Hey there and welcome to the BigAppleSchool podcast. My name is Sam.
And today we’re asking what’s the craic about British TV shows. We’re gonna look at the British TV shows that we know, what we watch and why do we watch it, how old are the shows, and facts maybe that we may know or ideas about what we know about those TV shows.
Which are best, some are popular across the world – why is that? So why are they successful? Who is our favorite character from a TV show? What makes them different from American TV shows?
Cause American tv shows have maybe more popularity, but why? Some British tv shows are even more popular at times. What are iconic things from the tv shows we watch? The best villains if we can use ‘the best’ for those.
Describe our favorite episode of the show if we can think of that and what we would recommend to you or to others who may listen. So… Let’s get going!
What popular British tv shows do you know?
You have lived in…. You have lived in Britain?
Not really – I visited, I’ve been there several times. But..
And you’ve had the tv on.
I had the tv on. I had the British tv on, while being in Russia.
And that’s how I became a Whovian. So I’m a huge fan of a British tv show ‘Doctor Who’.
What? Okay. Yeah. It’s known. This is known, okay.
And so it is a popular one. I’d say popular worldwide…
Do you know other Russians who enjoy it?
Oh yes! I have like 10-15 people that I know personally… you know…
It’s more than people I know in the world. Okay. So…
But that’s obviously not the only one that I know.
As for me, I have a little bit of an advantage I think, because I’ve grown up in the UK. Not in Great Britain, if you check your map, but in the UK. Grown up in Northern Ireland – I’m Northern Irish.
So British tv, also Irish tv, has been part of my childhood and life for a time, and I know about a few. Let’s just say. Doctor Who I know about.
I think the other ones that are quite popular these days around the world are Good Omens – this is a new one.
This is a British one, is it?
It is a British one, yeah, it had David Tennant there, Michael Sean. Sherlock? The all favorite.
Yes. I think it’s very popular, Sherlock, maybe more than Doctor Who.
It’s more well-known, for whatever reason.
Yeah. Well, I have an idea about the reason. You know, people tend to like shows about psychopaths or, well, sociopaths in this case.
Are detective stories more interesting than sci-fi for some people?
For some people, for some people yes. I think a couple more shows that are getting more popular are Peaky Blinders, Black Mirror.
Yeah. I’ve noticed that Black Mirror has got some good publicity, it’s quite popular. I’ve watched some of it. Well, as for me, if I’m honest, I’ve watched some Sherlock. I kinda got lost, I think it was third season, because it got a wee bit strange.
And not in a good way for me. Not that I have anything against strange, but I think Sherlock Holmes became the villain, and they lost me I should say.
But they got many more other people.
I’m not suggesting that it’s a bad tv show, but just I may go back to it, but I just kind of got dropped out for now. Black Mirror I’ve watched some of. Black Mirror for me – I can see the appeal to it, I can understand why people enjoy it.
But having grown up watching tv shows, to me it’s a lot like a lot of British tv. And so it’s to me there’s not a uniqueness to it, and maybe for most of all it’s that it has a kind of reality to it.
And for me that’s a negative, because the reality kind of… This reminds me of life, and you know…
But that’s the point of the show – it’s a dystopia, so you watch it, it gives you food for thought so you, you know, kinda re-evaluate your actions and your life.
It is the appeal for some, but for me it’s a negative, because it’s a… I prefer something that’s more imaginative, more distant from reality. I prefer that.
Do you know why they named the tv show Black Mirror?
Well, you’re mirroring reality, but in a darker way.
Not really. Black mirror – that refers to the screen of a phone, because it looks like a mirror, meaning that we spend too much time…
That means that our phones are evil, yeah?
Yes. Not only the phones, but you know.
Not just phones, everything’s evil. Stop it! Okay. X-Factor? It has enjoyed a lot of popularity. It’s kinda like the Voice. You have in Russia, Голос?
Oh, okay, yes. Yes, not like a tv series.
