TV Shows From The 90s You Have Probably Forgotten About

We all remember shows from Gladiators, Bottom, Friends, Quantum Leap, Mr Bean, Kenan & Kel, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Alan Patridge, to the likes of Absolutely Fabulous, SM:TV Live, Blind Date, but there’s been a whole host of other shows from back in the 90s that have been consigned to the TV vaults.

We love a rewind To The 90s, we’re raiding the archives to uncover a host of programmed you’d likely forgotten all about.

The Frank Skinner Show

Graham Norton and Jonathan Ross make up the majority of hosts on the chat show circuit these days, but back in the 90s, they had company from the likes of Michael Parkinson, Mrs Merton, Des O’Connor and Frank Skinner.

You might have forgotten that Frank hosted an eponymous late-night show for the BBC between 1995 and 1999, before moving to ITV for its final six years.

As well as celebrity chat, the show also used to feature a stand-up routine, sketches and a comedy song.

Ground Force

Your nan loved it and if you are in your late 30’s or older, you secretly loved it too! Coming off the success of home renovation series Changing Rooms was its horticultural counterpart Ground Force.

Each week a team of designers, builders and gardeners, headed up by Alan Titchmarsh, Charlie Dimmock and Tommy Jones would transform an unloved garden, sparking a national obsession with decking and pebble bubble fountains.

Man O Man

Man O Man turned the concept of a beauty pageant on its head and featured a host of male contestants, with a female audience voting on the winner after they were put through various challenges. It memorably saw losing contestants pushed into a swimming pool behind them.

Based on the German gameshow of the same name, Man O Man was hosted by Chris Tarrant and aired for two series between 1996 and 1999.

Don’t Try This At Home

After learning her craft as a presenter with roles on MTV and a number of late night shows, Davina arrived on prime time with her own Saturday night series, Don’t Try This At Home, in 1998.

It saw members of the public facing tough and extreme challenges, such as bungee jumping, or facing their fears by being locked in a room full of spiders.

One episode saw Davina have to bungee jump from a helicopter into the Grand Canyon after one contestant pulled out of a challenge at the last minute.

Hetty Wainthropp Investigates

Patrica Routledge is beloved for her role as snobby neighbourhood busybody Hyacinth Bucket in BBC sitcom Keeping Up Appearances. But after leaving the show in 1995 at the height of its popularity, Patricia said she wanted to pursue other more dramatic roles – the first of which came a year later when she began playing the titular character in detective series Hetty Wainthropp Investigates.

Airing for four series between 1996 and 1998, viewers followed Hetty – a retired woman from the North West of England – solving crimes that were often seen as too trivial for the police.

The Thin Blue Line

The 90s was a golden era for British comedy, with shows like Absolutely Fabulous, Keeping Up Appearances, Desmond’s, Dinnerladies, Men Behaving Badly and The Vicar Of Dibley among the most notable.

One that is often less well remembered is The Thin Blue line – a sitcom penned by Ben Elton set in a police station.

Starring Mr Bean himself Rowan Atkinson and Rudolph Walker (aka EastEnders’ Patrick Truman), it focused on the divide between the uniformed squad and CID and their conflicting approaches to policing.

Only 14 episodes were made across two series between 1995 and 1996.


Sunburn was a BBC drama that followed the lives of a group of British holiday reps working in the Algarve, starring Michelle Collins, Sharon Small, Sean Maguire and Paul Nicholas.

The idea for the show, which ran for two series between 1999 and 2000 – came about after writer Mike Bullen (the man behind Cold Feet) watched the docu-soap Holiday Reps

The Grimleys

This comedy drama followed the trials and tribulations of the everyday Grimley family, based in the Midlands in the 1970s.

Written by Line Of Duty creator Jed Mercurio, it also starred Amanda Holden in one of her early dramatic roles, where she played school teacher, Miss Geraldine Titley.

After a pilot in 1997, it ran for three series between 1999 and 2001.

The Cruise

Following the success of the BBC’s fly-on-the-wall documentary series Airport, the broadcaster set its sight on the seas, and launched The Cruise, which followed the staff aboard the luxury liner Galaxy.

It was also the show that launched the TV career of Loose Women legend and cruiser extraordinaire Jane McDonald.

Jane was working as a singer on board and captured the nation’s hearts with her down to earth sense of humour and blossoming relationship with partner Henrik, who she went on to marry on the show, which aired for 12 episodes in 1998.

House Doctor

One of the key shows in Channel 5’s early years was House Doctor – a home renovation series with a twist.

Each episode would see Californian real-estate stylist Ann Maurice come to the rescue of people struggling to sell their homes, helping them to declutter and redecorate on a budget in order to attract potential buyers.

Having originally aired between 1998 and 2003, there was a brief revival in 2016, where Ann was succeeded by new designer Tracy Metro.

Peak Practice

Peak Practice was an ITV drama that ran from 1993 to 2002 which was set in a fictional GP surgery in the Peak District.

Kevin Whately, Amanda Burton and Sarah Parish were among those who appeared during the course of its 12 series.

The show ended on somewhat of a cliffhanger when it was axed by ITV, with two characters going over the edge of a cliff, with their fate remaining unclear.

Talking Telephone Numbers

This ITV game show gave viewers the chance to win cash based on their telephone number.

During the course of each episode, various variety acts would perform and play a short game that would generate a number. Once five digits were selected, viewers who had them in their phone number could call into one of the show’s 96 telephonists. A phone line would then be picked at random, and that person given the chance to win £25,000.

The show was presented by Phillip Schofield between 1994 and 1997, with Emma Forbes joining him for the first four series, and Claudia Winkleman co-hosting the final run with him.

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Mark Boardman
Mark Boardman
Mark Boardman is an established showbiz journalist and freelance copywriter whose work has been published in Business Insider, Daily Mail, Bloomberg, MTV, Buzzfeed and The New York Post amongst other press. Often spotted on the red carpet at celebrity events and film screenings, Mark is a regular guest on BBC Radio London and in-demand for his opinions for media outlets including Newsweek. His TV credits include This Morning, The One Show and T4. Email

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