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Fans of British period dramas often overlook Netflix in favor of more targeted subscription services like PBS Masterpiece and Acorn TV and BritBox, but that doesn't mean there aren't some real treasures to be found there. Below, we've gathered up lists of British period drama TV shows, movies, and relevant documentaries you can find on Netflix.
Want to check out more of our British TV lists?
- 460+ British TV Shows on Amazon Prime Video
- 230+ British TV Shows on Netflix
- 90+ British Movies on Netflix
- 42 British Dramas & Mysteries on Hulu
British Period Drama Shows on Netflix
The Crown – This Netflix original follows some particularly dramatic times in Queen Elizabeth's reign during the last half of the 20th century. It begins with Claire Foy and Matt Smith portraying Elizabeth and Philip, and it changes over to Olivia Colman and Tobias Menzies for the third season (due out soon).
Anne With An “E” – Canada – Based on Anne of Green Gables, this series follows a spirited young orphan who goes to live with a spinster.
Troy: Fall of a City – Paris falls for Helen of Sparta, igniting the Trojan War.
Traitors – Keeley Hawes (Bodyguard) and Emma Appleton (Grantchester) star in this post-WWII drama about a British woman who helps an American agent root out Russian spies in the British government.
Frontier – Canada – In 18th-century North America, trappers and traders try to gain control in the fur trade.
Rebellion – During WWI, three Irish women must choose sides in the revolt against English rule.
Reign – This historical drama focuses on the life of Mary, Queen of Scots. If historical inaccuracy bothers you, you will find this series particularly problematic.
Strange Empire – Canada – In 19th-century Alberta, a town of women struggles to survive after most of their men are killed.
The Last Kingdom – Set in the days of Alfred the Great, this Netflix Original takes us on one man's quest to reclaim his birthright.
Outlander – Though it's technically an American production, Outlander definitely qualifies as a period drama and it's set in Scotland. Based on Diana Gabaldon's popular romance series, Outlander focuses on the love story between two time-crossed individuals.
Peaky Blinders – This epic story tells the tale of a crime family in Birmingham, England between WWI and WWII.
Merlin – This is a fun and family-friendly retelling of the King Arthur and Camelot saga.
The Frankenstein Chronicles – In 1827 London, a detective tracks a killer who enjoys dismembering people. Sean Bean stars.
North & South – This four-part miniseries tells the story of a southern Englishwoman forced to move north (roughly the modern-day American equivalent of moving from NYC down to a rural Southern area – which reminds me a bit of the plot of Hart of Dixie, a modern show that's also on Netflix).
Call the Midwife – This drama looks into the lives of dedicated midwives in impoverished East London of the 1950s and 60s.
The Tudors – Canada – This series follows Henry VIII in 16th-century England.
The Pinkertons – Canada – In the 1860s Wild West, the Pinkerton detective family solves some of the time's toughest crimes.
Spies of Warsaw – David Tennant stars in this World War II drama set in the back alleys and diplomatic salons of Warsaw, Poland.
Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell – Two men attempt to bring magic back to England. They have different ideas about how this should happen.
A Young Doctor's Notebook and Other Stories – Starring Daniel Radcliffe (of Harry Potter), this series is about a young doctor's memories of working in a rural village.
Gunpowder, Treason, and Plot – This British miniseries dives into the history of Mary, Queen of Scots and her son, the future King James I of England.
Versailles – France – This miniseries is set during the reign of Louis XIV as the Palace of Versailles was being constructed.
Ripper Street – A detective series set in 1889 London in the aftermath of the Jack the Ripper killings.
Casanova – David Tennant stars in this miniseries that sees an aging Casanova looking back on a lifetime of pleasure and his one true love.
Land Girls – This series follows the ups and downs of life for four women in the Women's Land Army during World War II.
British Period Drama Movies on Netflix
Becoming Jane – This British-Irish production showcases the early life of Jane Austen, including the romantic situations that would come to shape her outlook on love and romance.
The Duchess – The Duchess tells the story of Georgiana Cavendish, Duchess of Devonshire, a noblewoman known for scandalous personal life and highly influential social life.
Outlaw King – In 1300s Scotland, Robert the Bruce leads an uprising to take back Scotland's independence from the English.
A Little Chaos – Kate Winslet and Alan Rickman star in this period drama about a woman hired to design a garden at Versailles for Louis XIV.
Dare to Be Wild – Ireland – A landscape designer with a highly unorthodox style hopes to bring her work to the Chelsea Flower Show. Based on a true story.
