Best British TV shows of every year since 2000: From Big Brother to Line of Duty

Ed Power chooses the television shows that defined each of the past 19 years in Britain

Friday 15 November 2019 09:50
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Clockwise from top left: Sherlock, Skins, Broadchurch and Big Brother
Clockwise from top left: Sherlock, Skins, Broadchurch and Big Brother

A nation’s taste in television tells you a lot about its state of mind. In the UK’s case, since the dawn of this millennium, viewers have been keen on Z-list celebrities screaming at each other and Simon Cowell flexing his eyebrows menacingly.

That’s not the entire story of course. Alongside the rise of reality juggernauts such as Big Brother and The X Factor, the past 19 years have witnessed new heights of sophistication in home-grown drama (presumably in response to the challenge laid down by American “golden age” fare such as The Sopranos and Mad Men).

This, in other words, has been an era of thrills, spills and chills; of flapping great-coats, squirm-inducing comedy and cheeky voiceovers.

A countdown of the best shows since the year 2000 is naturally subjective. With the following list, we have taken into account both the sheer quality of the material and also its cultural significance.

The overall picture is of a country that, as it has hurtled from late-stage Cool Britannia to Brexit Blues, has done an excellent job entertaining itself and left us with some decent telly along the way.

Click through the below gallery to see what made the list

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