At a time where it is unpopular to bang the ‘Proud to be British’ drum, it mustn’t be forgotten what a wonderfully weird and brilliant little island Britain can be.
In terms of TV, some of Britain’s television exports have seen global success and are often used by people around the world to learn the English language.
However, this leads to some thinking that Britain really is like Downton Abbey, or that we spend our summers baking Roulades in a tent. Alas, this is not the case.
And whilst there is nothing wrong with the Bake Off, Downton Abbey, Doctor Who or Fawlty Towers, there are some great shows out there that really represent the eccentricities, quirks and idiosyncrasies of Britain. Shows that really dig deep into our funny little ways. With the British sense of humour at the centre of most things we do (Brexit aside) expect some comedies here.
So, if you are planning on visiting Britain and want to know what you’re in for then look no further…
10. Peep Show
The Citizen Kane of cynical, sharp and snarky comedies. Peep Show is without doubt one of the freshest and funniest comedies of the past 20 years. Following the lives of ‘friends’ Mark and Jez in a shared flat in Croydon, the odd-couple dynamic is as British as fish and chips. The alchemy of a socially uneasy and despairing loan manager forced to live with a talentless, selfish slacker works to perfection.
The show uses a POV style that enables each character to share his inner dialogue with us, with both characters representing the self-doubt, anxiety and self-centredness that we all have but won’t admit.
The show gained a cult following, despite low viewing numbers and even showcased the talents of future Oscar winner Olivia Coleman.
Their inner monologues give an insight into the humiliation, guilt and cynicism of almost every Brit with every awkward interaction punctuated by painfully British references. The show is understated yet unapologetically honest, walking us through the thought processes of two men we wish we didn’t relate to but do.
America tried and failed with a remake, but there is no American translation of Mark getting lost in the Quantocks and agreeing to marry Sophie out of awkwardness after she finds an engagement ring in his bag.
Keep Calm and Watch Peep Show.