Nowhere Boy – This film focuses on the early years of John Lennon.
The Eichmann Show – This movie dramatizes the story behind the live 1961 broadcast of Adolf Eichmann's trial.
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society – A young writer travels to Guernsey to learn about a mysterious society with roots in the German occupation of the island during WWII.
The King's Speech – When King George VI ascends to the throne, a speech therapist helps him become a confident leader.
Howard's End – Set in Edwardian England, this movie tells the story of what happens when you choose to go against the deathbed wishes of a spouse.
Sherlock Holmes – Robert Downey Jr. stars as Sherlock Holmes in this Guy Ritchie adaptation from 2009.
Viceroy's House – Lord Mountbatten oversees the tumultuous period as India transitions to independence.
Tulip Fever – This is a love tale set during the Dutch tulip bubble, and Dame Judi Dench makes an appearance.
The Imitation Game – Benedict Cumberbatch and Kiera Knightley star in this film about Alan Turing's WWII efforts to help crack the Enigma code.
6 Days – Set in 1980, this drama tells the story of a tense standoff between British soldiers and a group of gunmen at the Iranian embassy.
Northern Soul – Set in the 1970s, Northern Soul features two friends who travel to America and return to Lancashire with soul music.
Sunset Song – A Scottish farmer's daughter comes of age in the early 1900s, finding she may want more than her family has planned for her.
Agatha & the Truth of Murder – This movie is a dramatized version of what might have happened during Agatha Christie's mysterious 11-day disappearance during the 1920s.
The Sapphires – Australia – Set in 1968, this Australian period drama follows a group of performing Aboriginal women as they perform for troops in Vietnam.
The Journey – Two opposing politicians are forced to share a car together during the 2006 Northern Ireland peace talks. 2006 is a bit of a stretch for a period drama, but it's a drama set in the past, so we're adding it.
Ginger & Rosa – In 1960s London, two teenage girls see their friendship shaken by Cold War events occurring around them.
Emma – Gwyneth Paltrow stars in this Jane Austen adaptation centering around manners, matchmaking, and finding love.
Nonfiction Series of Interest to Fans of Period Dramas on Netflix
Secrets of Highclere Castle – A video tour of the real life Downton Abbey.
Secrets of Althorp: The Spencers – Princess Diana's brother, the ninth Early Spencer, takes viewers on a tour of the Spencer family home and its long and noble history.
Secrets of Great British Castles – This series visits some of Britain's best-known castles, including Edinburgh Castle, Cardiff Castle, Lancaster Castle, Leeds Castle, York Castle, and Arundel Castle.
Secrets of the Tower of London – While most people think of a prison when they think of the Tower of London, it's also spent time as an armory, castle, and mint. This hour-long documentary looks at the tower's history and evolution.
Secrets of the Shining Knight – A master armorer works to recreate medieval armor and put it to the test, learning age-old secrets as he goes.
Secrets of Henry VIII's Palace – This documentary looks at Henry VIII's palace and the history it's linked with.
Secrets of Selfridges – If you've watched the series Mr. Selfridge, you'll be familiar with this iconic British department store.
Weekend Aristocrats – In some of Britain's grandest estates, people can pay for the privilege of living like a true aristocrat for a limited time. While the guests are occasionally interesting, the aristocrats are downright eccentric.
Secrets of Westminster – This program looks into the history of Big Ben, Parliament, and Westminster Abbey.
Secrets of Chatsworth – Takes a close look at the grand estate that has been home to many notable aristocrats throughout England's history.
The Royal House of Windsor – This short series examines the Windsor family, and the ways in which they've managed to survive in a world where inherited power is a fading notion.
Elizabeth at 90 – This hour and a half special takes a look at Queen Elizabeth II's life as she turns 90, and uses a great deal of never-before seen footage and interviews.
Witches: A Century of Murder – This docuseries focuses on the witch hunts that were common throughout Britain during the 17th century.
Churchill's First World War – This series takes a look at Churchill's experiences during WWI. With WWI a popular backdrop for many period series, a little extra history can greatly enrich one's viewing experience.
Churchill's Secret Agents: The New Recruits – In this modern series, a group of contestants go through the same selection process used for WWII spies.
The Royals – This series takes a look at the royal “phenomenon” in England, and the fascination they hold for so much of the world.
What's Your Favorite British Period Drama on Netflix?
Let us know which British period drama is your favorite – and if you like some that aren't British, feel free to share those in the comments, too!
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