Netflix has become our haven during these unprecedented Corona times. Given that we are spending so much more time on the site, you should probably be aware of the best British shows available on Netflix. The British and American entertainment industry, content, and production differ deeply but are also quite similar. They are a good case of a complementary pair. Besides, I would totally binge on British shows solely for their accent and actors!
It is true that many of their content does go under the radar, given the overpowering content produced by its ally at the other side of the globe. However, some of these are simply mind-blowing, and you must not let go of the chance of watching these state of art entertainment pieces.
So, let us dive straight in!
BEST BRITISH SHOWS TO WATCH ON NETFLIX
1) Peaky Blinders
At this point, you’ve probably heard how AMAZING Peaky Blinders is. This is an epic British gangster drama set in chaotic and frantic post-WWI Birmingham, Peaky Blinders tells the story of Tommy Shelby (Cillian Murphy) and the Peaky Blinders gang as they strive for the position of England’s most notorious street gang. Seasons 1-3 are available on Netflix, and after receiving incredibly positive reviews from both viewers and critics, Peaky Blinders was renewed for fourth and fifth seasons.
If you are a sucker of historical adaptations like me, then this one is for you!!!
2) Scrotal Recall (AKA Lovesick)
I know that from the title, you have probably already assumed that the show is stupid, kiddish, and not worth a watch. But stay with us here. So, here it goes. A man, Dylan (Johnny Flynn), finds out that he has chlamydia. Being a responsible adult, Dylan decides to track down all of his previous sexual partners in order to inform them of his disease. The show is basically a series of flashbacks to every sexual encounter Dylan has ever had, and believe it or not, it’s really, really good.
Idris Elba, stars in this series! That should be enough reason for you to leave everything else and binge watch this series starring the hottest man alive! All four seasons of this amazing psychological crime drama are available for instant streaming on Netflix.
The show follows DCI John Luther (Elba) as he breaks norm and takes names, but also deals with the emotional and psychological after effects of his actions. He develops an interesting work relationship with Alice Morgan (Ruth Wilson), who he wants to arrest for murder, but can’t due to lack of evidence.
Since he can’t arrest her, but also won’t cut ties with her, their developing relationship helps him glean insight into the minds of some of the criminals he investigates. It’s action-packed, intelligently written, and showcases Elba at his honest best shares cool material.
Another Britcom, Detectorists starts off rather slow, but wins you over just in time to make you glued to your screens. Essentially, the show revolves around two unusual members of the fictional Danebury Metal Detecting Club, Andy Stone (Mackenzie Crook) and Lance Stater (Toby Jones).
The show has them seeking buried treasure along lost Saxon burial ground and deal with the day-to-day occurances of the club and everyday happenings of life. It’s quirky, genuine, unique and makes for a solid, binge-worthy watch.
5) Happy Valley
Happy Valley – One of the edgiest British crime dramas to date, is definitely one hell of a ride. The first episode of the first season opens with a wild lady cop, approaching a drunk man who is threatening to light himself on fire in a public park.
The woman, Sergeant Catherine Cawood (Sarah Lancashire), gruffly tells the man, in regards to self-immolation: “It hurts. Three seconds in, you’ll be screaming at me to put ya out. Seven seconds in and you’ll be begging for me to shoot you.” She then goes on to announce, “I’m Catherine, by the way. I’m 47, I’m divorced, I live with me sister, who’s a recovering heroin addict. I’ve two grown up children, one dead, one who don’t speak to me, and a grandson, so….” And then it cuts to the opening credits. If you’re looking for well-thought-out action and genuine witticism, you’ve found it.
6) The IT Crowd
The IT Crowd is pretty much the British doppelgänger of the U.S.’s The Big Bang Theory—but replaces a bunch of science nerds with a bunch of computer nerds. It revolves around the IT staff in the fictional London offices of Reynholm Industries, and covers the inter-office drame between Maurice Ross (Richard Ayoade), Roy Trenneman (Chris O’Dowd), and Jen Barber (Katherine Parkinson), as well as their bosses Denholm and Douglas Reynholm. You probably won’t learn what it is that IT people do, although that’s sort of the point of one of the longer running jokes, but the show is a lot of fun, and the chemistry between O’Dowd, Parkinson, and Ayoade is excellent. The show’s four seasons (and one-off finale) are up on Netflix to stream, and it’s definitely something you must watch if you’re into nerd culture sitcoms.
This mini-series originally aired on Channel 4 in 2013, but has since come to Netflix and is reigning as one of the most compelling British dramas available on the streaming service. With a total runtime of just three hours, the four-part series is about a journalist who ventures into the mind of a man who commits a mass shooting. This is definitely not your happy, chirpy sort of series. It’s intense, deep, and at times, terrifying—all the way through to the end. The non-linear way in which the story is told makes it so intriguing for the audience! It takes rivets you right at the beginning, and doesn’t let you go until it’s all over. Absolutely brilliant filmmaking.
8) The Crown
Seasons 1-3 of this historical drama is now available to stream on Netflix. This is one of my personal favourite shows!
The acting, setting, research, and accuracy of the show will leave you spellbound! It follows the life of The Crown, as the title suggests, from the time the current reigning Queen Elizebeth was a child.
It reveals the complications of monarchy and makes it pretty clear how being a royal is definitely not all about tea parties and balls. With Claire Foy as Queen Elizabeth and Matt Smith as Prince Phillips, you are assured a great cinematic journey. The cast, however, keeps changing ever 2 seasons as per contract. The show then follows the life of The Crown as the Queen is in her 40’s with, starring Olivia Coleman. It is engaging, informative, and all-in-all a great watch!
9) The Fall
Before we get into the meat on this show. Let us establish that it involves, Dana Scully with a British accent.
Gillian Anderson plays Detective Superintendent Stella Gibson, who’s called into help Belfast police stop a serial killer in their tracks. For now season 1 and 2 are available on Netflix.
If there’s one thing this list can teach you about British T.V., it’s that they really, really good at crime drama. River is no different. Starring Stellan Skarsgard and Nicola Walker, it premiered on Netflix, and immediately became a hit. The six-episode series follows Detective Inspector John River (Skarsgard) as he attempts to solve the murder of his ex-partner, DS Jackie “Stevie” Stevenson.
The show beautifully delves into aspects of immigration, crime, and corporate corruption, without getting too political. Excellent writing and cinematography really make this a Netflix stand-out!
That’s all for our top picks of the best British shows to watch on Netflix!