Earlier in the week The Daily Mail had a preposterous list of allegedly 'the top 50 shows of all time', by top they actually meant influential, or at least the compilers of the original list did. I strongly disagreed with the list, where was Secret Army, or Tenko, EastEnders!?
Anyway, to rectify this I'm doing my own top 10 (I don't have time for 50) influential tv shows. Feel free to agree/disagree.....
10. EastEnders. I think it's been hugely more influential than any other soap. Its hard hitting storylines, such as Mark with HIV broke down barriers in ways that few shows could ever manage. It has also produced some of the most memorable moments in television history.
'Appy Christmas, Ange! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CcqqJc4xYxQ
9. The Office. One of the best sitcoms ever written, hilariously funny, brilliantly observed and with a real warmth running through it. Unfortunately its influence is so great so many sitcoms now feel like sub-Gervais imitations. Even the ones now written by Gervais himself.
Some brilliant outtakes from The Office Christmas Special. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s648Lmz1VDQ
8. The Avengers. What can I say about this that hasn't already been said?
The opening and closing titles for the colour Mrs. Peel series. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g6Bo0DVe5Z4
7. Only Fools and Horses. The most loved, if not the best comedy ever written, if only it had stayed where it had been left in 1996. The influence is huge, how many people still say 'plonker' or 'lovely jubbly'?
The famous Batman and Robin scene. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rgO3CLVrn1U
6. House of Cards. One of drama's best machiavellian figures, but by god we want him to win, don't we? Spawned two inferior sequels and an interesting new American version.
Some of FU's best bits. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k4aiZnPHGfA
5. Doctor Who. Its cultural impact couldn't be much bigger, any show that can survive 50 (well, 36) years on tv has to be pretty special. It might have been higher up my list three years ago...
Here's every title sequence in one video. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a843CBn3RSE
4. Cracker. I'm not sure I've seen anything more tense than the episode about the after effects of Hillsborough on Robert Carlyle's character. L-I-V.... E-R-P... DOUBLE O-L, LIVERPOOL FC..... Incredible.
The episode is on Youtube, watch if you've not seen it and then buy it all!!
3. Tenko. Mainly female cast, largely female writers, and produced by a woman. That would be rare today, let alone in the early 80s. This amazing ensemble will break your heart each week but still have you laughing and cheering silly little triumphs. Breathtaking television.
Here are the opening and closing titles because I don't want to spoil if for anyone who's not seen it, but go and watch it right this second if that applies to you!
2. Blackadder. To me it's the most consistently funny sitcom ever written, even if it's a bit repetitive by the end. I could almost quote the entire series.
Some good quotes. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I88WW2xDlAc
1. Secret Army. Not only is it the finest drama ever written, not only does it make you feel sympathy for one of the most evil people in the show, not only does it have three of the strongest female characters ever seen on screen, but it inspired a comedy spoof ('Allo, 'Allo) so good, everyone forgot the drama it was spoofing.
I'm just giving the titles again, because no-one should know anything more before watching.
There we go then, that's my list, I hope you like. Special mentions also go to The Prisoner, Blake's 7 and Fawlty Towers (and others) , but hey, I could only be bothered to do 10.