The UK's Long Runners

by Mark_a_Wood | created - 19 Jun 2018 | updated - 19 Jun 2018 | Public

British television is very different to U.S. television and is sometimes thought to not have programmes that have run for many years - but there are in fact many.

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1. Panorama (1953– )

40 min | Documentary, News

Long-running factual programme reporting on all aspects of life in Britain.

Stars: Fred Emery, David Dimbleby, Richard Lindley, Richard Dimbleby

Votes: 390

The World's longest-running current affairs programme (1953-present) clocking up 64 years, so far. Broadcast on BBC One usually commencing in late January and running right through to November or December.

2. The Sky at Night (1957– )

20 min | Documentary

Astronomy programme.

Stars: Patrick Moore, Chris Lintott, Maggie Aderin-Pocock, Pete Lawrence

Votes: 284

The science programme about astronomy has been on air from 1957-present. Usually broadcasts monthly all year round plus specials. Sir Patrick Moore hosted the show from 1957 until his death in December 2012 - a world record in itself.

3. Blue Peter (1958– )

25 min | Family

British childrens magazine program which has run since the end of the 50s. Aimed at kids from the age of about 6-14. The show has different segments where the presenters would show the ... See full summary »

Stars: Christopher Trace, Konnie Huq, Leila Williams, Valerie Singleton

Votes: 426

The BBC's flagship children's programme is the world's longest-running children's tv show. It has been running from 1958-present.

4. Coronation Street (1960– )

TV-PG | 30 min | Drama, Romance

The U.K.'s longest-running television soap, Coronation Street focuses on the everyday lives of working class people in Manchester, England.

Stars: William Roache, Helen Worth, Sally Dynevor, Simon Gregson

Votes: 4,497

Britain's longest running soap opera and the flagship programme of commercial channel ITV. It has been running from 1960-present.

5. Songs of Praise (1961– )

35 min | Music

Long-running religious programme broadcasting church services and in particular the singing of Christian hymns from a different place of worship each week. Also featuring interviews and news segments of interest to the Christian community.

Stars: Aled Jones, Pam Rhodes, Katherine Jenkins, Sean Fletcher

Votes: 85

One of the longest-running religious programmes in the world 1961-Present.

6. Doctor Who (1963–1989)

TV-PG | 45 min | Adventure, Drama, Family

The adventures in time and space of the Doctor, a Time Lord who changes appearance and personality by regenerating when near death, and is joined by companions in battles against aliens and other megalomaniacs.

Stars: William Hartnell, Patrick Troughton, Jon Pertwee, Tom Baker

Votes: 33,700

7. Horizon (I) (1964– )

50 min | Documentary

British documentary series that covers a variety of subjects in science and philosophy.

Stars: Paul Vaughan, Jack Fortune, Dilly Barlow, Martin Jarvis

Votes: 899

8. Match of the Day (1964– )

70 min | News, Sport

Highlights, interviews and analysis from expert pundits of Saturday's English Premier League football matches.

Stars: Gary Lineker, Guy Mowbray, Steve Wilson, Jonathan Pearce

Votes: 1,991

9. What the Papers Say (1956– )

15 min

Weekly look at the handling of the news by individual newspapers.

Stars: Tony Livesey, Michael Parkinson, Jimmy Hibbert, Ann Leslie

Votes: 6

10. Gardeners' World (1968– )

TV-G | 30 min | Documentary

Gardening advice show.

Stars: Monty Don, Carol Klein, Geoffrey Smith, Joe Swift

Votes: 115

11. Grandstand (1958–2007)

290 min | Sport

Weekend BBC sports show featuring live coverage of all the top British and international events.

Stars: Des Lynam, David Coleman, Frank Bough, Ron Pickering

Votes: 57

12. A Question of Sport (1970– )

30 min | Game-Show, Sport

Sporting celebrities are quizzed on their own and others' sports.

Stars: Sue Barker, Matt Dawson, Phil Tufnell, Ally McCoist

Votes: 845

13. Points of View (1961– )

10 min | Documentary

A selection of viewers' letters giving their opinions on television programmes.

Stars: Barry Took, Terry Wogan, Anne Robinson, Jeremy Vine

Votes: 33

14. University Challenge (1962– )

30 min | Game-Show

Jeremy Paxman hosts this trivia quiz show where colleges from around the UK compete against each other.