A talent show tv. It’s a talent tv show, if you wanna call it that. And there’s X Factor, there’s Britain’s Got Talent, and they’re popular. The America’s Got Talent.
Yeah, America’s Got Talent.
All that stuff. Those have been… I’d say they’re still popular with some people, but they have been really popular. I think not as much as they used to be, but they are very very popular. So in Russia you don’t have the X Factor?
I am not sure. We have the Voice. Like, you know, something like that.
So, the Voice is the BBC production in the UK, and, well, I think it’s a little bit too polished. I prefer X Factor if I’m honest. But I haven’t watched in Russia, it’s called Голос, yeah?
Forgive my pronunciation of Russian, but, yeah. It exists in Russia. Do you like it?
I can’t say I’m a fan, I just don’t watch it. I don’t care.
Which is my view of the Voice in the UK, but X Factor I have watched and might even watch on YouTube.
East Enders is a soap, which has been going for a long time in the UK. The Crown. Tell me you know the Crown?
It rings the bell, but let me guess, is it about the Queen?
It’s about… So it’s more or less the historical drama, or dramatization of Elizabeth II reign, starts before she became Queen, and goes through all that. It is quite good.
I have only watched a few episodes. I’m not very good at keeping going with some of these, but it is very good and it has got a lot of praise. Top Gear? Do you know?
Everyone has heard of Top Gear. I have never watched a single…
It’s a guys’ show, really. It’s purely… You might find it entertaining, I’m not saying it’s exclusively for guys, but it’s about cars.
But the presenters, particularly in the past, I can’t speak for those who do it now, but particularly in the past, Richard Hammer and all those guys, three guys who had great chemistry together.
They were what I would call good craic together, good fun. And it was very entertaining, even if you didn’t care much about the cars. Their chemistry together, the way they worked and made fun of each other was entertaining in itself.
So it was very very popular. And it’s still going, but they have different presenters now. Black books – have you heard?
Oh I have heard of Black Books. I’ll tell you more – I love the Black Books so much that when I was in London I actually went to the bookstore that it was made at.
It was made in a real bookshop?
Yes. Yes. I think it’s in the east of London. And I entered the bookstore and it was so quiet I felt like I forgot how to breathe.
It’s a bad idea. Keep breathing.
Yeah, please do. Don’t forget to breathe.
That guy, Dylan… What’s it, Dylan Moran?
Dylan Moran, but I forgot his name in the tv show.
So he’s an Irish comedian, Dylan Moran, or Moran, whatever. And he is fantastic.
He’s very sarcastic, very quick-witted, it’s hilarious comedy.
I can relate to so many situations from there.
It’s quite good, it’s quite good.
Even though when you get to watch it, it feels really weird at first, cause it was, you know, it first came out at the beginning of 2000, like, 2001?
I just remember watching like, binge-watching it with friends, we were together when I was… It was a while ago now, but we just binge-watched the whole thing. They just put on the dvd and we just kept watching.
The thing is they fell asleep and I was still watching. I never went to sleep, I was like ‘Yeah, this is great’.
I think it’s one of the two British tv shows that might seem a little bit outdated now, but you still keep watching it until you’re done. The second being The IT crowd.
Right. Oh, heard of it, yes. But actually I think there’s one guy, the manager guy in it, what’s his name? The actor’s name?
Oh my god, I’m so bad at names.
There is an actor, is that…
You will google it, you, who’s listening. However, one of the actors is… Unfortunately, I don’t like him.
Not to say I’ve met him and know him, but as… When he acts, I don’t enjoy his performance. I haven’t really watched IT crowd, the UK version. I don’t think that I will. Mr. Bean! I haven’t mentioned it or written it here, but Mr. Bean!
Everyone knows it, right? That’s Rowan Atkinson – he’s been in other things, he’s done Mr. Bean films. But prior to that he did something called Blackadder.
I’ve never heard about that.
Which is ages old now. I think it’s from 70s-80s. But it is… Well I think you will like it if you like Black Books, it’s a dark comedy, very sarcy, a lot of sarcasm, and it covers I think, it’s kind of a historical, or supposedly historical, if I remember correctly.
