Entertainment & Arts

In Pictures: 50 landmark BBC Two shows

BBC Two is celebrating its 50th anniversary on Sunday, 20 April, having been home to many landmark programmes over the decades.

THE 1960s

Image caption Children's show Play School was the first full programme to be broadcast on BBC Two, on 21 April 1964
Image caption The Likely Lads, starring Rodney Bewes (left) and James Bolam, was the first comedy on the channel
Image caption Music programme Jazz 625 first aired in 1965, coinciding with a boom in the British jazz scene
Image caption Dudley Moore and Peter Cook starred in Not Only But Also. Three series were made, beginning in 1966
Image caption Match of the Day began life on BBC Two in August 1964. Liverpool v Arsenal was the first featured game
Image caption Wordy quiz show Call My Bluff began in 1965 before returning in 1996
Image caption The memorable Forsyte Saga won Susan Hampshire a best actress Emmy Award in 1970 (actress Nyree Dawn Porter is pictured here)
Image caption Gardener's World was launched in 1969, with presenters including Percy Thrower. It is still going strong
Image caption Kenneth Clark fronted the epic documentary series Civilisation in 1969. The BBC is now bringing it back
Image caption BBC Two was the first channel in Europe to broadcast in colour, including snooker programme Pot Black

THE 1970s

Image caption Chef Delia Smith began her TV career with Family Fare in 1973
Image caption Just two series of seminal sitcom Fawlty Towers were made, with the 12 episodes airing in 1975 and '79
Image caption I, Claudius, starring Derek Jacobi, came 12th in the BFI's list of the 100 best ever TV shows in 2000
Image caption The Old Grey Whistle Test ran from 1971 to '87, featuring performances by stars like Meat Loaf (pictured)
Image caption Dennis Potter's 1978 musical drama Pennies From Heaven established Bob Hoskins as a leading man
Image caption Not the Nine O'Clock News introduced Griff Rhys Jones, Rowan Atkinson, Pamela Stephenson & Mel Smith
Image caption Alec Guinness starred in the tense 1979 adaptation of John le Carre's spy novel Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
Image caption David Attenborough's groundbreaking natural history programme Life On Earth was first transmitted in 1979

THE 1980s

Image caption Satirical sitcom Yes Minister ran for three series between 1980 and 1984, followed by Yes, Prime Minister
Image caption The fierce Barbara Woodhouse started her TV career on BBC Two on Training Dogs the Woodhouse Way
Image caption Liverpool drama Boys From The Blackstuff, penned by Alan Bleasdale, captured the mood of the early '80s
Image caption The Young Ones, co-written by Ben Elton, was the first sitcom of the alternative comedy generation
Image caption Flamboyant restaurateur and chef Keith Floyd's first TV series was Floyd on Fish in 1985
Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption BBC Two's highest ever ratings came during the 1985 snooker final between Dennis Taylor and Steve Davis
Image caption Crime drama and political thriller Edge of Darkness, broadcast in 1985, won six Bafta Awards
Image caption Sci-fi comedy Red Dwarf blasted off in 1988. It ran until 1999 before being resurrected by TV channel Dave
Image caption Newsnight started life in 1980, and Jeremy Paxman (pictured during a moment off air) joined in 1989
Image caption An adaptation of Jeanette Winterson's novel Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit proved controversial

THE 1990s

Image caption Have I Got News For You has used guest hosts since original compere Angus Deayton was fired in 2002
Image caption Music show Later... with Jools Holland (pictured with PJ Harvey in 1993) is now into its 44th series
Image caption Chris Morris satirised and subverted mainstream news programmes on The Day Today
Image caption The Day Today's sport reporter Alan Partridge was given his own chat show, Knowing Me, Knowing You
Image caption Johnny Depp dropped in to be measured up by Mark Williams and Paul Whitehouse on The Fast Show
Image caption The stars of Goodness Gracious Me have reunited for a one-off episode to celebrate BBC Two's anniversary
Image caption Clarissa Dickson Wright (left) and Jennifer Paterson broke the cookery show mould as Two Fat Ladies
Image caption Our Friends in the North made stars of Christopher Eccleston, Gina McKee, Mark Strong and Daniel Craig
Image caption House share saga This Life was another of the decade's landmark dramas
Image caption Sister Wendy was one of TV's unlikeliest stars, but her Odyssey art appreciation show achieved cult status
Image caption Garden makeover series Ground Force proved a hit after launching in 1997, later moving to BBC One
Image caption The Royle Family, which arrived in 1998, turned the minutiae of mundane family life into comedy gold
Image caption The League of Gentlemen took their black comedy to BBC Two after making their debut on BBC Radio 4

THE 2000s

Image caption Anne Robinson was the wicked queen of the Weakest Link in both the UK and US
Image caption Simon Schama attempted to cover 5,000 years in 15 episodes of A History of Britain
Image caption Top Gear went on the air in 1976, but has picked up speed since Jeremy Clarkson and co took over
Image caption Ricky Gervais' mockumentary The Office won six Baftas and two Golden Globes and spawned a US remake
Image caption Little Britain moved to BBC Two after its initial success on BBC Three
Image caption Miranda Hart made her name with her sitcom on BBC Two in 2009 before transferring to BBC One

THE 2010s

Image caption Professor Brian Cox became a household name thanks to documentaries like Wonders of the Solar System
Image caption Hugh Bonneville and Jessica Hynes sent up the Olympics and then the BBC in Twenty Twelve and W1A
Image caption Line of Duty, starring Keeley Hawes, is one of BBC Two's most talked-about dramas of recent years

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