Stars: Jeremy Paxman, Roger Tilling, Bamber Gascoigne, Waldemar Januzczak

Votes: 595

15. Film 2017 (1971– )

30 min | Talk-Show

The BBC's flagship cinema review television programme featuring reviews of new releases, news items and interviews. The title of the programme changes each year to incorporate the year of broadcast.

Stars: Barry Norman, Danny Leigh, Claudia Winkleman, Jonathan Ross

Votes: 407

16. Newsround (1972– )

10 min | Family, News

John Craven (and latterly other presenters) introduce news stories and other articles of interest to its young audience. Broadcast at around 5.00pm on BBC1 in the UK.

Stars: Ricky Boleto, Leah Gooding, Joe Tidy, Martin Dougan

Votes: 151

17. Come Dancing (1949–1998)


Exhibition dancing series.

Stars: Peter West, Charles Nove, Angela Rippon, Terry Wogan

Votes: 13

18. Mastermind (1972– )

30 min | Game-Show

A long-running series in which members of the public sit in a black chair to answer questions on a specialist subject and general knowledge.

Stars: John Humphrys, Magnus Magnusson, Gareth Kingston, Michael McPartland

Votes: 489

19. Emmerdale (1972– )

TV-PG | 30 min | Drama, Romance

A soap opera set in a fictional village in the Yorkshire Dales.

Stars: Lucy Pargeter, Mark Charnock, Jeff Hordley, Elizabeth Estensen

Votes: 2,654

20. The Money Programme (1966– )

45 min | Documentary

Britain's most popular financial and business programme.

Stars: Robin Aitken, Tom Maddocks, John Penycate, Peter Eustace

Votes: 18

21. This Is Your Life (1955–2003)

30 min | Documentary, Biography

The UK version of the popular US show. Eamonn Andrews (later Michael Aspel) surprises celebrities by presenting them with the Big Red Book before taking them into the studio to tell viewers... See full summary »

Stars: Eamonn Andrews, Michael Aspel, Eric Sykes, William Roache

Votes: 157

22. Pobol y Cwm (1974– )

25 min | Drama

A Welsh-language TV soap (the longest running BBC television soap) set in the small Welsh town of Cwmderi, in the heart of the South Wales valleys.

Stars: Gwenfair Vaughan, Rhys Parry Jones, Carli De'La Hughes, Huw Ceredig

Votes: 74

23. Top of the Pops (1964–2018)

30 min | Music

A rundown of the latest chart hits, featuring in-studio performances from popular music artists.

Stars: The Ladybirds, Pan's People, Jimmy Savile, Lulu Cartwright

Votes: 721

24. Antiques Roadshow (1979– )

TV-G | 45 min | Reality-TV

A team of experts from auction houses tours towns throughout the UK to value treasures brought in by members of the public.

Stars: Michael Aspel, Fiona Bruce, Hugh Scully, Hilary Kay

Votes: 579

25. Question Time (1979– )

60 min | News, Talk-Show

Politicians, public office-holders and celebrities face questions on topical issues from a studio audience.

Stars: David Dimbleby, Robin Day, Peter Sissons, Kenneth Clarke

Votes: 308

26. Top Gear (1978–2002)

TV-PG | 30 min | Documentary

Quentin, Tiff, Vicki and others look at all things car-related.

Stars: Tiff Needell, Jeremy Clarkson, Quentin Willson, Chris Goffey

Votes: 24,400

27. Newsnight (1980– )

45 min | News

Serious news reports, analysis and no-holds-barred interviews with leading politicians and public figures.

Stars: Kirsty Wark, Jeremy Paxman, Emily Maitlis, Gavin Esler

Votes: 142

28. Tomorrow's World (1965–2003)

30 min | Documentary

Long running BBC TV series looking at what's new in science and technology.

Stars: Judith Hann, Howard Stableford, Raymond Baxter, Michael Rodd

Votes: 81

29. Holiday (1969–2007)

30 min | Documentary

British travelogue series featuring location reports on holiday destinations from all over the world.

