by Hans ten Cate
Sunday, 31 August 2003

The Radio Times (30 August - 5 September edition) lists the greatest 40 television programs ever made

Radio Times' TV editor Alison Graham has named the greatest 40 television programs ever made, from classic sitcoms and dramas to groundbreaking documentaries. The list, revealed on 27 August, is a mixture of American and British television shows, with Monty Python's Flying Circus making the alphabetical list at number 22.

The list can be found in the 30 August - 5 September edition of the Radio Times.

“If you were an alien wanting a good grounding in TV, this is it,” said Alison Graham, who has been watching TV for about 35 years. “It's the connoisseur's guide to discerning TV.”

“I had an awful lot of weeding out to do,” Graham said. “It's quite an emotional thing because TV viewing is quite emotional, whether you are a soap fan or you like your documentaries. You do get quite carried away. But it's a bit pointless if it gets beyond 40.”

More recent shows include Ricky Gervais' hit comedy The Office and Peter Kay's Phoenix Nights, as well as The League of Gentlemen

Also making the list is John Cleese's Fawlty Towers sitcom, at number 13. Here is the complete list, in alphabetical order.

  • Abigail's Party
  • The Ascent of Man
  • Blackadder Goes Forth
  • Boys from the Black Stuff
  • Cathy Come Home
  • Caught on a Train
  • Civilisation
  • Coronation Street
  • Dad's Army
  • Edge of Darkness
  • EastEnders
  • ER
  • Fawlty Towers
  • Frasier
  • Hill Street Blues
  • Hancock's Half Hour
  • I'm Alan Partridge
  • The Larry Sanders Show
  • The League of Gentlemen
  • Life on Earth
  • Mash
  • Monty Python's Flying Circus
  • Morecambe and Wise Show
  • 9/11
  • Not Only ... But Also
  • The Office
  • Our Friends In the North
  • Peter Kay's Phoenix Nights
  • Police
  • Porridge
  • Pride and Prejudice
  • Seinfeld
  • The Simpsons
  • The Singing Detective
  • Steptoe and Son
  • The Sweeney
  • Talking Heads
  • Till Death Us Do Part
  • Whatever Happened to the Likely Lads?
  • Z Cars
The Radio Times challenges readers to discover if they've seen the 40 best-ever television shows