Are you looking for escapism from these lockdown times and want to take a trip back to a time that’s awash with romance, lavish costumes, inspiring true stories and swashbuckling adventures?
Then check out our list of some of the best period dramas to watch now from classics like The Crown and Poldark to newer offerings like Self Made..
Pride and Prejudice
The BBC’s six-part adaptation from Jane Austen’s classic novel is steeped in romance, stately homes, Austen’s famous witticisms, and Colin Firth’s Mr Darcy taking an impromptu dip in his private lake.Jennifer Ehle, Julia Sawalha and Alison Steadman make up an all star cast in the 1995 series which remains a must-watch.Available to watch now on Netflix.
The English GameJulian Fellowes’ latest period drama - and first for Netflix - documents the invention of football and its stratospheric rise to become the world’s game by crossing class divides. Starring Edward Holcroft, Niamh Walsh, James Harkness and Craig Parkinson.War and PeaceBBC’s take on Leo Tolstoy’s timeless novel follows three young people experiencingc life, love and loss against the epic backdrop of Russia’s wars with Napoleon. The spectacular adaptation features an all star cast including Paul Dano, James Norton, Lily James and Jessie Buckley.Watch now on BBC iPlayer.
Parade’s EndBenedict Cumberbatch and Rebecca Hall lead this understated and Emmy award-winning BBC mini-series.Set during World War One, Parade’s End chronicles the tangled relationship between a conservative English aristocrat, his unfaithful socialite wife, and a young suffragette.It is based on the novel by Ford Madox Ford.Watch the series on Netflix now.
The Crown (Series 1 to 3)Netflix’s spectacular award-winning drama spans the Queen’s reign from the 1950s - as she ascended the throne at 25 - through to the 1990s, to the backdrop of personal intrigues, romances, political rivalries and momentous historical events that shaped the second half of the twentieth century.Creator Peter Morgan confirmed that the show would end with series 5, and that Imelda Staunton would be taking over as Queen from Oscar winner Olivia Colman for the finale.Watch series 1 -3 on Netflix now.
Self MadeNetflix original series Self Made champions the inspirational true story of Madam CJ Walker, an American woman of colour who rises from poverty to build a beauty empire and become the first female self-made millionaire. Oscar winner Octavia Spencer stars as the formidable CJ in the life-affirming drama set in the late 1800s.Watch on Netflix now
Small IslandAdapted from Andrea Levy’s prize-winning novel of the same title, the Emmy Award-winning mini series Small Island follows Naomie Harris as a young ambitious Jamaican woman reunited with her husband in a post-World War II London. She endures both racism and homesickness as she adapts to her new life. Ruth Wilson, Benedict Cumberbatch and David Oyelowo make up the impressive all star cast.Watch the series now on BritBox.
Gentleman JackSuranne Jones delights as formidable pioneer Anne Lister in Sally Wainwright’s contemporary period drama. Set in the 1830s, the series centres on the extraordinary life of business woman Lister as she refuses to confirm to gender norms and battles against misogyny to successfully run her manor house in Yorkshire. Sophie Rundle co-stars as love interest Ann Walker. A second series has been commissioned.Watch series 1 on BBC iPlayer now.
PoldarkAidan Turner stars in the hit BBC series adapted from the novels by Winston Graham.The drama follows Poldark as he rebuilds his fortunes and his late father’s estate amidst his steamy love triangle with Eleanor Tomlinson’s Demelza and Heida Reed’s Elizabeth.Watch series 1 - 5 on Netflix now.