British TV is probably the best in the world. It may not feel like it sometimes when you’re flicking around the hundreds of digital TV channels and there is still nothing even remotely interesting to watch. But if you have ever had the misfortune to watch TV in another country then you’ll know that we don’t have it too bad.
In fact, in most cases we stand head and shoulders above almost everyone else in terms of writing, acting and production. With the exception of our American cousins, we are way out in front. And although we get some quality US imports, you have to remember we only get the cream of the crop. There are hundreds of pretty wretched shows that never cross the Atlantic.
For a small island nation - just like we proved at the recent Olympics - we can really punch above our weight. Some of our shows translate around the world and are shown in many countries across the globe.
Programs like Top Gear have a universal appeal (which country doesn’t have a love affair with cars and men behaving badly?). But there are some other programmes that would appear to be quintessentially British that still make the leap. BBC’s Keeping Up Appearances with the stuffy Hyacinth Bucket (pronounced Bouquet, of course) brilliantly played by the wonderful Patricia Routledge was a smash hit across the world.
Perhaps it is the quintessential Britishness of it that makes it so popular. After all, the British character does hold a big place in the global imagination.
Maybe this explains why Midsomer Murders is so popular too. The show has been sold to, and is widely watched in, over 200 countries around the world. Making it one of the most popular British TV shows in history.
Without doubt, the British village charm is a major draw for many people. But we think that there is another reason why the show is so big. Its universal themes of murder, mystery and intrigue appeal to people across international borders. Sure, the show looks great, but it is the quality of writing, acting and production that make it such a hit.
As filming on series fifteen comes to a close this August, it is also one of the countries longest running. Here in the UK we are famous for our long running shows. The Sky at Night is the world’s longest running TV show. Coronation Street is the longest running soap. And Last Of The Summer Wine is the longest running sit-com.
Only the very best shows go the distance. Midsomer is definitely set to take its place among the classics. This, combined with its global appeal (the Belgian wing of the fan club recently came to visit Southern Oxfordshire) makes it a serious contender for one of the most important UK TV shows ever. Not a bad effort, all in all.