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30 hidden TV gems to stream

30 hidden TV gems to stream


No matter where you are or how you’re streaming, here are some alternative picks to your usual telly favourites to shake up your viewing habits

By Simon Ward, Content Editor

Picking new shows to watch is hard. There’s so much else going on in the world, so when it comes to telly, you want something easy. Something you know you’ll like. And just like that, another evening lost to watching old episodes of Friends. That’s fine by us, but we’re here with some alternative suggestions.


1. Harlots

Find series 3 in Apps & Games > BBC iPlayer

Watch if you liked: Bridgerton


Like most of the world, if you’re looking for your next period fix with a slice of naughtiness and scandal, step forward Harlots. The cast is terrific, and it has all the saucy hallmarks of its spiritual cousin. Perfect before Bridgerton returns.


2. Lovesick

Find seasons 1-3 in Apps & Games > Netflix

Watch if you liked: Girls


When this originally cancelled show about a man with chlamydia contacting ex-girlfriends aired on Channel 4, it was called Scrotal Recall. It found a second life on Netflix. Sweet, sincere and sombre at times, it’s a love story unlike any other.


3. Traces

Molly Windsor and Martin Compston in Traces

Find it in Apps & Games > BBC iPlayer

Watch if you liked: Broadchurch


This UKTV Original first aired in 2019 was recently shown on BBC One and is well worth your time. The Dundee-set thriller takes its forensic science seriously and features a tremendous central performance from Molly Windsor (Three Girls).


4. Breeders

Find it in On Demand > Box Sets

Watch if you liked: Catastrophe


Starring Daisy Haggard and Martin Freeman, this hyper-realistic parenting comedy is as raw as it is hilarious (especially if you’ve got kids). Simon Blackwell (Back, Peep Show, Veep) wrote many of the scripts, and it shows in the hit rate of laughs.


5. London Irish

Find it in Apps & Games > Prime Video

Watch if you liked: Derry Girls


Before Lisa McGee gave us the girls from Derry, this blisteringly funny comedy arrived in 2013. It never got a second series and is far more sweary than its sitcom sibling, but watching this, you’ll demand it returns immediately.


6. Mrs. America

Find it in Apps & Games > BBC iPlayer

Watch if you liked: A Very English Scandal


Despite the incredible cast, including Cate Blanchett, this classy historical drama about the political movement to pass the Equal Rights Amendment (and its backlash) slipped under many people’s radar. Time to catch up.


7. Upload

Allegra Edwards in Upload

Find it in Apps & Games > Prime Video

Watch if you liked: The Good Place


The pedigree is strong here in this digital afterlife-based comedy, with Greg Daniels – the man behind Parks & Rec and the American version of The Office – its creator. It’s a different beast from The Good Place, but that’s no bad thing.


8. War Of The Worlds

Find it in On Demand > Box Sets

Watch if you liked: Star Trek: Discovery


A story that has been adapted a lot (and twice last year), this thrilling present-day edition is worth another look. Big on action, this is framed as a fight-for-survival fable, and has more than a few modern parallels, especially after recent times.


9. Make Me Famous

Find it in Apps & Games > BBC iPlayer

Watch if you liked: The Nest


This one dropped just as restrictions from the first lockdown were easing, so this first drama by Reggie Yates cruelly slipped under the radar. A mistake. A story of reality TV, fame and vulnerability, it’s a tough but important watch.


10. Schitt’s Creek

Find seasons 1-6 in Apps & Games > Netflix

Watch if you liked: Arrested Development


Didn’t this sitcom just win a load of Emmys, you might (quite rightly) yell? Yes, it did. But it’s still a hidden gem. Some people don’t persevere past the patchy season 1, but don’t be one of those people. It gets really, really good.


11. PEN15

Maya Erskine and Anna Konkle in PEN15

Find it in Apps & Games > Netflix

Watch if you liked: Sex Education


One of those shows you’ll end up recommending to everyone. (But remember where you heard it first). Maya Erskine and Anna Konkle play their 13-year-old selves during middle school, surrounded by actual teens. It’s a stonker of a show.



Find it in Apps & Games > BBC iPlayer

Watch if you liked: Famalam


This is a new comedy, but don’t let it slip under your radar. Hosted by Dane Baptiste, and filled with up-and-coming black talent, it’s a mix of stand-up, topical comedy and sketches. Features a BBC diversity sketch that is already iconic.


13. Flack

Find series 1 & 2 in On Demand > Box Sets

Watch if you liked: The Split


This Anna Paquin-led show about the world of public relations is deeply underrated, with some razor-sharp one-liners and OMG scenarios straight from the Footballers’ Wives playbook. A perfect mix of comedy and drama!


14. Modern Family

Find seasons 1-11 in On Demand > Box Sets

Watch if you liked: The Goldbergs


Can you call a show as big as Modern Family a hidden gem? We think so. If you have ever started watching it but scuttled off, come back. All 11 seasons are now available to stream. The quality remains scarily high throughout.


15. Pure

Charley Clive in Pure

Find it in On Demand > Box Sets

Watch if you liked: I Hate Suzie


Another show that deserved more than a single series. This comedy about sex and mental health is a true hidden gem, featuring a towering central performance from Charly Clive as Marnie, a girl who experiences inappropriate sexual visions.


16. Back to Life

Find it in Apps & Games > BBC iPlayer

Watch if you liked: The End Of The F***ing World


Written by Laura Solon and Daisy Haggard, who also stars, this tale about a woman returning home after a decade in prison is so wonderful. At the time, it was lazily compared to Fleabag, but it’s very much its own thing.


