The Show That Shaped Me

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Tony Tackaberry: Castaway

BBC1’s bold and innovative constructed reality show changed the factual landscape - and helped the Lion exec crack the US

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Aaqil Ahmed: Network East

The former BBC and Channel 4 exec recalls bhangra’s ‘punk’ moment on BBC2’s attempt to mix contemporary and traditional British Asian culture

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Piv Bernth: LA Law

Steve Boccho’s way with an ensemble cast and entwining storylines convinced The Bridge producer to swap theatre for TV

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Stephen Land: Behind The Music

The VH1 show’s precision format points and dramatic hooks exerted a strong influence on how the Jupiter Entertainment exec shapes crime docs

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Marnie Dickens: Buffy The Vampire Slayer

The writer’s love for Sunnydale’s heroine and her gang was all-consuming. Just don’t tell her how it ended

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Sarah Kendall: M*A*S*H

The creator and star of Sky 1’s Frayed celebrates a comedy that trusted viewers to follow it from high farce to tragedy

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Jes Wilkins on QED: John’s Not Mad

Beyond sixth-form giggles over its subject’s swearing, the landmark doc inspired the Firecracker exec to explore extremes of the human experience

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Ursula Macfarlane: Mad Men

The AMC drama’s seductive surface masked a tale of melancholy and broken dreams - and taught the documentary-maker about the elasticity of time

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​Catherine Oldfield: Chancer

Tall Story Pictures’ creative director put all distractions on hold for Clive Owen’s loveable rogue’s witty and ingenious adventures

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Iain Coyle: The Last Resort with Jonathan Ross

C4’s ‘ramshackle and irreverent’ series ripped up the rule book for British chat shows, says UKTV’s head of comedy entertainment

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Mat Steiner: Blackadder

The Primal Media boss loved the ‘explosively funny’ comedy so much he themed his wedding around it

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Simon Dickson: Fourteen Days in May

The shades of grey in Paul Hamann’s death row film taught the Label1 creative director the power of documentaries

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Damien Timmer: Sons and Daughters

Wholeseome yet depraved, the propulsive narrative of the melodramatic soap convinced the Mammoth Screen founder that TV drama was his future

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Jessica Ruston: 24

The Harlots writer salutes the audacious high-wire act of the ultimate ‘crack-cocaine’ binge-watch

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Ana de Moraes: Big Brother

Raised on tacky Brazilian entertainment shows, the Multi Story Media creative director felt the full force of the reality show’s British launch

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David Glover on Horizon: Brave New Babies?

His on-screen debut as a young ‘pint-sized philosopher’ taught the 72 Films co-founder that TV is the best way to bottle the human experience

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Jim Reid: Budgie

Impressions of Adam Faith’s chirpy Cockney became a playground staple for the Channel X director of programmes

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Sam Barcroft: The Word

C4’s chaotic 1990s show oozed an in-the-moment celebrity sexiness that has now dropped off our screens, laments the Barcroft TV founder

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Christian Wikander: The Wire

The Twelve Town drama head hails the authenticity, original characters and unconventional storytelling of HBO’s groundbreaking drama

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Martin Pope: An Englishman Abroad

Fed up with earnest, preachy dramas, the Magic Light Pictures managing director was transported by Alan Bennett’s wit and imagination

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Ross Bentley: Thunderbirds

Sylvia Anderson’s personal invitation to the Marionation studio was one of the best days of the Rightstracker chief executive’s childhood

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Emma Scott: Only Fools and Horses

Del Boy’s catchphrases, slapstick and deadpan delivery combine to make John Sullivan’s comedy endlessly rewatchable, says the Beano Studios chief exec

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Brian Hill: Black Daisies for the Bride

Peter Symes and Tony Harrison’s almost unbearably poignant and radical mix of visuals, poetry and music left the Century Films boss reeling

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Jez Nelson: Tomorrow’s World

The seat-of-the-pants nature of the BBC’s science staple had the Somethin’ Else chief - and one-time presenter - enthralled

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Fiona O’Sullivan: Sex and the City

In HBO’s New York fantasy, life was for living - but the characters didn’t stand still, says True North’s fact ent chief

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Ed Coulthard: The Thin Blue Line

Errol Morris’ revolutionary blurring of factual and drama casts a long shadow over documentary forms, says the Blast! Films chief executive

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Kevin Cecil: The Goodies

The comedy trio’s visual gags and elastic reality continue to delight and astonish the Year of the Rabbit co-creator

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Rhys Thomas: Cracker

If you haven’t seen “the best crime drama of all time”, the actor and writer/director has an offer you cannot refuse

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Lisa McGee: Murder, She Wrote

Growing up, the Derry Girls writer dreamed of being as cool and clever as Jessica Fletcher. She still does to this day.

