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The 50 Most Influential Tv Shows In The World Over The Past 50 Years

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Experts at Swiss ratings company The WIT scoured the world to come up with programmes that had the biggest emotional impact on generations of viewers. Apparently BBC didn't want to take part or something, so none of their stuff included...


The list was compiled to mark the 50th anniversary of Mip TV, a TV trade show held in Cannes each spring.

1963 - Astro Boy (Japan)
The first Japanese anime cartoon and first from the country to be aired overseas. Remade in the 1980s and 2003.

1964 - Jeopardy (USA)
Quiz show still going after 9,000 episodes and adapted by more than 30 countries.

1965 - The Dating Game (USA)
The first dating TV show ever, a forerunner to Blind Date and others.

1966 - Star Trek (USA)
The first cult TV show, spawning six hit franchise series and 12 movies, so far, and a new language - Klingon.

1967 - Aktenzeichen XY Ungelöst (Germany)
The world's first reality crime solving TV format, inspired Crimewatch, America's Most Wanted and others. Still going.

1968 - Columbo (USA)
The famous homicide detective Columbo and his car starred in 69 cult original episodes which aired in the USA until 2003 and in more than 40 countries.

1969 - Sesame Street (USA)
The longest-running and most acclaimed children show in the USA, gave birth to The Muppets.

1970 - Coronation Street (UK)
Launched in 1960, Corrie reaches the 10th year at the top. The show is the longest-running TV soap in the world.

1971 - The Persuaders (UK)
Tony Curtis and Roger Moore as two crime-fighting playboys in ground-breaking transatlantic match-up but only lasted one series. Still repeated all over Europe though.

1972 - The Price Is Right (USA)
The first version of this genius idea appeared in 1956, making it the oldest TV game show but in 1972 became a daytime TV fixture in US. Adapted by 40 countries.

1973 - The Young & The Restless (USA)
Corny, tear-jerking soap opera still going strong after more than 10,000 episodes. A template for soaps aimed at younger viewers.

1974 - Derrick (Germany)
Germany's most successful show, following fictional Chief Inspector Stefan Derrick right through to 1998. Shown in 100 countries.

1975 - Wheel of Fortune (USA)
Simple but effective game show, still running in US and adapted by more than 50 countries, including, most recently, Egypt.

1976 - Family Feud (USA)
The US show still running and which we know as Family Fortunes. The format has been adapted by 50 countries including China.

1977 - The Krypton Factor (UK)
British-invented cult game show combining physical and mental challenges. Briefly adapted by the US.

1978 - Dallas (USA)
Glamorous soap opera, recently revived, dubbed into 67 language, seen in 100 countries and when JR got shot, it made national news headlines across the world.

1979 - The Kids of Degrassi Street (Canada)
Canada's top TV export - to 140 countries. A drama following High School students right through their lives.

1980 - Grendizer (Japan)
A worldwide kids' favourite. Another anime and manga cartoon, this one about a super giant robot.

1981 - Wetten, dass..? (Germany)
The German forerunner of a much copied idea where the public take on bizarre challenges and celebrities bet on the outcome.

1982 - Letters and Numbers (France)
First aired in France in 1965 but better known in the UK as Countdown which was the first show to air on Channel 4 in 1982.

1983 - The Thorn Birds (USA)
TV version of best selling, steamy novel, featuring Richard Chamberlain as a priest torn between God and an illicit romance in the Aussie outback.

1984 - La Piovra (Italy)
Italy's most exported show, a police series telling of the never ending fight against organised crime in the country.

1985 - Neighbours (Australia)
Australia's longest running soap opera and one of its greatest exports and the show which introduced the world to Kylie, Jason and countless others.

1986 - Fun TV with Kato-chan and Ken-chan (Japan)
The variety show with a segment of viewers' videos which became the inspiration for America's Funniest Home Videos, You've Been Framed and many more.

1987 - The Bold and the Beautiful (USA)
America's youngest daytime soap but among its most corny and most popular, exported to 100 countries, following the passionate but mixed up lives of impossibly beautiful people.

1988 - Home & Away (Australia)
Australia's 'other' daily soap opera, but incredibly successful. Looks at a fictional beach side town where every inhabitant is either a hunk or a supermodel.

1989 - The Simpsons (USA)
The longest-running prime time scripted series in the US, a celebrity-infested cartoon, whose 524 episodes and myriad list of animated characters have made it a worldwide cult.


1990 - Fort Boyard (France)
A bizarre, physically challenging game show also featuring riddles and codes and set on a fort built by Napoleon in the Atlantic Ocean with a treasure room guarded by tigers.