There’s a Christmas special. It’s quite good. There’s a Christmas special. Should I spoil? It’s ages old, so I’m gonna spoil it – he is very very good. Instead of the story, you know, Christmas Carol, Mister Scrooge, at the start Blackadder is very very good, and very generous.
And then he learns about his family in the past. He’s in a Victorian age, and he learns about his family in the past, and he ends up being like Mister Scrooge at the end. So it’s a very dark sarcastic twist to this.
Okay. I should check it out.
You might like it, yeah. Which of these have you mentioned you watched? It’s Doctor Who especially, right?
It’s Doctor Who especially, yes, I love it to the point that I’m getting a Tardis tattooed on my arm.
Okay. When will that happen?
Hopefully in a month, so.
Watch out for that. How old is Doctor Who?
So Doctor Who is 56 years old now.
56, right. It’s not a new tv show.
It is not a new tv show. It first came out on the 23rd of November 1963. It was supposed to come out on the 22nd of November, but we all know that the assassination of Kennedy happened, so they had to put off for a day.
I didn’t remember that. Okay.
So that’s why it came out on the 23rd of November in 1963.
So, when I was a little boy, my dad used to talk to me about things from Doctor Who, like there are Daleks, not dialects. Daeleks I think is the correct term.
Daleks. Okay. She knows it more than I do. They go around like… They have… They’re like a garbage can.
They’ve a plunger in their hand.
Okay, I would not say that they’re like a garbage bin, but they look exactly like, you know, a salt shaker. With a plunger and with a whisk.
Right. Yeah. Fair enough, yeah.
Interesting design. They’re unique design, but their phrase ‘Exterminate! Exterminate!’
You know before doing the podcast I said ‘Okay Katya you have to, you know, keep yourself from saying that’. See, that was not me, that was Sam who said that!
Exterminate! Well, listen, Doctor Who was a part of my childhood. I don’t know if I really watched it, but my dad used to come to me and say ‘Exterminate!’ And I’m like dad, what’s going on? So, I learned about it as a boy.
I think I did watch some of it. I think my dad enjoyed some of it, so it is, not to say my dad’s an ancient man or anything, but it’s been going for a while.
There was a film in 1996.
There was a film, that is true.
And it kinda stopped since 1989, and they got a film, and it started again in 2005?
Yeah, the new school episode, the first episode came out in 2005. Yes, that’s true.
And I’ve done a bit of research, there were 26 original seasons.
Then a film. And now there have been 11 series, am I right?
I think so. Maybe 12. So I’m pretty sure some people might ask like how the hell did they manage to have it going so long?
So the thing is that the main character, the Doctor, does not die. Instead, he regenerates.
Okay. No, you don’t call him Doctor Who.
It’s THE Doctor. That’s why that allows the producers to just, you know, change the actor and keep going.
So it’s actually, to be fair, and you’ll forgive me if I offend you, cause this is your favorite tv show. This is a lot like James Bond.
In what way? In what way?
In the sense that they… It’s popular, it has that longevity.
And they replace the actors when one is finished, his tenure, or her tenure. They replace him or her. Cause there’s gonna be… And I’ll tell you what else, and forgive me, you don’t like my comparison so much, I can tell. But listen – Doctor Who, sorry, the Doctor now is female, right?
Yes. The first female Doctor, and you have no idea how many comments that raised.
And if I’m correct, the next James Bond film is going to introduce a female. Her name won’t be James Bond of course, but she will be called 007.
You know, that’s what they did to an American version of Sherlock. Cause in there Doctor Watson is a female, you know, played by Lucy Liu. So in there she’s… What was he name?
Oh right, I know what you talk about.
It’s Joanne Watson instead of being John Watson.
I know what you’re talking about actually. I’ve seen that tv show, but not watched it. But yeah.
But it’s not British, so we’re not gonna talk about it right now.
So Sherlock is also very popular. Do you watch it?
