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Doctor Who Named One of the Radio Times’ Top 100 TV Shows (In an Absolutely Insane List)

To celebrate 100 years of the Radio Times, the TV and radio listings magazine has assembled a team of famous faces to narrow down the top 100 TV shows of all time — and yes, Doctor Who makes the cut.

Doctor Who showrunner, Russell T Davies, has also highlighted a few of his favourite programmes.

Rather surprisingly, but pleasingly, Doctor Who‘s entry is supplied by author, Ann Cleeves, writer of the Vera Stanhope, Shetland, and The Long Call novel series. She writes:

“I remember the first episode with William Hartnell and it became the highlight of my week. On my wedding day, between the lunch and the party in Woolacombe Village Hall in the evening, we all trooped back to my parents’ house to drink my dad’s home-brew and watch it.”

Hancock’s Half Hour, co-written by Dalek co-creator, Davros Terry Nation is also on the list, as is 1978’s The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy on Radio 4 by Douglas Adams. Sarah Phelps also puts Queer as Folk, created by Russell T Davies, in the Top 100.

Davies himself nominates a curious collection: Blue Peter (which is understandable), the BBC Radio 1 Breakfast show, Not on Your Nellie (apparently solely because one of the characters was gay), and Pennies from Heaven.

Michael Grade, always a big hit with Doctor Who fans, nominates 1971’s The Morecambe and Wise Christmas Show, which again is a good choice… although why the wider show by the comedy pair isn’t on the list is utterly, utterly, utterly baffling.

My favourite rug-pull moment of the list? Finding out Angela Rippon loves The Simpsons! Go, Angela! She explains:

“The programme-makers tackle head-on all the problems and situations in modern society.

“Racism, misogyny, mental health, families, education – it’s all there, with gentle but perceptive humour. I can’t think of another programme that is able to do it in quite the same way.”

She might’ve just secured my vote in Strictly Come Dancing (which is bizarrely missing off the list, despite being one of the most successful TV shows of recent times, probably more so than its predecessor, Come Dancing which is on the list).

It’s a truly mad list. There, I said it. I finally caved in and yelled “what?!” when it features the “PM’s coverage of the Covid crisis” on Radio 4. It’s very much at the whims of whoever they could draft in to comment and ignores a lot of TV staples. It’s a zeitgeisty list which we’ll look back on and say “wow, the 2020s were an odd time”. But you can get ahead of the curve by reading the list now over at the Radio Times and taking some Migraleve for that developing headache.

Philip Bates

Editor and co-founder of the Doctor Who Companion. When he’s not watching television, reading books ‘n’ Marvel comics, listening to The Killers, and obsessing over script ideas, Philip Bates pretends to be a freelance writer. He enjoys collecting everything. Writer of The Black Archive: The Pandorica Opens/ The Big Bang, The Silver Archive: The Stone Tape, and 100 Objects of Doctor Who.

Doctor Who Named One of the Radio Times’ Top 100 TV Shows (In an Absolutely Insane List)

by Philip Bates time to read: 2 min
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