5 British Dramas on Netflix for Downton Abbey Fans

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Some nights I just don’t feel like watchng a lengthy movie, I don’t want to make that kind of time commitment, so I turn to television series on Netflix. The problem is I become a binge viewer. When Downton Abbey arrived I watched both seasons in a matter of days. Waiting for the next season to be released on Netflix I found myself looking for other British drama series and here are five that filled the void.

Call the Midwife

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I wasn’t sure my interest would be retained by a show focusing on midwives and maternal health but Call the Midwife is so much more. Based in a lower income part of East London in the 1950s Call the Midwife follows the lives of the midwives and nuns at Nonnatus House. I became totally wrapped up in this drama of life, dreams, desperation, and hope and you can catch two seasons of it, with a third planned though I’m not sure if or when it will arrive to Netflix. Watch the trailer.

Mr Selfridge

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Jeremy Piven doesn’t speak British Drama to me and I actually avoided checking this series out for the longest time because I wasn’t interested in an American piece. It’s true Jeremy Piven does play an American but he is a retail tycoon looking to change the way the British shop. Taking place in 1909, Mr. Selfridge deals with the class system and how the act of shopping is perceived. Of course there is revenge and romance to keep you moving from episode to episode. I’ve heard there is a Season 2 and can’t wait for it to arrive on Netflix. Watch the trailer.

North & South

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Just typing the name of this mini-series makes my heart leap. Based on Elizabeth Gaskell’s novel, North & South (not to be confused with that Patrick Swayze American Civil War series that I have no interest in), the story follows the two seemingly separate lives of Margaret Hale (from Southern England) and John Thornton (from Northern English). I say seemingly as their paths cross often in this “will they, won’t they” story. I could watch this 4 episode mini-series again and again (and I probably will).

Bletchley Circle

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Bletchly Park is where a group of people was secretly enlisted to help break codes during World War ll. Of course Bletchley Circle has nothing to do with wartime code breaking but this 3-episode miniseries does reunite four women from Bletchly. Their ability to see patterns, pick out details and retain facts draws them together to solve a series of murders happening around town. Unlike the other dramas, you won’t find love and romance (except for the strain their secret lives have on their outside relationships) but there is a lot of intrigue, suspense and red herrings. Just my kind of drama. Watch the trailer.

Doc Martin

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Not really a period piece but still a great drama (and three seasons of it on Netflix). Dr. Martin Ellingham leaves his high profile and profitable practice in busy London to take a position as a country doctor. Seeing Doc apply his ‘big city’ mentality to rural English is a laugh in itself but there is a fair share of drama to contend with on Doc Martin, even some romance (and strange health issues). Watch the trailer.

Another great series I caught on Netflix but it doesn’t seem to be there anymore (they do that sometimes, add a show and take it away and add it again) is the Forsythe Saga. This series follows three generations of Forsythes, an upper-middle class family. It also had me hating Damian Lewis, especially after I loved him in LIFE, which sadly isn’t on Netflix.

So if you’re waiting for Netflix to bring on the next season of Downton Abbey (it might be a little bit of a wait), perhaps one of these British dramas will tie you over. The problem of course for me, now that I’ve watched all of these shows through completion, what to watch next? Oh, I guess another viewing of North & South won’t kill me. “You want to come home with me?” (sigh)

Images courtesy of Netflix.

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