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Ross McCarthy: TFI Friday

Chris Evans’ ‘feral and wild’ parade of Britpop, fat lookalikes and ugly blokes thrilled the Gobstopper chief executive as a teen

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Fraser Ayres: The Real McCoy

By inviting us to laugh at, and with, each other, BBC2’s groundbreaking sketch show reached out with open arms to the TriForce Creative Network chief

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Malcolm Brinkworth: Strangeways

British TV’s first unfettered inside look at prison life convinced the producer that his future lay in telling society’s hidden stories

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Basi Akpabio: Brideshead Revisited

Beautiful leads, gay role models and iconic fashions: ITV’s classic period drama had it all, says the creative director of Agatha Christie Ltd

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Mel Bezalel: Red Dwarf

BBC2’s sci-fi comedy threw the RDF TV development head a lifeline in her daily battle for survival against her brothers’ onslaught

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Danny Fenton: A Question of Sport

The Zig Zag chief executive marvels at the longevity of a show whose vital ingredients survived its many on-screen changes

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Alice Nutter: Deadwood

David Milch’s profane Western laid out a roadmap for the former Chumbawumba singer to take up screenwriting in her 40s

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Colin McKeown: Made in Britain

Alan Clarke’s ‘fast and furious’ drama dared to depict a reality that many would have shied away from, says the LA Productions founder

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Vanessa Engle on Louise Bourgeois: No Trespassing

Nigel Finch’s awkward Arena encounter with a strong-willed subject taught the documentary-maker a vital lesson in authorship and tone

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​Nicola Shindler: Dallas

Through the gritty early episodes of the US soap, the Red chief executive learned about plotting, cliffhangers and painting characters in shades of grey

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Pippa Harris: Survivors

The languid mundanity of Terry Nation’s plague drama filled the Bafta chair with dread - and fired her imagination

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Lucy Pilkington: Roots

Scary, brutal and shocking, Kunta Kinte’s visceral tale was an awakening for the Milk and Honey managing director

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Jeff Pope: Law And Order

Cliché-free and with pin-sharp dialogue, the story instantly had its hooks in ITV Studios’ head of factual drama

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Alex Horne: The Krypton Factor

A childhood longing to scale the fearsome assault course of ITV’s show sowed the seeds for Taskmaster’s fiendish challenges

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John Smithson: Life Story

This ‘Horizon on steroids’, from Threads director Mick Jackson, turned the Arrow Pictures exec on to factual drama

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Kate Beal: That’s Life!

Esther Rantzen’s consumer staple was so much more than talking dogs and funny vegetables, says the Woodcut Media chief executive

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Sophie Petzal: Life on Mars

In her teens, the creator of Channel 5’s Blood was drawn by the sci-fi premise of BBC1’s drama. Its heart, humour and mystery kept her hooked

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​Jon Plowman: The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson

The comedy producer celebrates a chat show titan whose recovery from flat gags was often funnier than the zingers that landed

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Emma Frost: Behaving Badly

Judi Dench’s essay of a ‘delightful and deliciously subversive breakdown’ inspired the writer to put women centre stage

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Helen Nightingale: The Tube

Was anything ever cooler than C4’s ‘anarchic, funny and spontaneous’ 1980s music show, asks the UKTV commissioner

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Jim Allen: The Adventures of Robinson Hogg

In enduring a public meltdown on a remote island, Nationwide presenter James Hogg was the father of reality TV, argues RDF’s managing director

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Rhe-an Archibald: The Office

Gervais and Merchant’s comedy of the mundane has seeped into everything the Mo Gilligan Show producer has done since

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Sam Vincent on Star Trek: the Next Generation

The co-creator of Humans felt his horizons expanded by the sci-fi show’s unlimited belief in human potential

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Rob Clark: Blind Date

When ITV first pulled back the screen on Cilla’s dating show, it was love at first sight for Fremantle’s director of global entertainment

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Harry Marshall: The Temple Troop

Mark Linfield’s magical Natural World film is a masterclass in storytelling, reckons the Icon Films chairman

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Kieran Doherty: Columbo

The detective classic couldn’t rely on the usual tropes - and was all the better for it, says the Stellify Media joint managing director

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Abby Ajayi: The House of Eliott

Long before she joined Shonda Rhimes’ team, the writer got an early education in ‘women getting shit done’ from BBC1’s 1920s fashion drama

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Will Hanrahan: Seven Up

Granada’s groundbreaking series is a lasting reminder of a bygone era of regional ambition, argues the FirstLook TV creative director

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Joel Morris: A Bit of Fry and Laurie

Stephen and Hugh’s barking businessmen saved the Philomena Cunk writer from joining the corporate world

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Steven D. Wright on Victoria Wood: As Seen on TV

As a teenager, seeing the comic perform live at TVC - including four long takes of her most iconic song - set the Kerfuffle MD’s career on track

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Anna Symon: Six Feet Under

The humanly flawed characters of Alan Ball’s witty funeral home drama inspired the Mrs Wilson writer’s move from factual to scripted

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Sunil Patel: BBC Test Match Cricket

The swagger of India’s 1980s players, set to Richie Benaud’s droll commentary, sparked the Whisper Films chief executive’s love of TV sport

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Simon Nye: Up Pompeii!

