Broadcasting Press Guild members create unique Top 50 Landmark TV Programme List

Broadcasting Press Guild members create unique Top 50 Landmark TV Programme List, spanning the last half century, with shows ranging from
The World At War and I May Destroy You to
Life On Earth and Big Brother

What are the 50 landmark TV Programmes of the last 50 years? The shows that changed broadcasting, influenced how we look at the world and made us laugh or think in a new way. This is the challenge the Broadcasting Press Guild set its members to mark its 50th anniversary: the resulting Top 50 showcases the incredible breadth, diversity and evolution of British broadcasting over the last half century.

The BPG Top 50 Landmark Programmes of the last 50 Years include 31 BBC shows and eight each from ITV and Channel 4 alongside notable Sky, Netflix and Disney+ programmes. There are 18 dramas, 15 comedies and seven documentaries plus a wide range of other genres.

The BPG members’ votes created the list that features recent shows like Michaela Coel’s extraordinary BBC drama I May Destroy You, Lisa McGee’s ground-breaking Channel 4 comedy Derry Girls and Peter Jackson’s painstaking archive documentary series The Beatles: Get Back for Disney+ alongside classics like David Attenborough’s remarkable Life On Earth, Dennis Potter’s exceptional The Singing Detective, the revolutionary reality TV of Big Brother and the comedy genius of Caroline Aherne, Craig Cash and Henry Normal’s The Royle Family.

The Broadcasting Press Guild was founded in 1974 and has more than 110 members. They are journalists who specialise in covering television, radio and the media, and include critics, previewers, media correspondents and feature writers from national newspapers, broadcasters and leading trade journals and websites. The Top 50 list was compiled as part of the BPG’s 50th annual Awards event that takes place this year on Thursday 21st March.

The BPG Top 50 Landmark Programmes of the last 50 Years is a comprehensive evaluation of key shows in the evolution of television across the decades, and a roster that will provoke debate and encourage exploration of streaming and catch-up services that offer access to these classics from the archive.

BPG chair Manori Ravindran said the BPG Top 50 of 50 Years is a reminder of just how rich, varied and important the creative sector is in this country: “In our 50 years, members of the Broadcasting Press Guild have been the tastemakers of the British TV industry. As such, it felt appropriate to celebrate this milestone birthday with a Top 50 list reflecting the programmes we believe have created landmark TV moments or have been truly significant to the industry over that time. It wasn’t an easy process — and we welcome healthy debate about our selections — but we believe this list encapsulates the richness of the creative sector and its inimitable contribution to our culture and society.”

The BPG is delighted that this year’s Awards lunch is being sponsored by some of the most influential names in the industry: BBC Studios, Netflix, Pact, Prime Video and Warner Bros. Discovery. 

Further information from Adrian Lobb, BPG, 07986 379 452 or


The BPG Top 50 Landmark Programmes of The Last 50 Years 
1 7 Up series – ITV/Granada + BBC, 1964-2019
2 Life On Earth – BBC, 1979
3 The World At War – ITV/Thames, 1973
4 The Office – BBC, 2001
5 Big Brother – Channel 4, 2000
6 Planet Earth – BBC, 2006
7 Have I Got News For You – BBC, 1990
8 I May Destroy You – BBC, 2020
9 The Singing Detective – BBC, 1986
10 The Day Today – BBC, 1994

11 The Royle Family – BBC
12 Our Friends In The North – BBC
13 I’m Alan Partridge – BBC
14 Boys From The Blackstuff – BBC
15 Blackadder – BBC
16 Strictly Come Dancing – BBC
17 The Thick Of It – BBC
18 Fleabag – BBC/Amazon
19 Only Fools And Horses – BBC
20 The Naked Civil Servant – ITV/Thames

21 Spitting Image – ITV/Central
22 Queer As Folk –-Channel 4
23 The Family – BBC
24 Monty Python’s Flying Circus – BBC
25 House Of Cards – BBC
26 Gogglebox – Channel 4
27 Goodness Gracious Me – BBC
28 The Crown – Netflix
29 Newsnight – BBC
30 Derry Girls – Channel 4

31 Brideshead Revisited – ITV/Granada
32 Chernobyl – HBO/Sky
33 Cracker – ITV/Granada
34 Blue Peter – BBC
35 Inspector Morse – ITV/Central
36 Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy – BBC
37 The Beatles: Get Back – Disney+
38 I, Claudius – BBC
39 Wallace & Gromit: A Close Shave – BBC
40 The Word – Channel 4

41 Death On The Rock – ITV/Thames
42 This is England – Channel 4
43 The Great British Bake-Off – BBC + Channel 4
44 Grange Hill – BBC
45 Pride and Prejudice – BBC
46 Pennies From Heaven – BBC
47 Desmond’s – Channel 4
48 The Big Breakfast – Channel 4
49 Parkinson – BBC + ITV
50 The Traitors – BBC

Notes to editors

  1. The 50th BPG Awards lunch takes place on Thursday March 21, 2024. Winners will be announced at the lunch and simultaneously on Twitter/X and Instagram @BPGPressGuild #BPGAwards. For further details go to our website:
  1. The BPG Television, Streaming & Audio Awards celebrate work commissioned or produced in the UK and screened in 2023. These prizes are highly valued by programme-makers because they are chosen independently by TV and audio writers, correspondents, critics and previewers.