Best 20 British crime dramas of all time

Inspector Morse is the nation's favourite, but which other home-grown detective shows made the cut?

Inspector Morse in a pub

Inspector Morse has topped a new list of the 20 best British crime dramas, in a poll for the Radio Times.

“The Oxford-based whodunnit – which starred John Thaw and Kevin Whately – came to an end in 2000, but is still remembered fondly by readers, who placed it above such current hits as Line of Duty and Happy Valley,” says the magazine.

Here are the top 20 in full:

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Inspector Morse (1987-2000)

Detective Chief Inspector Endeavour Morse GM originated as the eponymous fictional character in the series of detective novels by British author Colin Dexter. In the popular TV drama he was played by John Thaw.

Foyle’s War (2002-15)

Set during the Second World War, this series follows Detective Chief Superintendent Christopher Foyle, a quiet, methodical character. Many of his cases concern profiteering, the black market and catching criminals who are taking advantage of the confusion created by the war.

Line of Duty (2012-)

Steve Arnott and Kate Fleming are detectives in an elite anti-corruption unit called AC-12, tasked with investigating their corrupt police colleagues.

Endeavor (2012)

A prequel to Inspector Morse, the series portrays the young Endeavour Morse beginning his career as a detective constable with the Oxford City Police CID.

Happy Valley (2014-)

In a small West Yorkshire town, strong-willed police sergeant Catherine Cawood investigates a case that crosses paths with her own personal tragedy.

Vera (2011-)

Based on the novels of the same name, Vera is a middle-aged employee of the fictional Northumberland & City Police, who is obsessed with her work and driven by her own demons.

Miss Marple (1984-1992)

Agatha Christie's murder mystery novels inspired this drama, in which the deceptively frail detective Miss Marple uncovers foul play in rural England.

Agatha Christie’s Poirot (1989-2013)

The intelligent yet eccentrically refined Belgian detective Hercule Poirot pits his wits against a collection of murderers.

Shetland (2013-)

Detective Inspector Jimmy Perez and his team investigate crimes within the close-knit island community of Shetland.

A Touch of Frost (1992-2010)

This series follows Detective Inspector Jack Frost, an unconventional officer with sympathy for the underdog and an instinct for moral justice.

Midsomer Murders (1997-)

Based on Caroline Graham's Chief Inspector Barnaby books, the drama is set in modern-day England and revolves around Tom Barnaby's efforts to solve various murders that take place in the once-peaceful, picturesque but deadly villages of the fictional county of Midsomer.

Lewis (2006-2015)

Inspector Robert Lewis and Sergeant James Hathaway solve the tough cases thrown at them by the inhabitants of Oxford.

Prime Suspect (1991-2006)

A show quite ahead of its time, this series follows a female police detective who investigates a series of serial murders while dealing with sexist hostility from her male coworkers.

New Tricks (2003-2015)

Funny and dramatic, New Tricks centres around retired police officers who are drafted in to solve cold cases.

Broadchurch (2013-17)

The murder of a young boy in a small coastal town brings a media frenzy, which threatens to tear the community apart.

Inspector George Gently (2006-17)

Inspector George Gently spends his days bringing to justice members of the criminal underworld.

Life on Mars (2006-7)

Featuring a present day police officer from the Greater Manchester Police who wakes up in 1973 after being involved in a road accident, the series combines elements of speculative fiction and police procedural.

Scott & Bailey (2011-16)

Scott & Bailey is based on an original idea by Suranne Jones and Sally Lindsay, after Jones called for more roles for women "that weren't wife-of, sidekick-to, mother-of, mistress-to, etc”.

Taggart (1985-2010)

In this drama, the Maryhill CID investigates gruesome murders against the backdrop of the city of Glasgow.

Strike (2017-)

Based on the best-selling novels by Robert Galbraith (aka J.K. Rowling), Tom Burke stars as private detective Cormoran Strike, a former war veteran now working out of a cramped London office.

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