Frankie Howerd’s Roman sitcom was never cool, but the influence of its fourth-wall breaking and corpsing lives on, argues the Durrells writer

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Kirstie Swain: Smack the Pony

The writer of Channel 4’s Pure celebrates a comedy that turned female TV archetypes upside down

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Mark Wells: Bruce Forsyth and the Generation Game

The  game show was a burst of colour amid the brown 1970s, says Double Yellow’s creative director

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Ash Atalla: Alan Partridge

As Norwich’s finest wraps up his BBC1 series, the Roughcut TV MD marvels at a fictional career embedded in the hard knocks of the TV industry

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Jamie Campbell: Jam

Chris Morris’ fearless, subversive sketch show taught the creative director of Sex Education producer Eleven Film that nothing was off limits

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Peter Salmon: Coronation Street

Growing up in ‘Granadaland’, the streets of Weatherfield were a second neighbourhood for Endemol Shine’s chief creative officer

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Furquan Akhtar: Coronation Street

In his youth, the soap threw a lifeline to the writer as a self-confessed ‘socially awkward British Muslim’

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Tania Alexander: Not the Nine O’Clock News

The ‘cerebral titting around’ of BBC2’s satirical sketch show made the Gogglebox executive producer want to join its gang

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Levi David Addai: The Girl From Tomorrow

A gripping Australian sci-fi show persuaded the Damilola, Our Loved Boy writer to put away his toys to dream of writing

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Colm McCarthy: Edge of Darkness

The heady blend of tragedy, crime drama, ghost story and eco horror taught the Curfew director that TV could be cinematic

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Andrew Newman: Hail the New Puritan

The Spelthorne Community Television co-founder joins the dots between C4’s 1986 avant-garde dance oddity, Vic and Bob and Made in Chelsea

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Jo McGrath: Tiswas

The Walter Presents co-founder got a taste for the adrenaline rush of live TV after winning a golden ticket to the most anarchic show on telly

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Daragh Carville: Spiral (Engrenages)

With a fierce sense of place and commitment to ‘messy reality’, the French procedural is TV drama as psychogeography, says the creator of ITV thriller The Bay

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Joe Evans: Eurotrash

Swan Films’ managing director salutes a simpler time, when German adult babies with Geordie accents made a persuasive case for European integration

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​Ashley Pharoah: A Very Peculiar Practice

The ‘unapologetically intelligent and odd’ comedy-drama was a radical and stylish antidote to social realism, says the Life on Mars co-creator

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Sohail Shah: Dynasty

Raised on Bollywood movies, the entertainment producer and commissioner lapped up their lurid Hollywood equivalent

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Samira Ahmed: Newsround

The broadcaster remembers when John Craven and ‘cool auntie’ Lucy Mathen presided over a ‘lighthouse of calm’ that brought the world into her home

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Sue Bourne on Horizon: You Do As You Are Told

Stanley Milgram’s guide to his infamous experiment forever changed the way the documentary-maker saw the world – and kickstarted her TV ambitions

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Diederick Santer: Twin Peaks

David Lynch and Mark Frost’s idiosyncratic fusion of US soap and indie cinema aesthetic held the former Kudos chief executive spellbound

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​Aysha Rafaele: The Singing Detective

The BBC Studios drama exec recalls the impact of Dennis Potter’s otherworldly fever dream

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​Melvyn Bragg: Monitor

Huw Wheldon’s ‘fierce, interfering, yet helpful and inspirational’ style opened the broadcaster’s eyes to TV’s power to make arts for everyone

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Jane Root: Culloden

Peter Watkins’ glorious mash-up of historical drama and the language of news reporting inspired the Nutopia chief executive to ‘muck around’

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Jane Millichip: The Two Ronnies

At age five, Sky Vision’s managing director bonded with her dad over Barker and Corbett’s wordplay

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Danny Brocklehurst: Auf Wiedersehen, Pet

ITV’s brickies-abroad comedy-drama taught the Ordinary Lies writer that great characters and humour make social issues easier for audiences to swallow

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Shane Allen: Father Ted

The subversive surrealism of Craggy Island showed the BBC head of comedy that the best ideas cannot be contained in a top-line pitch

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Jack Thorne: Boys From The Blackstuff

Kiri and National Treasure writer reveals how the warts-and-all approach of Alan Bleasdale’s ’80s drama made it unmissable

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Philippa Collie Cousins: The Singing Ringing Tree

The UKTV drama commissioner explains how a German fairy tale ignited her passion for storytelling

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Penny Woolcock: Eleventh Hour

The Tina Goes Shopping and Ackley Bridge director on the ‘weird and wonderful’ 11pm shows of Channel 4’s early days

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Faith Penhale: The Sopranos

The chief executive and creative director of Lookout Point on a ‘novelistic show bursting with wit, energy and drama’