Complete list of 1980s British detective series

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Browse British detective series by decade or return to the TV Detective Database:

Below is a complete list of British detective/mystery/crime series from the 1980s. This includes series that started prior to 1980 and continued into the decade, as well as shows that started in the 1980s and continued into the 1990s. Titles of series that only lasted for a single year/season have been left unbolded.

Clicking on a title link in the list below will take you to my post about that specific show (if I have created one). Additionally, the list also includes links to places where you can watch/stream the show online.


  • Agatha Christie’s Tommy & Tuppence: Partners in Crime (1983-1984) [stream here]
  • Agatha Christie’s Poirot (1989-2013) [stream here]
  • The Baker Street Boys (1983)
  • Bergerac (1981-1991)
  • The Bill (1983-2010) [stream here]
  • C.A.T.S. Eyes (1985-1987)
  • Campion (1989-1990) [stream here]
  • Captain Zep — Space Detective (1983-1984) (children’s programme)
  • The Chinese Detective (1981-1982)
  • Cribb (a.k.a. Sergeant Cribb) (1979-1981)
  • Crimewatch (a.k.a. Crimewatch UK) (1984-2017) (true crime)
  • Crimewatch File (1988-2000) (true crime)
  • Crown Court (1972-1984) [stream here]


  • Dempsey and Makepeace (1985-1986)
  • The Fear (1988)
  • Floodtide (1987-1988)
  • The Gentle Touch (1980-1984) [stream here]
  • Inspector Morse (1987-2000) [stream here]
  • Jemima Shore Investigates (1983)
  • Juliet Bravo (1980-1985)
  • King and Castle (1985-1988)
  • Lovejoy (1986-1994) [stream here]
  • Maelstrom (1985)
  • Philip Marlowe, Private Eye (1983-1985) (UK-US co-production) [stream here]
  • Police 5 (1962-1992, 2014)
  • The Professionals (1977-1983)


  • Rockliffe (1987-1988)
  • The Ruth Rendell Mysteries (a.k.a. The Inspector Wexford Mysteries) (1987-2000) [stream here]
  • The Sandbaggers (1978-1980) [stream here]
  • Sherlock Holmes (a.k.a. The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, The Return of Sherlock Holmes, The Case-Book of Sherlock Holmes, and The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes) (1984-1994) [stream here]
  • Shoestring (1979-1980)
  • Square Mile of Murder (1980)
  • Star Cops (1987)
  • Taggart (1985-2010) [stream here]
  • Unnatural Causes (1986)
  • Van der Valk (1972-1992) [stream here]
  • Widows (1983-1985)
  • Young Sherlock: The Mystery of the Manor House (1982)
  • Zastrozzi, A Romance (1986) (based on the novel by Percy Besshe Shelly)

If you know of a show that is missing from the list above, or if you have any other additions or corrections, please let me know in the comments!


    1. Thanks for this! I think I missed adding it because it’s technically not a series, but rather separate movies featuring the same character.

      I’ll have to think a bit about how to list this and other similar series of movies. For instance, Peter Ustinov played Poirot in a series of TV movies (after appearing as the character in theatrical releases), so I feel like if I include Dalgliesh, I would have to include that as well.


    2. Hello there. Hope you are well. Early 1981. A Crime Thriller, theme featuring a cat crawling in a dark room. Music reaching a shock crescendo wih a quick blast of Alto Saxophone.


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