I watched all of the episodes five times. No judgement. This is judgement…
Yes, I did, I did. So, again, when I was in London, I went to see the places that, you know, some of the scenes were shot. So, yes, I totally loved it. Cause it has, you know, all the tension, it’s very, I would say… I don’t even know how to explain that – you just can’t stop.
Right. It’s an addiction.
It is! In a way. And also all the actors there – they’re so charismatic, they’re so… God, I love it.
What do you call someone who really really loves Benedict Cumberbatch? Is there a word for that?
Cumberbatching, I don’t know.
I know how you call a person who loves Doctor Who – a Whovian. If you have someone who loves Sherlock, they’re Sherlocked.
Oh, they’re Sherlocked! It sounds painful.
And if it’s someone who loves both Doctor Who and Sherlock, they are Wholocked.
Wholocked? Are you Wholocked? Well unfortunately I’m not quite Wholocked, but I… Actually, I’m gonna be frank. Doctor Who is not my most favorite. I don’t know why. Maybe cause I’ve brought up and I’ve seen so much British tv.
I’m not as keen. Some people enjoy it more, but maybe because they haven’t seen something else.
Some people say that it’s like childish or something.
I mean, listen, that’s not a problem for me, I enjoy fantasy. It’s not to say that I haven’t watched Doctor Who – I have. And I have enjoyed it. But I’m not a Whovian.
Sorry, I’m not. So, maybe they are the best, I wanna ask which are the best tv shows. What do you think? I mean, this is your opinion. From Britain.
I would say Doctor Who, I would say Doctor Who for me is number one, and Sherlock is number two. And Peaky Blinders is number three.
It’s quite good, Peaky Blinders, yeah.
I’ve also watched some of it. So why am I only watching some of these?
The fifth season is coming out right now, at this moment.
It’s outgoing, yeah. I enjoy, I have enjoyed, I took a break form it and never went back – maybe this is a problem with stamina problem or something. I don’t finish tv shows. But I enjoyed it for all the different accents.
I enjoy the likes of Harry Potter and tv shows and films which of genuine… And I know that some of them are changing their accent, but they are genuine accents, varied accents from Ireland, from the UK, from different places throughout the British Isles.
That’s what I love it for.
I like this fact. That appeals to me because when I watch an American produced film, as good as it might be, they’re all doing just the same accent like the Queen. I can’t do it, I can’t watch that. This is just…
For example, I watched Bridget Jones’ diary, and apart from the fact that it’s mainly… I think it’s a chick flick.
As you remember, this is judgement free zone.
Yeah. We’re in the judgement free podcast zone. I couldn’t stand it, because… And it’s not necessarily about film, but the accents. And it’s maybe because it’s also, it’s target is women, but I couldn’t’ stand the accents, because they were so…
To me they were so fake. And the language they use, you know, it’s so unrealistic. Having been in England and done from the places in the UK, it’s so… It’s not realistic. But what makes…
So, back to Doctor Who and Sherlock, and, you know, I would include maybe Black Mirror too. I think they’ve got a popularity throughout the world.
Yeah. Actually, I don’t think we can say that Black Books is a British tv show, cause it’s like, British/American/Canadian.
Right. Black Mirror can we include it, we’ll mention.
Haha, I’m allowed. What makes these successful?
So, Doctor Who, I guess, the fact that it can appeal to different age groups. Cause adults love it, kids love it. So, it’s… There’s no violence.
I mean, there’s the threat of violence.
Exactly, but there’s no direct violence.
Yeah. It’s quite tame in actual reality. You always… I think you always have that feeling of oh no something’s bad going to happen.
But there’s not actually something bad that you can visually see happen.
Exactly. With Sherlock – I guess, it’s a combination of, you know, things - the actors, the plot, and also, you know, when they start watching, they think – Oh I’ve read the stories, I can guess what’s gonna happen, but then No!
It’s got a bit of a twist in it too, because anything else, if I’m right in saying, anything else that I watched at least, Sherlock Holmes wise, has been a little bit, you know, it’s from 19th century or…
Or, sorry, maybe 18th century, it’s a little bit older, a little bit old-fashioned, because the books were that way.
