The five best business TV shows…

We asked Real Business readers to votes for their favourite business-related TV series (not including reality shows such as Dragons’ Den, The Apprentice, Mary Queen of Shops etc). 

Here are your top five:

1. The Office

Created, written and directed by the super-talented Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant, this mockumentary follows the day-to-day lives of office employees in the (horrendously gloomy) Slough branch of Wernham Hogg Paper Company. Best ever TV moment: David Brent’s charity dance – a “fusion of Flash Dance and MC Hammer shit”). Here is a man who knows how to express himself though movement.

2. Mad Men

Set in 1960s America – initially at Sterling Cooper advertising agency on Madison Avenue in New York City, and later at Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce – Mad Men follows the adventures of talented advertising bod Don Draper. As the Telegraph points out: “This show is so sharp that there’s more good writing and acting in the course of a single elevator journey than in an entire series of an equivalent British drama.” This show is also single-handedly responsible for bringing the silhouette of the 50s and 60s back to the catwalks and shop windows with a retro bang.

3. Only Fools and Horses

We couldn’t leave out this British classic. Set in Peckham, Only Fools and Horses follows the “get-rich-quick” schemes of market trader Del Boy, his younger brother Rodney, and their elderly Grandad (most commonly used phrase: “This time next year, we’ll be millionaires”). The dodgy products they attempt to shift range from Russian Army camcorders to sex dolls filled with an explosive gas. Best ever episode: A Touch of Glass (first screened in December 1982). We’ve included a clip below for your enjoyment.

4. Brothers & Sisters

Brothers & Sisters is an American television drama series set in Pasadena, California. Okay, so there’s a lot of angst and over-acting – but there’s also a pretty good business storyline. William Walker, the founder of Ojai Foods, dies from a heart attack (in the family pool, just so you know). There’s a lot of hoo-ha over who should run the family business (ie: his sons or his mistress?). The Walkers eventually decide to sell it off. William’s brother-in-law (Saul) and son (Scotty) then open up another enterprise – a restaurant. Meanwhile, Nora (William’s widow) starts working at a radio station, which Sarah (William’s daughter) then buys. Confusing – but compelling.

5. Weeds

Nancy Botwin, a widowed mother of two boys, begins selling marijuana to support her family after her husband abruptly dies. How entrepreneurial. Best three things about this show: 

1. The theme tune (Little Boxes)

2. The plot is so wrong it’s right

3. Uber-bitch Celia Hodes (Nancy’s neighbour). She’s manic, manipulative and addicted to botox. She steals the show.

Which television show gets your vote? Post a comment below.

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