5 best BBC series

The BBC is the oldest media corporation, the main conductor of British culture around the world. Time Out has selected 25 major TV series – and not only “Sherlock”, although, of course, it was not without it either.

“Doctor Who”

In 1963, young viewers (at first it was a children’s program) first saw on the screen an old man living in a police telephone booth. Subsequently, it turned out that the booth is actually a spaceship and a time machine at the same time, and it is not operated by some pensioner, but by an alien from the Time Lords race, who, for simplicity, asks to call himself the Doctor.

Doctor Who is a show with an epic history, the only sci-fi series to have survived for over 50 years. Until now, almost every episode of it is not some archaic show, but an example of a beautiful story in the most unexpected setting. For example, the action can take place in Victorian England, where the queen is attacked out of nowhere by a werewolf. In parallel with the plot, whole worlds collapse, and in the course of the action, minor characters perish, whom you can manage to fall in love with in literally 10 minutes.

For the fact that everything is still going on as epic, we should thank Steven Moffat, the creator of “Sherlock” – in recent years he was a showrunner in “Doctor Who”.

“Monty Python: Flying Circus”

“Flying Circus” is a sketch show: episodes of the series do not have a general plot and generally have no definite structure. This is a collection of small scenes with a very strange plot. Sometimes it seems that comedians themselves do not know when the next crazy sketch should end. For example, a 16-ton weight may fall on a hero, or a knight will appear in the frame and hit another character on the head with a chicken.

In addition to weights and chickens, the creativity of the Monty Python troupe has made great the impressive intellectual baggage of its members. Terry Jones and Michael Palin studied at Oxford, John Cleese, Graham Chapman and Eric Idle at Cambridge, and Terry Gilliam (later directed Brazil and 12 Monkeys) received his degree in political science in the United States. The artists put the acquired various knowledge into practice, therefore in their sketches historical episodes burst into modernity in the most unexpected way, philosophy meets football, and high art is mixed with everyday mundane humor. Not all of their sketches are easy to understand the first time, because of this, the authors of the program were sometimes accused of being lofty. But how many people did Monty Python inspire to broaden their horizons.

The Flying Circus is still an important part of world culture, and the brightest jokes have long become memes: for example, the legendary series of sketches “Nobody Expects the Spanish Inquisition”.

“Black viper”

At various stages in British history, a strange and awkward young man named Blackadder intervenes in its course. In the first season, he turns out to be the cunning but frivolous son of the fictional English king. In the second – the courtier of the actually existing Queen Elizabeth I. In the third – the valet of the future King George IV.  In every era, Blackadder becomes the cause of historical turmoil: the plot of the entire series is a mixture of real facts and fiction, sprinkled with quotes from Shakespeare.

Today we know Rowan Atkinson primarily for his role as Mr. Bean, but it was the role of Edmund Blackadder in this series, which he did with Richard Curtis (director of Love Actually and Rockweed), who brought him first fame.

Atkinson plays representatives of the Blackadder dynasty in an inimitable manner. This family of rogues clearly demonstrates to the audience that the British know and love their story, but this does not stop them from laughing at it and distorting it for comedic purposes.

“Miss Marple”

The staid British Bantry family wakes up from bad news: a maid rushes into their bedroom and declares that there is a dead girl in the library. The police find out that this is the body of a dancer working in a hotel near their home. How did it happen that she was lying in the library of someone else’s house, and even murdered? To find out, frightened Mrs. Bantry turns to her friend, amateur detective Jane Marple.

This is how the first of twelve cases Ms. Marple unravels in this classic adaptation of the Agatha Christie novel series begins. The BBC was able to obtain the rights to film the novels about the old detective only after the death of the writer (one of the best-selling in history – only Shakespeare and the Bible are better). The channel approached the matter meticulously: they spent eight whole years filming all 12 stories about Marple. The authors managed not only to literally film Christie, but also to reproduce the British surroundings with unprecedented thoroughness.

Decent old women can discuss the murder for five minutes in the frame over a cup of tea by the fireplace, and around – authentic, like in a historical park, the life of an English village at the beginning of the century will go on as usual. Now such measured detectives, suitable for meditative viewing, are no longer made.

The Fry and Laurie Show

At the very beginning of their careers, two now world-famous Britons, Hugh Laurie and Stephen Fry, participated in various comedy shows: first in “Black Viper” with Rowan Atkinson, and then they began to make their own. In The Fry and Laurie Show, no one limited their creativity, so often the scenes they acted resembled a stream of consciousness.

The very first scene from the show strangely parodies spy films: in it, two satellites at the airport are being watched through a hidden camera. At some point, “object 1” and “object 2” notice the surveillance and, right in front of the lens, begin to scoff at the special services. The viewer does not receive any explanations, but he is already very funny. Even if Fry and Laurie parody some old and already unknown TV programs, these scenes will still be hilarious in 20 years: after all, it’s not the relevance of satire, but the comedic talent of the authors.

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