Television Shows from the U.K. and Britain to Watch

Cassi Misciagna, Feature Editor

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Worldwide, the entertainment industry has worked hard to entertain individuals of every age and lifestyle. For many of us in the United States, it is easy to find engaging programs created within the country, however many other countries can have just as entertaining programs. Here are just a few of them from the U.K.

The Checkout was created in 2013 in Austria as a comedic way to explain different consumer laws within the country. In addition, the show points out different topics such as outrageous recall events, egregious cases of false advertisement, and companies’ exploitation of consumers. Today, the series has its own YouTube channel of the same name, and is on its fifth season with a total episode count of nearly 30 episodes, each being an hour long. Furthermore, the series has been nominated for the Eureka Prize, an AACTA Award, and a Logie Award since its debut. There is no international adaptation for the show, but it has been released on DVD and many of their segments are available through their YouTube account.     

Within the last month, PBS has released their Victorian Slum House special as an in-depth way to explain the hardships of those living on the east end of London during Victorian England. In the show, specially selected members of modern British society volunteer to take a step back into the past as they replicate their ancestors’ daily lives. In addition, historians educate both the audience and the groups about prominent events from the past that have led to our modern society. Currently, there is only one season of five episodes planned for the series due to its lofty cost, but all of the episodes are available free after their live airing on the PBS website.

The show Supersize vs Superskinny, switches the diets of people suffering from obesity and anorexia for a week, so both can witness the destructive nature of their diet on another person. At the start of each episode, Dr. Christian Jessen, a health specialist meets with his two participants to show take their basic weight and height. Then throughout the show, he takes each subject and demonstrates to each the long-term effects their diet could have on their bodies. Today, there are seven seasons with a total of sixty-three hour long episodes, and one four-episode miniseries titled Supersize vs Superskinny Kids.

Snog, Marry, Avoid? is a makeover show with an odd twist. In the show, eccentric volunteers change their appearance, so they look like average everyday street goers by removing their makeup, covering up their excess bare skin, and taking off their gaudy accessories. From the start, participants meet a character named Pod who surveys random street goers on their current appearance before allowing them to change their overall appearance. Unfortunately, though, the show was only given 64 episodes before its abrupt cancellation in 2013.

Homefires is a short-lived show that aired on PBS from 2015 to 2016 about the lives of those living in a small town named Great Paxford during the start of WWII. Throughout the show, the characters struggle with problems such as loss, forbidden love, domestic abuse, and betrayal, but overall must band together for the betterment of the community. Sadly, though despite its high rating, the series was cancelled due to its expenses leading to a shocking cliffhanger ending. However, the series has been reported to have a continuation through the form of books rather than a television show.

The Great British Bakeoff or The Great Baking Show is a cooking competition show that gathers professional bakers from throughout the U.K. to compete to create the most extraordinary confections. Since its original airing in 2010, the show has become fixed in British culture with various spin-offs being created every couple of years. In fact, due to its popularity, it is one of few shows that has been rebranded for international release with titles being released throughout Europe, Asia, and the Americas. Currently, the first couple of seasons of the show are available on Netflix for streaming, although the show is now on its seventh season.

MasterChef is a popular cooking show that has taken the world by storm. In the U.S., the program airs on the Fox network throughout the year, however it was originally a series from the U.K. Starting in 1990, it made its debut; however, despite its staggering popularity, it only lasted until 2001 before being canceled. Fortunately, it was revived in 2005 and reformatted to suit a new audience. Unlike the American version, the competitors are not home cooks, but aspiring cooks who already have jobs in the field. Furthermore, the group is tasked with a much broader spectrum of tests in addition to the pressure and mystery box challenges present in the U.S. version.

There are many articles of foreign media created by interesting and inspired individuals, and these are just a few of them. I hope these few shows help you find something new to watch, and encourage your love for foreign media.

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Television Shows from the U.K. and Britain to Watch