producer.

67. Live Aid - BBC TV, Radio 1 (1985)

This was the television event that demonstrated that rock music and broadcasting could be a global power for good. Michael Grade.

68. An Audience with Billy Connolly - ITV (1985)

This was live at London Weekend Television. Billy had been told he could only say the “f” word four times – so he came out and shouted it four times in a row, and then just carried on. We spent the whole time aching with laughter. Chris Tarrant.

69. Edge of Darkness - BBC1 (1985)

Terrifyingly prescient, exciting and moving in equal measure, this was a breathtakingly original piece of writing. With memorable performances from the late Bob Peck and Joe Don Baker, and a glorious score by Eric Clapton and Michael Kamen. Simply the best programme I have ever seen on television. Peter Kosminsky.

70. The Singing Detective - BBC1 (1986)

My husband and I loved everything Dennis Potter did, but this was the very best in television. Ann Cleeves.

71. Inspector Morse - ITV (1987)

Along with its derivatives, this is proof that good writing and fine characterisation can still conjure monster audiences. Ed Stourton.

72. After Dark - C4 (1987)

This was a midnight TV show with no end point. It should be revived. We tried to re-create it on Radio Five Live at the launch in 1994. We had two hours only, from midnight to 2am, and we allowed the guests to drink and smoke. We used the famous Today studio and when their presenters arrived at 6am they complained it smelled like a brewery. Paddy O’Connell.

73. Traffik - C4 (1989)

A game changer, this six-part serial looked at the drug trade from multiple perspectives, filming in Afghanistan, Pakistan and the UK. Superbly written by Simon Moore and with fantastic performances from Bill Paterson and Lindsay Duncan heading a perfect cast, I remember this because it immersed me so completely and pointed the way to what television could do. Anthony Horowitz.

74. Nelson Mandela’s release - TV news (1990)

Mandela walks with Winnie among cheering crowds – a historic moment. Joan Bakewell.

75. The Simpsons - Sky One (1990)

The Simpsons on their iconic sofa.
The Simpsons on their iconic sofa. FOX

The programme-makers tackle head-on all the problems and situations in modern society.

Racism, misogyny, mental health, families, education – it’s all there, with gentle but perceptive humour. I can’t think of another programme that is able to do it in quite the same way. Angela Rippon.

76. The Larry Sanders Show - BBC2 (1992)

I thought this was just perfect comedy. I loved being in that world for half an hour, over and over. Jeff Pope.

77. Love Lies Bleeding - BBC2 (1993)

This single drama, produced by BBC Northern Ireland at the height of the Troubles, introduced me to the work of the great Mark Rylance, with whom I would go on to work many times. All the signs of his understated mastery were on display in this all but forgotten gem about an IRA fighter who is allowed out of the Maze prison for 24 hours to investigate the unexplained death of his girlfriend. Peter Kosminsky.

78. Cracker - ITV (1993)

Pete Postlethwaite and Robbie Coltrane in a Cracker comic relief sketch
Pete Postlethwaite and Robbie Coltrane in a Cracker comic relief sketch. BBC/Comic Relief via Getty Images

This is still, for me, the greatest detective show ever made, largely thanks to Jimmy McGovern’s writing and Robbie Coltrane’s performance as criminal psychiatrist Edward “Fitz” Fitzgerald. Without spoilers, it contains one of the most memorable deaths ever filmed for TV. I have it on DVD and occasionally watch it as a masterclass in offbeat, unpredictable crime drama. Anthony Horowitz.

79. Seinfeld - BBC2 (1993)

Seinfeld would always be shown at some crazy late hour on BBC2 and my dad would break his hard and fast bedtime rule to stay up and watch it with me. We adored it. The best episodes give you that feeling of being at the top of a rollercoaster, poised for the moment when the gag drops and you plunge into the giddy joy of helpless laughter until it hurts. Sarah Phelps.

80. Homicide: Life on the Street - C4 (1993)

Far grubbier and more visceral than the more fêted NYPD Blue, this US crime drama brought a cinematic flair and indie sensibility to TV. Revolutionary at the time, you can see its influence in everything that followed, from The Wire and The Sopranos through to True Detective and The Bear. Peter Bowker.

81. Frasier - C4 (1994)

The best situation comedy. Ever. Gyles Brandreth.

82. Panorama: An Interview with HRH the Princess of Wales - BBC1 (1995)

Martin Bashir interviews Princess Diana in Kensington Palace for the television program Panorama
Martin Bashir interviews Princess Diana in Kensington Palace for Panorama. Pool Photograph/Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images

Trying to destroy the monarchy… and failing. Joan Bakewell.

83. The Royle Family - BBC2 (1998)

The 2006 episode The Queen of Sheba was the high-water mark of Caroline Aherne and Craig Cash’s brilliant, ground-breaking comedy. I laughed, cried, admired. It was perfection. Jeff Pope.

84. In Our Time - Radio 4 (1998)

Melvyn Bragg takes apart a concept or subject as diverse as a whole library. It’s simple and straightforward, and a reminder of what works best on the radio. Smart people saying smart things is always better than stupid people shouting stupid things. Paddy O’Connell.

