Oldest TV Series in the World

Watching a television series alone or with a loved one is one of the nicest ways to kick back and relax after a hard day of working. There’s also nothing better than binge-watching a TV series on your day off! 

Television series have been around for several decades, and in this article, we’re going to look at some of the oldest TV series in the world. 

5. Tatort

Genre: Police Procedural
Date of Time: 1970
Running Time: 90 minutes

TatortPhoto Source

Tatort is the longest-running German drama, and also one of the oldest TV series in the world. This show follows various police teams as they solve crimes in different cities in Germany. One of the most unique features of this show is that the cities themselves are characters in different episodes. 

This show releases about 30 episodes a year. 

Did you know?

Some of the episodes in this show have become culturally iconic in certain parts of Europe.

4. Sesame Street

Genre: Children’s television
Date of Time: 1969
Running Time: 30-60 minutes

Sesame StreetPhoto Source

Sesame Street is a popular children’s television show that began in 1969. This show has been airing ever since it launched and features a wide cast of Muppets characters who interact with children.

This show has been critically acclaimed for its use of cultural references and educational humor. Its format includes music, live-action short films, and sketches, all of which feature the Muppets. Some popular Muppets from the show include Bert, Ernie, the Cookie Monster, Big Bird, and Oscar the Grouch. 

Did you know? 

Sesame Street is the first children’s show that used a curriculum to produce its content and is also the first children’s show that developed said content with educational goals in mind.

3. Doctor Who

Genre: Fiction
Date of Time: 1963
Running Time: 50 minutes

Doctor WhoPhoto Source

In addition to being one of the most famous science fiction television shows in history, Doctor Who is also one of the oldest TV series to air. This British show follows an extraterrestrial being called the Doctor, who explores the universe in a TARDIS, which is a time-travelling spaceship. 

This show was created by Sydney Newman, C. E. Webber, and Donald Wilson. It has been broadcast on the BBC since 1963. The character called the Doctor has seen several actors take over the role since the show first started. Some of those actors include David Tennant, Jodie Whittaker, Matt Smith, Paul McGann, Christopher Eccleston, and Ncuti Gatwa. 

Did you know?

Production stopped on the show in 1989, and there were a few unsuccessful attempts to revive it. However, after a long break, production resumed on this show in 2005, and the show was relaunched.

2.  Guiding Light

Genre: Soap opera
Date of Time: June 30, 1952, and ended on September 18, 2009
Running Time: 15 minutes

Guiding LightPhoto Source

Guiding Light is another one of the oldest and longest-running series in television history! This show started out as a radio show and eventually transitioned into a television series. 

When the show originally started on the radio, it featured a character named Reverend John Ruthledge and the lives of the people around him. However, when it transitioned into television, the show’s focus shifted to a German family called the Bauers. As the decades passed, more and more families were introduced into the heart of the show. 

Did you know? 

The “guiding light” in the show referred to a lamp on Reverend John Ruthledge’s desk. The lamp served as a sign in the show, and referred to the fact that the characters in the show could call on Ruthledge for help.

1. The Queen’s Messenger

Genre: Drama
Date of Time: September 11, 1928
Running Time: 40 minutes per episode

The Queen’s MessengerPhoto Source

The Queen’s Messenger is the oldest and the first television drama that ever aired! It was a broadcast experiment that a production company in Schenectady, New York ran. This drama was originally a radio drama but was adapted for television. 

The show was about a British diplomat who has a romantic relationship with a mysterious Russian woman. The woman is trying to get some secret documents from the man for the queen, and the storyline takes off from there! This story followed the classic spy melodrama pattern that many TV series and movies have since followed. 

Did you know?

The reason that this show followed the typical spy melodrama was because the series had only two actors and a few props, making it easier for the cameras to alternate between the actors and the props.


In this article, we walked you through some of the oldest television series in the world. It’s worth noting that we just about barely scratched the surface with these shows, because there are definitely many more that we couldn’t fit onto this list. If you’re a television enthusiast, we highly recommend doing some research to get started on finding your next show! 

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