They’ve taken it into the modern age. Translated it. Sherlock has a mobile phone, doesn’t he?
So that adds a new twist, a new light to it, but they still capture I think the essence of Sherlock. I mean, listen, I think it’s a good tv show, regardless the fact that I’ve postponed it, I still think it…
You know, I think maybe you did it for the best…
The fourth season was kinda a bit disappointing.
Okay. What makes these different from, I’ll just jump to this, what makes them different from American tv shows? If anything?
You can’t say that there’s one thing that makes all the British tv shows different from American ones.
Do you think that the talent… Or do you think it is the accent?
I don’t think it’s the accent.
I mean, there are so many brilliant American tv shows. There’s just so… I mean you can compare Sherlock and Elementary, cause they’re both modern Sherlock Holmes stories. But yeah, they are just different. So I have no idea what…
Each individual show is different.
It’s not exactly different from another country, but different from anything else.
It’s the uniqueness. People look for uniqueness.
Yes. Cause we have so many shows now that they are kinda the same. And we’re getting tired. Especially now.
You can kinda guess what’s gonna happen.
Exactly. Now that we live in the world of choice, like, we have so much to choose from. We don’t want the same thing.
Yeah. WE decide what we watch. When I was a little boy…
I spent time, I spent serious time sitting in front of the tv, waiting for the best thing to come on, you know. I would watch a cartoon, maybe I was a little bit addicted to television. I would watch a cartoon, but I didn’t really want to watch that cartoon.
I had to wait for the next cartoon, and I didn’t wanna miss the next one.
Exactly. Cause you couldn’t pause it.
But now viewers have choices. You, listening, choose to listen to our podcast!
I wanna say thank you to you cause you had a choice.
And you made the right one.
And I know people are listening. Who is your favorite character? My guess is… But who is your favorite character? And why?
I don’t know. Tell me what your guess is.
Doctor Who? Sorry, the Doctor?
Okay, but then the question – which Doctor?
Have you really watched the oldest ones?
Okay, I’ve started doing that, we should not forget that some of them were lost, you know, some or hem lost. So I watched about two or three season with the first Doctor, which was so fun to watch. And I plan on actually watching all of them at some point.
Oh, okay. So you are a Whovonian?
I don’t know how to reply to that. Even if we’re talking about Doctor Who, you can’t just choose one. Well, I can’t choose.
It’s like choosing between your children again, yeah?
Exactly! Yes! So let’s say the 12th Doctor played by Peter Capaldi – he was all like grumpy Scottish man, but..
He was a little bit older.
I mean, compared to the previous couple.
Exactly. And they’re all so different.
I feel like that’s the most common answer. Most people…
That’s what a Whovian doesn’t… It’s clear I’m not a Whovian I guess. David Tennant is… Well, they’re all talented, listen, I haven’t watched the newest lady Doctor. I don’t know what she’s like. What do you think of her?
Oh, I think she is amazing. Well, I mean, after the 12th, who was all like grumpy and serious topics were brought up, you know, it was dark. The last two seasons with the 12th Doctor were so dark. And now she brings, you know, the sunshine back, of being, you know, all so cheerful. So you know that no matter what happens.
Am I right in saying that the Doctors, they all’ve got a little bit of their own personal beauty, personality.
Yes. That’s why they’re all different.
Some of them being, like, you know, careless maybe, some of them being too serious. They’re all different.
I guess for an actor that’s quite nice that they don’t have to live up to the previous, you know, he was a great doctor, how can I be like him? They can just ‘I’ll be myself’. Which sense…
Unless you can be Batman, be yourself. But I’m Batman. However… People know I like Batman, right. So, who is the best villain?
Okay. I would… Okay. I’m torn between two. The Daleks.
Moriarti, yes! I can’t choose between those two, Moriarti or the Daleks.
Or the Dialects, as I like to call them. Those dialect are hard.