85. dinnerladies - BBC1 (1998)

The brilliant punchlines, jokes and expressions stay with us and form a family language. Libby Purves.

86. Queer as Folk - C4 (1999)

Charlie Hunham, Aiden Gillen, and Craig Kelly in Queer As Folk.
Charlie Hunnam, Aidan Gillen and Craig Kelly in Queer As Folk. Channel 4

The show that introduced me to the genius of Russell T Davies! God, it was so thrillingly alive. It was swaggering and subversive and joyous; greedy for love and sex, for everything.

I’d watch with a huge delighted grin plastered all over my face. So rambunctious and so very tender, it was just glorious. Sarah Phelps.

87. The Sopranos - C4 (1999)

In my opinion, quite simply the finest TV series ever made. To keep up that quality and excellence over 86 episodes was jaw-dropping. They never put a foot wrong. Jeff Pope.

88. The West Wing - Sky 1 (2000)

Funnier than most comedies, more romantic than ballet, it was a show that made you feel smarter just by watching it. I wished all the characters were real. Caroline Frost.

89. Popworld - C4 (2001)

Watching my daughter Miquita and Simon Amstell changing not only how broadcasters looked but the way that they conducted interviews made me so proud! Hilarious and irreverent but never unkind, all youth music programming has sought to emulate that impact ever since. Andi Oliver.

90. Someone, Somewhere - Radio 4 (2001)

An afternoon play on Radio 4 written by Pat Davis and produced by Toby Swift. Empathetic and unbearably moving. I stood in my kitchen, stock still, holding my breath so I didn’t miss the tiniest detail. Such is the quiet power of radio, giving a young woman’s voice back to her through her diaries. Sarah Phelps.

91. Breaking Bad - FX (2008)

Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul in Breaking Bad.
Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul in Breaking Bad. AMC

If Shakespeare had written for TV, he might have come up with this. I binge-watched it again recently and was knocked out by Bryan Cranston’s descent into pure evil, the way he holds our sympathy even as he commits terrible crimes. Writer Vince Gilligan is a man I’d love to meet! Anthony Horowitz.

92. Modern Family - Sky 1 (2009)

This American comedy series got little love in the UK, but for my family it was essential viewing for its gentle but unsentimental and sharply observed take on family life. My grown-up kids still watch recordings of it in preference to anything else. In fact, it’s the only TV they watch. Justin Webb.

93. Nurse Jackie - BBC2 (2010)

This witty, clever, fast-paced drama was set in the emergency room of a hospital in New York City. The eponymous heroine was Jackie Peyton, a senior nurse who very much had her own way of doing things. She was a richly complex character, played with fabulous vigour by Edie Falco. Sally Wainwright.

94. Endeavour - ITV (2012)

Exquisitely delicate performances, a subtle script and elegiac production qualities made for a prequel that became peerless crime drama. Caroline Frost.

95. Killing Eve - BBC3 (2018)

Killing Eve
Sandra Oh and Jodie Comer in Killing Eve

This was the most wonderfully innovative piece of television for a very long time. Not only does it have a remarkable if unorthodox love story at its heart, but you find yourself rooting for a heartless assassin. Tony Jordan.

96. Succession - Sky Atlantic (2018)

When creator Jesse Armstrong swapped a flatshare in Croydon (Peep Show) for the brutal family dysfunction of a boardroom in Manhattan, the world took notice. Whiplash-inducing dialogue and ambitious direction made this satire the new benchmark for quality longform TV drama. Tom Loxley.

97. After Life - Netflix (2019)

Even in a career that boasts The Office and Extras, this inky-black comedy of grief and surprising solace has to be Ricky Gervais’s finest hour. Caroline Frost.

98. PM’s coverage of the Covid crisis - Radio 4 (2020)

With presenter Evan Davis always interested and humane, PM felt its way through the pandemic as we all sat trapped, doing jigsaws or stomping around for exercise. Libby Purves.

99. Small Axe - BBC1 (2020)

Michael Ward and Amarah-Jae St Aubyn in Small Axe: Lovers Rock (BBC)
Micheal Ward and Amarah-Jae St Aubyn in Small Axe: Lovers Rock. BBC

In five revelatory films, Steve McQueen’s astonishing account of the lives of Black Britons in the 1960s, '70s and '80s features a brilliant cast of young Black actors reliving the memories of their own parents’ lives. In the words of McQueen: “These are the untold stories that make up our nation.” Alan Yentob.

100. The Funeral of Queen Elizabeth II - BBC TV, radio, ITV, Sky (2022)

An event that marked the century. Her funeral and the television coverage of it signified not just Great Britain and the Commonwealth, but the life of a woman who had seen so many changes during her reign. Angela Rippon.

If you're looking for more to watch, check out our TV Guide and Streaming Guide.


Try Radio Times magazine today and get 10 issues for only £10, PLUS a £10 John Lewis and Partners voucher delivered to your home – subscribe now. For more from the biggest stars in TV, listen to The Radio Times Podcast.