17. Merlin

Find series 1-5 in Apps & Games > Prime Video

Watch if you liked: Doctor Who


This landed in the era when the hunt was on for something to show on a Saturday night when Doctor Who wasn’t on. It ran for five seasons relatively understated for its slot, but the time is right to give this tale of Arthurian legends another look.


18. Brave New World

Find it in On Demand > Box Sets

Watch if you liked: DEVS


Based on Aldous Huxley’s seminal novel from the 1930s, this was a really good sci-fi series set in a dystopian future where monogamy and privacy are banned. While a second series seems unlikely, it still shouldn’t be missed.


19. PhoneShop

Javon Prince, Martin Trenaman, Emma Fryer, Tom Bennett and Andrew Brooke in PhoneShop

Find series 1-3 in Apps & Games > All 4

Watch if you liked: Stath Lets Flats


Always a show that feels like it should have had a bigger audience, it remains one of the funniest and most quotable comedies E4 has ever produced, which is some claim. Set in a mobile phone shop in Sutton, it’s a true ensemble piece.


20. Two Doors Down

Find series 1-4 in Apps & Games > BBC iPlayer

Watch if you liked: The Royle Family


Often dubbed a cult classic when it’s a national treasure-level sitcom, this Scottish comedy starring Arabella Weir and Doon Mackichan about a family and their colourful neighbour is one of the funniest things on telly.


21. The Great

Find it in Apps & Games > All 4

Watch if you liked: Sanditon


A show where its title is an accurate review of its contents. Another one to fill the Bridgerton hole, and very similar in tone to Olivia Colman’s historical comedy The Favourite. Elle Fanning and Nicholas Hoult are, well, great.


22. Giri/Haji

Find it in Apps & Games > Netflix

Watch if you liked: Gangs Of London


Tricky to call a BAFTA-winning show a hidden gem, but this stunning show ended after just a single season, which makes it an underrated one. This globe-spanning detective noir is one of the shows of the decade.


23. Pls Like

Tom Stourton and Shivani Thussu in Pls Like

Find series 1-3 in Apps & Games > BBC iPlayer

Watch if you liked: This Time With Alan Partridge


Pls Like has flown under the radar for too long – but those who have seen these Liam Williams comedy shorts about vloggers, social media and influencers will attest that this is one of the best comedies in years.


24. Humans

Find series 1-3 in Apps & Games > All 4

Watch if you liked: Star Trek: Picard


Always good, sometimes genuinely brilliant, Humans never found its audience. But it’s like a really good extended Black Mirror episode. Robots develop feelings and go bad may not be a ground-breaking premise, but here, it is.


25. Spiral

Find series 1-8 in Apps & Games > BBC iPlayer

Watch if you liked: Line Of Duty


French TV is having a bit of moment with Call My Agent and Lupin, but Spiral was there first. It’s an eight-season Paris-set police procedural, and it’s good at what it does. Make 2021 the year of subtitles.


26. Crashing

Find it in Apps & Games > Netflix

Watch if you liked: Fleabag


What Phoebe Waller-Bridge did before her masterpiece. It’s not quite the dizzy heights of what came next, but there’s a lot to love in this comedy about six pals living in a disused hospital. Plus Damien Molony is great in everything.


27. Him & Her

Russel Tovey and Sarah Solemani in Him & Her

Find series 1-3 in Apps & Games > BBC iPlayer

Watch if you liked: Mum


A beautifully observed comedy about a lazy couple. Starring Russell Tovey and Sarah Solemani, it’s a half-an-hour comedy you’ll binge through in a couple of days. The final series filmed in real time at a wedding is sitcom perfection.


28. Feel Good

Find it in Apps & Games > All 4

Watch if you liked: I May Destroy You


Mae Martin’s brilliant semi-autobiographical series sees her play a Canadian comedian living in London as she navigates her career and a new relationship, while dealing with sobriety. It’s a wonderful series.


29. Ladhood

Find it in Apps & Games > BBC iPlayer

Watch if you liked: The Inbetweeners


Another from Liam Williams. This is a beautiful comedy about growing up and masculinity, as Liam watches his younger self make formative mistakes. More measured and featuring less bodily fluids than the other one about young lads.


30. Taskmaster

Find series 1-10 in Apps & Games > All 4

Watch if you liked: Travel Man


Okay, there’s nothing particularly hidden about this gem – but it was a bit of a cult classic until fairly recently. If you’re still not a believer (!!!), just watch one episode and you’ll be instantly hooked. Trust us. Your time starts… now.


How to watch Netflix with Virgin TV

If you have a TiVo® box or Virgin TV V6 box, powered by TiVo®:


Press home on your remote

Select Apps & Games

Select All Apps 

Select Netflix


If you’re already a Netflix subscriber, you can also access the app through Search & Discover or by pressing Red on channel 204. Just sign in with your existing login and start watching. And you’ll only have to log in the first time you use it. 


If you’re new to Netflix, then you’ll need to subscribe to use the app. The easiest way to do this is by going to You can also subscribe using the Netflix app in Apps & Games.


How to watch Amazon Prime Video with Virgin TV

Prime Video is available to all Virgin TV customers with a V6 box, powered by TiVo®. Simply sign up to Amazon Prime Video via their website, and you can log in on the box. And because Prime Video is fully integrated into TiVo®, you can search without even going into the app. Just select Search & Discover from the Home menu and type in the name of the show or movie you’re after.


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Netflix: Netflix subscription required at extra cost.

Amazon Prime Video: Amazon Prime subscription required at extra cost. 18+. Click here for T&Cs.

Image credits: Traces © UKTV/Des Willie

Pls Like © Baby Cow

Him & Her © Big Talk Productions 2010