1991 - Rugrats (USA)
An iconic, constantly repeated, roughly drawn cartoon series (below) offering a baby's eye view of the world but appealing to all ages and exported to 80 countries.

1992 - The Real World (USA)
Possibly the father of reality TV, combining soap-style storytelling with the real lives of real people put together in a variety of episodes.

1993 - Beavis & Butthead (USA)
Two dumb teenage 'metal heads' in a cartoon series which combines acerbic youth culture with MTV-style videos.

1994 - Friends (USA)
Six friends, 10 seasons, 236 episodes and an instantly recognisable theme tune made this a cult show and its stars like Jennifer Aniston, worldwide celebrities.

1995 - Caiga quien caiga (Argentina)
Much copied idea where irreverent journalists take a humorous look at that week's current affairs, sports and entertainment.

1996 - Dragon Ball GT (Japan)
Very successful culmination of a succession of series based on the best-selling Dragon Ball anime franchise.

1997 - Survivor (Sweden)
A British idea, taken up first by the Swedes, then it came back to Britain, went to 50 countries and has lasted longest in the USA.

1998 - Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? (UK)
Introduced the world to famous catchphrases like 'phone a friend' and 'is that your final answer?', exported to 120 countries and the theme of the Oscar-winning film Slumdog Millionaire.

1999 - Big Brother (Netherlands)
A phenomenon that took off in the first Dutch series when two contestants slept with each other. UK version gave us Nasty Nick, Jade Goody and some priceless celebrity moments including MP George Galloway dressed as a cat.

2000 - Popstars (Australia)
The show began a year earlier in New Zealand but it was the Aussie version which inspired copycat series all over the world, including the UK.

2001 - O Clone (The Clone - Brazil)
South American telenovela which went beyond the usual soaps and tackled issues as wide ranging as drug addiction, religion and human cloning.

2002 - American Idol (USA)
Inspired by Pop Idol in the UK but the one which really took off and inspired 46 countries to do their own version and which has so far far created 200 worldwide 'stars.'

2003 - Rebelde Way (The Rebels) (Argentina)
A telenovela about four high school teenagers notable because it produced a pop band which has so far sold six million records. Then the Mexican version did exactly the same in its country too.

2004 - Desperate Housewives (USA)
Wisteria Lane's increasingly bizarre storylines lasted eight series and won a huge worldwide audience for its blend of dark comedy and drama.

2005 - Noor (Turkey)
A Turkish soap opera with a Cinderella story about a poor girl marrying into a rich family which is a phenomenon across the Middle East.

2006 - Got Talent (USA)
The show to blame, or thank, for Susan Boyle, which then took off in the USA leading to the format being adapted in more than 50 countries.

2007 - Forbrydelsen (The Killing) (Denmark)
Three season fictional crime thriller which has helped make dark and broody Scandinavian drama the trendiest television of the decade, not just here but in dozens of countries.

2008 - Murdoch Mysteries (Canada)
Canadian police drama set in the 1890s, exported to 100 countries and which sparked the trend for Victorian period crime dramas such as Whitechapel.

2009 - MasterChef Australia (Australia)
After the original British series failed to get to boiling point, the Aussies took the format and turned it into a culinary talent show which has been adapted by 35 countries.

2010 - The Voice (Netherlands)
A massive hit in Holland with its blind auditions that led to the UK, US and other versions in the fastest selling TV format of all time.

2011 - Homeland (Israel/USA)
The original 2010 Israeli series about prisoners of war was the first but it is the US one with British actor Damian Lewis which has become a worldwide cult hit, with a third series starting in September.

2012 - Pablo Escobar, The Drug Lord (Colombia)
Colombian biopic about the so-called 'Lord of Evil' which was a phenomenon in its own country and fast becoming a hit in countless other markets.

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LOST? The X-Files?


How many more can we come up with that they've missed?

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I really can't understand how they missed Yes, Minister. Not only an excellent series but a title that provided me with my favourite phrase.

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No Dinner For One?


Only Europe's favourite Xmas TV treat. Outrageous!

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On a more localised scale I imagine Only Fools & Horses and Father Ted shuld make a UK list.

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Given the absence of all BBC programmes, I still find it surprising that there's no place for 'cheers' or 'Seinfeld.'

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No Monty Python or Fawlty Towers or Black Adder?


Doctor Who, Mash, ER, Auf Wiedersen Pet, Game Of Thrones, Fringe, Walking Dead, The Sweeney, Morse, Kenny Everett Show, Morecome & Wise?

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Anyone growing up in Britain in the 70/80s would have been influenced by Grange Hill surely?

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