To mark the BBC’s centenary, the British Film Institute has listed the ‘BFI 100 BBC Television Gamechangers.’
The list includes productions such as Doctor Who, Pennies from Heaven, Call the Midwife, Eurovision Song Contest, Top of the Pops, Strictly Come Dancing, Absolutely Fabulous, The Office, Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit, I May Destroy You and more -many produced by BBC Studios.
Tom Fussell, CEO of BBC Studios, says: “The BFI has compiled an extraordinary list of gamechanging programmes, the vast majority of which BBC Studios has been able to bring to the world, and re-create in some markets. As the BBC celebrates 100 years, BBC Studios is proud of our BBC heritage in supporting the Corporation and showcasing the best of British creativity to audiences around the globe. They have enabled us to be at the forefront of content innovation and will continue to distinguish us in a market where content ownership and creation is everything.”
|1936||Television Comes to London|
|1947 –||BBC Proms|
|1953||The Quatermass Experiment|
|1953||Coverage of the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II|
|1956||A Man from the Sun|
|1956-60||Hancock’s Half Hour / Hancock|
|1957 –||The Eurovision Song Contest|
|1957 –||The Sky At Night|
|1958 –||Blue Peter|
|1957||Morning in the Streets|
|1959-62||Face to Face|
|1960||An Age of Kings|
|1962-63||That Was the Week That Was|
|1962-74||Steptoe & Son|
|1963 – pres||Doctor Who|
|1964-||Top of The Pops|
|1964||The Great War|
|1965-70||Apna Hi Ghar Samajhiye|
|1966||The Wednesday Play|
|1966||Theatre 625: Talking to a Stranger|
|1967||The Forsyte Saga|
|1968-77||The Morecambe and Wise Show|
|1969||The Liver Birds|
|1969||Monty Python’s Flying Circus|
|1970||The Six Wives of Henry VIII|
|1970-84||Play for Today|
|1971||The Generation Game|
|1972||Ways of Seeing|
|1974 –||Pobol y Cwm|
|1974||Shoulder to Shoulder|
|1976 -82||Multi-Coloured Swap Shop|
|1978||Pennies from Heaven|
|1979||Life on Earth|
|1979-1999||A Change of Sex|
|1981-1982||The Chinese Detective|
|1982||Boys from the Blackstuff|
|1982-84||The Young Ones|
|1982||Madhur Jaffrey’s Indian Cookery|
|1984-2005||The Lenny Henry Show|
|1985 – 1987||Victoria Wood: As Seen on TV|
|1985||Real Lives: At the Edge of the Union|
|1985||Edge of Darkness|
|1990||Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit|
|1991-96||The Real McCoy|
|1993||The Buddha of Suburbia|
|1995||The Death of Yugoslavia|
|1996-2001||Goodness Gracious Me|
|1996||Our Friends in the North|
|1997-2002||I’m Alan Partridge|
|1998 – 2000||The Royle Family|
|1999 – 2005||Chewin’ the Fat|
|2001||The Blue Planet|
|2003 –||Something Special|
|2004||Strictly Come Dancing|
|2005-2012||The Thick of It|
|2009 –||Horrible Histories|
|2010-2016||The Great British Bake Off|
|2012-||Call the Midwife|
|2012 – 2018||People Just Do Nothing|
|2016||Exodus: Our Journey to Europe|
|2020||I May Destroy You|
You can read in more detail here.
Around nine of the ten ‘gamechanging programmes’ identified in the list were either produced by the BBC’s inhouse production teams over the years (which subsequently merged with BBC Worldwide to become BBC Studios in 2018), or have been exported internationally by BBC Studios as tape sales or formats. The BBC began distributing its content globally in the late 1950s, with a single business manager fulfilling the role. Today BBC Studios is a multi-award-winning global distributor-producer with offices in 20 markets, producing around 2,000 hours of content a year and offering an extensive catalogue of over 42,000 hours. It is the UK’s most awarded producer and most commissioned creator of new content and has been recognised as the biggest distributor of TV content outside of Hollywood and Bollywood.
The longevity of some of these titles – including Sir David Attenborough’s genre-defining natural history series Life On Earth (1979) which is estimated to have been watched by half a billion people globally and the iconic Absolutely Fabulous (1992) which continues to be a hit around the world – demonstrates the power of impactful content to continue thrilling audiences internationally for decades.
Other key BBC Studios titles that featured in the BFI BBC Television Gamechangers list include:
• Dancing With The Stars (format of British show Strictly Come Dancing) – has been licensed to 60 countries with 420 seasons and over 4,000 episodes worldwide. In the U.S., it celebrated 30 seasons in 2021 and has been honoured with 18 Emmy Awards.
• Doctor Who – the world’s longest running Science Fiction series, which set a Guinness World Record in 2013 when the 50th anniversary episode simulcast across 94 countries in 15 languages.
• Love Productions’ The Great British Bake Off – over 130 seasons, 1,500 episodes worldwide (excluding spin offs) and licensed to 35 countries.
• The Blue Planet – award-winning series from 2001, the first-ever series on the natural history of the world’s oceans. A follow up series in 2017 has received 300m album plays on Ten Cent Video in China alone.
• The Office – first on air 20 years ago, but in 2020 it was the most-streamed show in the US (Netflix) with 57.13bn minutes watched.