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Modern Mysteries

5 obscure British mystery TV shows you've probably never heard of

By T.K. Randall
January 31, 2024 · Comment icon 9 comments
Fortean TV.
Father Lionel Fanthorpe and his good friend Alf in Fortean TV. Image Credit: RapidoTV / Channel 4
We're willing to bet that there's at least one show on this list that you are not familiar with.
Over the years there have been literally hundreds of TV shows investigating the unexplained and while some of these are practically household names by this point, there are others - especially those that aired many years ago or that were exclusive to specific countries - that most people will have likely never even heard of, let alone watched.

Here we take a look at five examples from the UK.

1. Strange But True

Out of all the shows on this list, Strange But True? is the one you are most likely to be familiar with. Presented by Michael Aspel, this popular show ran for 39 episodes between 1993 and 1997.

It never focused on any one phenomenon, instead covering a wide range of mysteries including everything from the Rendlesham Forest UFO incident to near-death experiences. Each episode featured a number of segments about different subjects.

There was even a live special that was broadcast on ITV in 1997.

2. Fortean TV

Definitely the weirdest entry on this list, Fortean TV was a quirky television show based on the Fortean Times magazine. Presented by Reverend Lionel Fanthorpe, it featured segments covering some of the more unusual and wacky aspects of the unexplained.

In keeping with this offbeat theme, Fanthorpe would typically sing a silly song about one of the topics covered in each episode while aided by his "good friend Alf" on the guitar.

The show gained something of a cult following and ran for 22 episodes (and a Christmas special) between 1997 and 1998 on Channel 4.

3. Scream Team

This short-lived show, which came out around the same time as LivingTV's Most Haunted, ran for 13 episodes in 2002.

Featuring a cast of both believers and skeptics who traveled around the UK in a van visiting various haunted locations, it was in many ways an early prototype of many other ghost hunting shows that would follow over the proceeding decade.

4. Arthur C. Clarke's Mysterious World

Broadcast all the way back in 1980, Arthur C. Clarke's Mysterious World consisted of 13 episodes exploring various mysteries and unexplained phenomena.

Each episode started and ended with a segment presented by Clarke himself, while everything else was narrated by Gordon Honeycombe.

The show was followed up five years later by Arthur C. Clarke's World of Strange Powers.

5. Ghosthunters

No - not that Ghost Hunters - this particular show was first broadcast in the UK between 1996 and 1997, long before the popular long-running US TV show Ghost Hunters first aired.

Exclusive to The Discovery Channel, the show, which ran for four seasons, was hosted by Ian Cashmore and narrated by William Woollard.

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Comments (9)

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Comment icon #1 Posted by Cho Jinn 1 month ago
Great article.  Arthur C. Clarke's Mysterious World is a treasure, though I don't think I've come across the others.
Comment icon #2 Posted by Joe Rogers 1 month ago
I used to watch Strange but True? on the A&E channel here in America.
Comment icon #3 Posted by Skulduggery 1 month ago
All I know is the Prisoner.
Comment icon #4 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf 1 month ago
I loved that programme, but then Arthur C. Clarke was a hero of mine. I also watched Fortean TV. Father Lionel Fanthorpe really should have had a large cult following.
Comment icon #5 Posted by Still Waters 1 month ago
Scream Team and Ghosthunters, I'm not familiar with those. Fortean TV was good. For a while we subscribed to the Fortean Times magazine. Strange But True presented by Michael Aspel, I remember that being on but don't think I watched all the episodes. Arthur C. Clarke's Mysterious World, my husband liked watching that.
Comment icon #6 Posted by Essan 1 month ago
I well remember Arthur C Clarke's Mysterious World.   And I certainly heard of Fortean Times though not sure if I ever watech it - I recall it was on quite late so I was probably too drunk to remember     Never heard of the others (and never want to see them!)
Comment icon #7 Posted by Shadowsfall 30 days ago
Tomorrow’s world was a good one too…..I wonder how many of the things came to fruition….
Comment icon #8 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf 29 days ago
Tomorrow's World was neither obscure nor was it a mystery show.
Comment icon #9 Posted by Thorazeen 24 days ago
I watched Ghost Hunters in the 90’s.

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