You know, the door is over there, please go.
Oh yeah. You’ll never forgive me for that. So yeah. I can understand.
Do you have a favorite villain? From any tv show?
From the tv show… Let me see… Thinking about what we’ve discussed – I would probably go with the Daleks actually.
I would say that they’re my favorite. I like the Moriarti in the Robert Downey Jr Sherlock films. Well, I really like those films actually. I even particularly like the second, which, as a sequel, I felt was better.
So Moriarti as a character I like, but I think I would slightly prefer from the tv shows the Daleks.
It’s semi-scary, semi-hilarious to see them.
Yes. Cause every time you see them, you’re like ‘What can this… What can this salt shaker do?’ And then they surprise you.
Yeah. So it’s this non-intimidating, but at the same time you find out that they’re quite dangerous, yeah. And what else is iconic about your favorite tv show? And I guess we’re speaking of Doctor Who?
What about your tattoo? What will it be?
Oh, right! How could I forget! The Tardis!
So the Doctor travels in a telephone box, a blue telephone box.
Oh wait, it’s a police telephone box! A police box!
Are you a whovian? It’s a police box.
It’s a police box. There’s a telephone in there, so it was used as far as I get to call the police.
Right. So, I have never seen one of those.
Yes. So there’s an old police box in London, in one of the tube stations. But so, it’s obviously not in the use.
If you had… Back in the day, historically, if you had a problem, you needed the police, this was dedicated. You go in it and you call the police in it. Things like that exist today, but maybe not so much in the UK.
Well the thing is that it looks tiny on the outside, but it’s bigger on the inside.
It’s like a mansion I think. It’s like a spaceship too.
It is a spaceship too. Which, technically in the first season they’ve mentioned that Tardis can change the shape and the look of it, but apparently this Tardis got broken, so now it’s stuck in the shape and form of a police box.
Which is not the bad thing.
It is not. But I mean a lot of episodes take place in, you know, 21st century, which, when you see…
You never know. So if you see a police box or a telephone box, you can never be sure that it’s just a police box.
Where does the name Tardis come from?
So it actually stands for Time and Relevant Dimension in Space.
Are you checking me on how good a Whovian I am?
Yeah. So you passed that test.
I passed the test! Thank God!
So, would you recommend… Some of your favorite tv show, let’s say, we’re talking Sherlock Holmes, we’re talking Doctor Who. For me – the X Factor’s good, Black Books I really recommend it kinda.
And Blackadder, I recommend it to you, so. But would you recommend Doctor Who, Sherlock, even Black Mirror? Are they for… Who are they for? Who would like them?
Oh my, anyone can. But if you like dystopias, then you’re definitely gonna like Black Mirror. And you’re probably gonna get depressed after that. Be prepared for that, please. Doctor Who – yes.
I would definitely recommend Doctor Who, especially to those people who love fantasy. Cause it’s amazing.
There’s an element of fantasy in it, and an element of sci-fi.
Exactly. So you can’t actually say what genre it has. And I would recommend watch several episodes, cause sometimes when you start watching, especially the first season of the new school, you think ‘Oh my god, that’s kinda boring, I don’t wanna watch that’. But once you…
They can be quite different.
Yeah, they’re so different. Sometimes they are boring episodes, sometimes they’re so captivating you can’t stop watching them. I would definitely recommend to watch Sherlock if you haven’t yet, please do.
I think it’s got a wider appeal.
Cause I know people who don’t love sci-fi, and even fantasy. But something like Sherlock they would absolutely watch. So I think I would probably recommend that for everyone. And Doctor Who is maybe more of a acquired taste.
It’s not necessarily for everyone. So that was the craic about British tv shows. So we talked quite a bit… We mentioned all kinds of shows that we know between us. What we watch. We talked a little bit, quite a lot maybe, about Doctor Who, about Sherlock.
We agree they’re the best and the most well-known. Why are they successful, uniqueness we believe. Some of the favorite characters, iconic things about them in the films. And we recommend these to you. So that was the craic about British tv shows.