5 British Period Dramas To Get Hooked On This Autumn

Robert Viglasky / Netflix

I don’t know what it is but there is something about period dramas that really get me in the mood for Christmas. Whilst I am not suggesting you get your tinsel out in the middle of October, the nights are getting longer and colder so any excuse to stay in and feel cosy is fine by me. It’s lucky that we are spoilt with the TV shows that come out this time of year. But what are the best British period dramas to get hooked on this autumn?

Well, it might be the costumes, the props, the pomp, or the scripts, but IMHO, us Brits seem to be able to do period dramas particularly well. There is something nice and nostalgic about settling down in front of the TV with a big cup of tea to watch the good old days, or in the case of Peaky Blinders the not so good old days — but you know what I mean. It is like escapism except it is grounded in history. I was never that good at concentrating in school but if Tom Hardy had come into my history class to tell me about the aftermath of World War One dressed as Alfie Solomons, I might have sat up and listened a bit better.

So, without any further adieu, here are my top five British period dramas to watch this autumn.

1Vanity Fair

ITV on YouTube

If you are looking for something relatively new to get engrossed in, then Vanity Fair is a top pick. First airing in September 2018, this is ITV’s adaptation of William Makepeace Thackeray's classic novel of the same name.

The story follows the incredibly sassy and undeniably likeable Becky Sharp and her friend Emmy Sedley as they attempt to negotiate high society. Set in the 1800s, it has all of the big dresses, formal dances, and awkward flirting you could hope for. The entire series is on the ITV website and definitely one to catch up on.

2Victoria

ITV on YouTube

Another period drama that has been a resounding success for ITV has been Victoria.

Starring Jemma Coleman as Queen Victoria and Tom Hughes as Prince Albert, this series really packs a punch and there is no shortage on the drama aspect.

In the two previous series we have seen Victoria’s rise to prominence as a monarch thrust into power and I am happy to say I am hooked. It is reported that filming for Season 3 started in May 2018 so who knows? If you are quick, you will totes be caught up by the time the new series airs in 2019.

3Peaky Blinders

BBC on YouTube

Set in post-World War One London as the soldiers return, Peaky Blinders is perfect if you are looking for a grittier period drama.

Thomas Shelby (played by Cillian Murphy) arrives back home from the war a decorated soldier. However, it is back to the family business of heading up one of London’s most prolific gangs, the Peaky Blinders. As he tries to turn his business legitimate, he comes up against the pressure of law enforcement and other gangs, often with bloody consequences.

Metro US has reported that the cast have just started shooting Season 5 this month. With the prospects of a new season coming out some time in 2019, that gives you just enough time to catch up with the previous four series. Once you start watching you won’t be able to stop.

4The Durrells

ITV on YouTube

At the opposite end of the spectrum, if you are looking for pure escapism you can’t go wrong with The Durrells. Based on Gerald Durrell’s novel, My Family and Other Animals, the series maps out his experience of growing up on Corfu in Greece. If Mama Mia makes you want to pack up your bags and buy a one way ticket to Greece then The Durrells will only aid those feelings. Starring Bodyguard's Keeley Hawes as Louisa Durrell, a widow who moves her family to Corfu in the '30s, this family drama is undeniably feel good.

The Radio Times has also reported that ITV has commissioned Season 4 of the show, so there will be more mishaps and adventures in Greece on our screens soon.

5The Crown

Netflix on YouTube

Finally, if you are looking for a classic British period drama, steeped in modern history, then look no further than The Crown. I defy anyone to have not heard of The Crown or seen a little bit of it. It has become a worldwide sensation. Claire Foy plays the Queen in it and she is flawless, however in the new season, Olivia Coleman is set to takeover, playing Her Majesty as she grows older.

The series maps the life of the Queen from the '40s to modern times. From the start, you see Elizabeth's struggle to come to terms with being the monarch after the sudden death of her father King George VI, and also explores her relationships with her husband Prince Philip and sister Princess Margaret (played by Vanessa Kirby and my personal favourite character).

Among all the reasons that this series is great, it tells the story of a figure that we are so familiar with but really know so little about behind palace doors. If you haven’t seen it, the programme is on Netflix and is a must watch.

So there you have it; enough period dramas to get you through the colder months. As many have announced new seasons coming in 2019 there is just enough time to catch up and get hooked. Looking at what’s on offer, it is hard not to feel a little spoilt for choice.