The best TV shows based on true events

    TV shows
    TV shows

    There’s something particularly interesting about watching TV shows that are based on things that have actually happened in real life. It helps them feel more believable and that can make them more engaging to watch.

    Sure, some of us like to go completely the opposite direction and watch fantasy things. But a lot of the time, it’s the real gritty stuff that makes us tick.

    In fact, some of the best TV shows ever have been based on real events. There are some really underrated ones out there as well that cannot be missed.

    So, let’s take a look at some TV shows in both those categories. Here are a few of what we think are the best TV shows based on true events.

    Just for the record, when we say ‘based on true events’, we’re not specifically referring to documentary-type programs that depict things that really happened. These can be works of fiction that are simply based on things that happened in real life. Those are some of the best shows.

    Peaky Blinders

    Did you know that the classic TV show Peaky Blinders is actually based on a real-life gang that operated in the underworld of Birmingham from the 1880s all the way through to the 1910s? And that’s not even close to the best of the fun facts about the show – there are some links to Jason Statham in here too!

    You wouldn’t have wanted to get on the wrong side of those guys. They were not to be messed with! The real-life Peaky Blinders gang committed a string of pretty horrendous crimes during their 30-year reign, and the people of Birmingham were pretty scared of them for the most part.

    The writers of the BBC TV series featuring Cillian Murphy were inspired by this story and decided to give it a fictional twist and to high praise indeed. The show has been one of the most watched in recent years and has collected fans from all over the world.

    Fans were left fuming as it was snubbed by none other than the BBC itself for their list of the top 100 TV shows of all time.


    This hit Netflix series is also a fan favorite all around the world. This one actually does tell the true story of real people, namely a certain Pablo Escobar, one of the most famous drug lords of all time.

    Escobar met his demise in a shootout in 1993 and was just 44 years old. The fact that he died that young but still left behind such a legacy says a lot about what he got up to during his life. This only happened 16 months after his escape from jail. He’d only been in there for a year or so.

    Pablo Escobar is not the only fictionally depicted real-life drug lord in the show. It features a wealth of other characters you might have read about. And the result? Fantastic TV. This show is bound to keep you on the edge of your seat and is worth a watch no matter how much or how little you know about the real stories of the characters.


    This ITV show tells the story of a serial killer from England in the 1970s, Dennis Nilsen. He claims to have killed ‘15 or 16’ people during his life, burying them in his flat and in his garden.

    It was only when one of his neighbors felt like they could smell something rather nasty coming from his garden that police decided to investigate and found some of the bodies. To this day, not all the bodies have been found and no one knows exactly how many people Nilsen killed.

    This is a show that we’d put into the ‘underrated’ category. It got fantastic reviews across the board but never received a lot of coverage, so we don’t blame you if you haven’t heard of it. Now that you have though, it’s definitely worth a watch. Des is a gritty, powerful TV show that should not be missed.


    Here’s a story that’s bound to unsettle you. Netflix’s Wormwood tells the story of a CIA scientist who couldn’t be trusted, so he was injected with their ‘truth serum’ (LSD). He later ‘jumped’ to his death from his hotel room for seemingly no reason.

    We don’t want to say any more about this one as it could ruin the surprise, but it’s well worth a watch.

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