In comments to my 1–4–13 post re Downton Abbey, the DUCHESS OF DUKE STREET was mentioned by several writers, as being superior to DA.
In my thinking, that is one of the very best British TV Dramas that was produced during that wonderful time in the 70–80's along with UPSTAIRS DOWNSTAIRS and a whole list of others – below is an incomplete list of my top favs.
To Serve them All his Days
Lillie (life of Lillie Langtry and the breakout role for Francesca Annis)
A Testament to Youth (with fabulous Cheryl Campbell)
MAPP and LUCIA (Prunella Scales and Geraldine McEwan
MULBERRY (Geraldine McEwan) not seen often in the states but available to order – do get it – the most quirky and delightful four person ensemble – created by the great team of ESMONDE and LARBEY (who went on solo to create A FINE ROMANCE (Dench and Williams and AS TIME GOES BY (Dench, Palmer etal) also created THE GOOD LIFE (P Keith, R Briers, F Kendal) and EVER DECREASING CIRCLES as well as a whole list of others
the Dorothy Sayers Harriet Vane-Lord Peter courtship triology – Strong Posion, Have His Carcase and Gaudy Night – with Harrier Walter (the perfect Vane) and Edward Petherbridge (still my first choice for LPW) too bad they ran out of money or time or whatever and didnt do Busmans Honeymoon.
the original Miss Marple series with Joan Hickson (while I admire Geraldine McEwan and Julie MacKenzie they were hampered with so many plot changes in their productions)
the unflappable and only Hercule Poirot which David Suchet has conquered so admirably – he only has four left to bring to production the ENTIRE CANON of Poirot stories!
other impeccable series – MORSE, SANDBAGGERS (Roy Marsden in a cold war thriller series about MI6), BERGERAC, POLDARK, the PD JAmes adaptations and yes, MIDSOMER MURDERS (while certainly formulaic they are all beautifully written each episode bringing to life another set of characters who need Barnaby to solve their murders and assorted problems)
the original SHERLOCK (with Jeremy Brett still the best SH)
ALL CREATURES GREAT AND SMALL (Robert Hardy and Peter Davison in breakout roles)
one must also mention I CLAUDIUS and THE FORSYTHE SAGA as groundbreaking early shows and of course BRIDESHEAD REVISITED.
other notables: FLAMBARDS, CAMPION, this is a frustrating post – it could go on for pages.
check these links for more ideas…