After Downton Abbey: More British Period Dramas

The astonishing success of Downton Abbey has rekindled viewers’ interest in British period pieces. With the season over and a long wait ahead for the next one, I’ve compiled this list of British period dramas on Netflix. It includes TV shows, miniseries and a few films.

While I can’t promise that any of these will completely satisfy your Downton addiction, there’s more than enough available to make the long wait more bearable. And if you really need more Downton Abbey, you could re-watch 3 seasons on Netflix

Pride and Prejudice (1995) 6 Episodes

Pride & Prejudice on Netflix

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Against a background of stately homes and beautiful countryside, the romance, drama and humour of Jane Austen’s greatest novel are captured by an all-star cast in this 1995 adaptation by award-winning writer Andrew Davies.



North & South (2004) 4 Episodes

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When her father moves his family to an industrial mill town, the parson’s daughter, Margaret Hale, struggles to adapt to her harsh new surroundings. This BBC series is based on the popular novel by Elizabeth Gaskell.


Little Dorrit (2008) 8 Episodes

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In this rags-to-riches miniseries based on Charles Dickens’s epic novel, Claire Foy stars as the titular Amy Dorrit, a poor girl who follows her father out of debtors’ prison when they learn the family is entitled to a life-changing fortune.


Lark Rise to Candleford  (2008-2011) 40 Episodes

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Country girl Laura Timmins leaves her home of Lark Rise to join her cousin, Dorcas Lane, in bustling Candleford, where her position at the post office plants her in the thick of town activity.


Jane Eyre (2006) 4 episodes

Jane Eyre on Netflix

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Ruth Wilson stars in the Charlotte Brontë classic about the titular governess who, resist as she may, falls in love with her employer, Edward Rochester. The moody and mysterious Rochester feels the same way, but fate tears them apart.


Upstairs, Downstairs (2010-2012)  9 episodes

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Sir Hallam Holland and his wife have bought the iconic London townhouse at 165 Eaton Place. Set in historical Britain with sexual, social and political tensions, this new series provides a glimpse on the master-servant relationship.


Wives & Daughters (1999) 4 Episodes

Wives & Daughters on Netflix

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Family life changes drastically for the good-natured Molly Gibson when her widowed father decides to remarry, and a woman with her own set of rules — and a beautiful daughter — becomes her stepmother.


Bleak House (2005) 8 Episodes

Bleak House on Netflix

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An orphaned girl finds a happy home with a wealthy man and his wards, never suspecting the truth about her origins — or knowing her fate. But as the plot thickens, a suspenseful yarn of legal justice unfolds in this drama miniseries.


Brideshead Revisited (1981) 11 Episodes

Brideshead Revisited on Netflix

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This miniseries adaptation of Evelyn Waugh’s 1945 novel captures the elegant and doomed world of the British aristocracy post-World War I. Charles Ryder is a student at Oxford when he befriends Sebastian Flyte and his wealthy family.


Catherine Cookson’s The Dwelling Place (1994) 3 Episodes

The Dwelling Place on Netflix

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After her parents die of cholera and their house is repossessed, 16-year-old Cissie Brodie is left to raise her younger brothers and sisters. They seek refuge in a cave, and Cissie is befriended by a kind carpenter.


Wuthering Heights (2009)  2 Episodes

Wuthering Heights on Netflix

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Emily Brontë’s sweeping tale of romance set against the backdrop of the Yorkshire moors gets the “Masterpiece” treatment in this lush made-for-television adaptation starring Charlotte Riley and Tom Hardy.


Catherine Cookson’s The Rag Nymph (1997) 3 Episodes

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When her mother, a prostitute, runs away from the police, Millie is left alone on the streets and is taken in by Aggie, a kind rag lady. Despite Aggie’s meager finances, Millie thrives under her care — but a greedy pimp lurks just around the corner.


Return to Cranford (2009) 3 Episodes

Return to Cranford on Netflix

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In this follow-up to the beloved BBC miniseries, Cranford — a mid-19th-century traditional English village populated by gossips and eccentrics — faces impending modernization in the form of a railway line, which ignites a flurry of heated debate.


The Grand (1997) 18 Episodes

The Grand on Netflix

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Welcome to The Grand, a four-star, 1920s English hotel where melodrama is served in high style. Love, lust, adultery, greed, prostitution and plenty of juicy gossip come into play as owners John and Sarah Bannerman host a crop of colorful characters.


