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The Hottest British Entertainment Imports

There is a special category of people who enjoy British humor. (– Or should we say humour?) These people are fans of shows like Monty Python and Absolutely Fabulous. They try to explain what makes the shows so great while everyone else shrugs and says, “I don’t get it.”

But some popular American shows actually got their start as British shows. Here are a few you might be surprised got their start across the pond:

The Office

Before Steve Carell played the obnoxious boss that everyone loves to hate, Ricky Gervais played the part in a show of the same name in Britain.

The British show only lasted for two seasons and two Christmas specials, and the employees worked for Wernham Hogg Paper Company. The American counterpart ran for nine seasons and took place at the Dunder Mifflin Paper Company. It also had a much steamier love story that drew everyone in. Pam and Jim forever!


Extras is another British show pioneered by Ricky Gervais. The British version also ran for two seasons and a Christmas special.

When the show was imported to the U.S., it was not remade, but it was edited for the new audience. Some references were changed and some scenes cut.

Many big movie stars made cameos in the show, such as Kate Winslet and Patrick Stewart.

American Idol

American Idol was created by Simon Fuller, and it was based on a show he had success with in Britain, known as Pop Idol.

Simon Cowell was a judge on both shows and was his usual, charming self. American Idol is currently in its 16 season, though its future remains unclear (link to future of reality shows). At the start of the season, the show said this would be its last. With the increased ratings, producers are considering keeping it going.

Pop Idol ran for only two seasons — which seems to be a pattern for British TV.

We’re sure these won’t be the last British imports we see. It seems like British shows translated for American audiences are a big hit here!

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