Stars: Cliff Michelmore, Jill Dando, Kathy Tayler, Eamonn Holmes

Votes: 13

30. The Sooty Show (1968–1992)

30 min | Family

Children's slapstick show with the little bear glove puppet and his friends.

Stars: Matthew Corbett, Marjorie Corbett, Harry Corbett, Brenda Longman

Votes: 356

31. Last of the Summer Wine (1973–2010)

TV-PG | 30 min | Comedy

Three old men from Yorkshire who have never grown up face the trials of their fellow town citizens and everyday life and stay young by reminiscing about the days of their youth and attempting feats not common to the elderly.

Stars: Peter Sallis, Jane Freeman, Kathy Staff, Robert Fyfe

Votes: 2,395

32. The South Bank Show (1978– )

53 min | Documentary

ITV's long-running arts series presented by Melvyn Bragg.

Stars: Melvyn Bragg, Ian McKellen, Lenny Henry, Alan Bennett

Votes: 116

33. See Hear (1981– )


The weekly magazine programme for deaf and hard of hearing people, produced in sign language with open subtitles.

Stars: Jean Breeze, Martin Colville, Joseph Taylor, Maggie Woolley

Votes: 7

34. Larry Grayson's Generation Game (1971–2011)

60 min | Comedy, Game-Show

Making a fool of the contestants as they try to copy professionals who have strange jobs. To win some prizes the contestants play for points until there is a winner. They then watch prizes ... See full summary »

Stars: Bruce Forsyth, Anthea Redfern, Jim Davidson, Melanie Stace

Votes: 142

35. Countdown (1982– )

45 min | Game-Show

The long-running words and numbers game.

Stars: Carol Vorderman, Richard Whiteley, Susie Dent, Rachel Riley

Votes: 1,035

36. World in Action (1963–1998)


A documentary series focusing on current affairs.

Stars: Chris Kelly, Andrew Brittain, Mike Walsh, Derek Cooper

Votes: 70

37. BBC News at Six (1984– )

30 min | News

The BBC's early evening news programme.

Stars: George Alagiah, Fiona Bruce, Sophie Raworth, Huw Edwards

Votes: 53

38. Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends (1984– )

TV-Y | 11 min | Animation, Comedy, Family

This popular series follows the adventures of Thomas the Tank Engine and all of his engine friends on the Island of Sodor.

Stars: Michael Angelis, Michael Brandon, Keith Wickham, Kerry Shale

Votes: 3,175

39. EastEnders (1985– )

TV-PG | 30 min | Crime, Drama, Romance

The everyday lives of working-class inhabitants of Albert Square, a traditional Victorian square of terrace houses surrounding a park in the East End of London's Walford borough. The square includes the Queen Vic pub and a street market.

Stars: Adam Woodyatt, Steve McFadden, Pam St. Clement, June Brown

Votes: 7,139

40. Watchdog (1985– )

30 min | Documentary

Consumer series investigating problems, dangers and ripoffs experienced by customers.

Stars: Anne Robinson, Nicky Campbell, Matt Allwright, Chris Hollins

Votes: 99

41. Catch Phrase (1985– )


Contestants compete to guess rebus-type and punny puzzles for cash and merchandise prizes in this short-lived game show.

Stars: Dan Campbell, Tim Stokes, Shana Forman, John Harlan

Votes: 18

42. BBC One O'Clock News (1986– )

30 min | News

The BBC's lunchtime news bulletin.

Stars: Sophie Raworth, Kate Silverton, Louise Minchin, Emily Maitlis

Votes: 35

43. Casualty (1986– )

TV-PG | 50 min | Drama

The everyday lives of the people frequenting the frenetic Accident and Emergency department of Holby City hospital.

Stars: Derek Thompson, Suzanne Packer, Tony Marshall, Ian Bleasdale

Votes: 2,338

44. Dispatches (1987– )

Documentary, News

Channel 4's long-running, award-winning investigative current affairs documentary series. Particularly noted for its undercover reporting.

Stars: Morland Sanders, Antony Barnett, Tazeen Ahmad, Deborah Davies

Votes: 145

45. Countryfile (1988– )

30 min | News, Reality-TV

Series looking at people and stories with a rural theme.

Stars: Adam Henson, John Craven, Ellie Harrison, Matt Baker

Votes: 89