Island at War (2004) 6 Episodes

Island at War

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Set on a fictional slice of the Channel Islands, this engrossing series follows three families caught on the islands at the beginning of World War II, capturing their experiences as they grapple with the stress of daily life and global conflict.


The Forsyte Saga (2002-2003)  2 Series

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This epic miniseries follows the Victorian pride of the Forsyte clan through the scandals and mistakes of the patriarch, Soames. His ways change when he sees his cherished daughter grow into a captivating young woman who carries on the family pride.


Catherine Cookson’s The Glass Virgin (1995) 3 Episodes

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When wealthy socialite Annabella Lagrange learns that her real mother is a madam at the local brothel, she flees the family estate with a childhood friend, and the two begin a new life in the working-class world.


Daniel Deronda (2002) 4 Episodes

Daniel Deronda on Netflix

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The illegitimate son of a wealthy British aristocrat, Daniel Deronda harbors a secretive past and a ready supply of cash. But when he meets Gwendolyn, a beautiful woman in desperate need of money, things get even more complicated.


The Way We Live Now (2001) 4 Episodes

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Based on the 1875 novel by Anthony Trollope, this sharp-edged miniseries artfully satirizes the greed and hypocrisy of upper-class Victorian society. The main story revolves around Augustus Melmotte, a mysterious financier who settles in London.


Catherine Cookson’s The Gambling Man (1995) 3 Episodes

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Ambitious rent collector Rory Connor hopes to parlay his skill at playing cards into bigger things: buying a shipyard with his brother. But a run-in with the criminal underworld complicates his plans.


The Devil’s Mistress (2008) 2 episodes

The Devil's Mistress on Netflix

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This miniseries tells the story of the English Civil War through the eyes of a spirited aristocratic woman who is drawn to the antimonarchist cause at a time when England dared to execute its king and search for an alternative means of government.


A Dinner of Herbs (2000) 6 Episodes

A Dinner of Herbs on Netflix

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Childhood pals Roddy, Hal and Mary Ellen reevaluate their relationships as adults in this sweeping epic. After an affair that leaves Mary Ellen pregnant, Roddy rejects her and leaves town, forcing her into a safe marriage to Hal.


Middlemarch (1994) 6 Episodes

MiddleMarch on Netflix

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Adapted from George Eliot’s novel, this BBC miniseries tells the story of virtuous Dr. Lydgate (Douglas Hodge), who heads up Middlemarch’s hospital, and well-do-to Dorothea (Juliet Aubrey), who’s determined to help the needy.


Persuasion (1995)

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Nearly a decade after breaking her engagement to sea captain Frederick Wentworth because of pressure from her financially strapped family, Anne Elliot meets up with him again and finds she still has feelings for the now rich and successful officer.


Elizabeth: The Golden Age (2007)

Elizabeth The Golden Age on Netflix

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Cate Blanchett reprises her role as the Virgin Queen in this lushly costumed but historically muddy sequel to 1998′s Elizabeth which focuses on the queen’s tempestuous relationship with the adventurer Sir Walter Raleigh.


The Young Victoria (2009)

The Young Victoria on Netflix

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Eighteen-year-old British royal Victoria ascends to the throne and is romanced by future husband Prince Albert in this lush period film that chronicles the early years of the British monarch’s larger-than-life reign.


Mrs. Brown (1997)

Her Majesty Mrs. Brown on Netflix

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Grieving widow Queen Victoria (Oscar nominee Judi Dench) withdraws into sadness for years until plainspoken manservant John Brown (Billy Connolly) disrupts her mourning. But as their friendship grows, it results in personal and political ramifications for both of them. Exquisitely filmed and fueled by sparkling performances, director John Madden’s period drama brilliantly portrays the woman behind an empire and the man who helped her live again.


Emma (1996)

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This adaptation of Jane Austen’s novel about misguided matchmaking takes a comic look at the romantic meddling of Emma Woodhouse. Emma spends her time arranging friends’ romances, never noticing that her own true love is right beneath her nose.


Jane Eyre (1996)

Jane Eyre 1996 film

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Jane Eyre is an orphan forced to endure life at a harsh boarding school. As Jane grows into an independent, strong-willed woman, she takes a governess job at Thornton Hall and falls in love with the estate’s brooding owner, Mr. Rochester.

 

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Posted in Dramas, Mini series, TV shows