American remakes of British TV | Virgin Media
The Office American remake

American remakes of British TV



Our friends across the pond sure do like British telly. In fact they like it so much, they often make their very own versions! Sometimes these US remakes aren’t quite as special as the originals. But sometimes, they shine. Here are several recent UK-to-US pond-hoppers. 





As gross as Frank Gallagher is, we can’t help but love him. We’re still not even sure why! Shameless has always been one of the most iconic shows about the North of England, so it was a surprise when they announced a US remake. Luckily, William H Macy played the role of Frank. As far as actors go, you can’t get much better than old Will. 

Being Human 

The US Being Human is more of a nod to the original than a straight adaptation. There are new characters, and it's been totally recast. Out goes the wit of Russell Tovey and Celtic charm of Aidan Turner, and in come chisel-jawed pin-ups making it more Twilight than Totterdown. Not that we’re complaining, of course!


Luckily for us British Skins fans, the US version stuck closely to the original. However, American viewers didn’t find Skins quite as entertaining, and the show only lasted for a single series. Different strokes for different folks we guess!

Life on Mars 

The British Life on Mars gave us one of telly's biggest cult heroes of the decade, as Gene Hunt brought his old-fashioned charm roaring onto our TVs. In the US version Hunt was played by Harvey Keitel rather than Philip Glenister, but he still managed to pull off the hard-bitten cop role. Like Skins before it, the show only managed a single season. 

Top Gear 

To our British eyes, the US version of Top Gear is rather curious. In fact it all feels rather Twilight Zone, as the show sticks close to the British version’s format, but with different presenters, and an ever so slightly different atmosphere… Not that it’s a bad remake though. Far from it! We definitely recommend having a watch if you’ve not seen it before. 

Fawlty Towers 

It’s a shame that the US version of Fawlty Towers (renamed Payne) didn’t take off, because it could have been just as classic as the original. And we aren’t the only ones to think so – John Cleese (Basil Fawlty himself) gave his blessing to the show, and would have been in the second season if it had been given one!

Queer as Folk 

Queer as Folk was landmark TV on British shores, bringing Manchester's gay scene to primetime TV and winning plaudits for creator Russell T Davies (of Doctor Who fame). The US remake focused more on social issues and less on good-times, but it was still well-received over the pond. 

The Office 

We’re going to be honest here – we actually love the US version of The Office more than the British version! There’s no David Brent in the US version, but there is a very funny Steve Carrell. And don’t get us started on how much we love Dwight Schrute… We’ll be here all night!


Coupling was an odd candidate for a US remake. Mainly because Coupling was pretty much a British remake of Friends! The unusual remake of a remake didn’t go particularly well. It only lasted four episodes before it was canned. Oh dear!

Men Behaving Badly 

What could be more British than two overgrown kids mucking about, guzzling lager and talking about ladies? The US remake starred Rob 'Deuce Bigalow' Schneider and didn’t last for much longer than two seasons. Shame!

Recommended for you